The lush country inextricably linked to The Lord of the Rings is more than a scenic hot spot.
It’s also a hub for seriously sumptuous resorts, scattered from the world’s adventure capital, Queenstown, to the North Island’s rugged coast. These exclusive digs provide a gateway to extraordinary experiences like heli-skiing, surfing legendary breaks, or flying over pristine glaciers and fjords. And yes, you can do it all on one trip.
A three-hour drive from Auckland Airport, Helena Bay Lodge (helenabay.com) is an intimate beach hideaway. With clear views of Helena Bay beach and beyond to the South Pacific, two stately villas and a luxe main house, which features its own spa, gallery and communal spaces, host up to five couples. On-site, the Italian-fare restaurant is helmed by the chefs of Michelin-starred Don Alfonso on the Amalfi Coast.
Head to the South Island for foodie culture, high-flying adventure and amazing stays. Eichardt’s Private Hotel (eichardts.com), Queenstown’s historic jewel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just unveiled a new restaurant, two new Lake View Suites and a lavish penthouse with knockout views, 24/7 butler service and Krug Champagne on demand. Helicopter to Minaret Station Alpine Lodge (minaretstation.com) in the Southern Alps, and glamp in a golden valley that gives way to majestic, white powder peaks you can ski all the way down. Cozy guest chalets offer privacy and pampering with Jacuzzis on each deck. Choose your adventure—hiking, fishing or digging into multicourse feasts in front of a fireplace at the property’s Mountain Kitchen.
A lush playground in Kaikoura, the 11-room Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses (hapukulodge.com) perches in a native kanuka grove, with mountain and ocean views. Five tree houses offer whimsical luxury in a natural retreat, where you can laze all day, staring out giant windows. All levels of surfers will want to see—or master—Mangamaunu, one of New Zealand’s most epic longboard spots.
There’s no better place to count sheep than in one of the 22 suites at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers (capekidnappers.com) in Hawkes Bay. A working farm with 6,000 glorious acres overlooks the ocean on a series of dramatic cliffs draped in world-class golf greens, near New Zealand’s oldest vineyard, Mission Estate Winery.
Slow down for wine on the South Island’s northeastern tip, and take time to visit the sprawling region that is flanked by the ocean and produces the country’s famous sauvignon blanc. The Marlborough Lodge (themarlboroughlodge.co.nz), a historic convent turned new, all-suite hotel, amps up the elegance and focuses on the food and wine experience—serving farm-to-table bites and sea treats like fresh oysters and New Zealand Greenshell Mussels. • MARTINE BURY
Edited by Jenny Murray.