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New Zealand Hotels

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Awaroa Lodge
Abel Tasman National Park , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 528 8758
stay@awaroalodge.co.nz
www.awaroalodge.co.nz

Set on a private, 47-acre wetland preserve inside the Abel Tasman National Park, this eco-lodge is an excellent base for exploring the gemlike northwest coast. Abel Tasman's forests and beaches bordering Tasman Bay are a mecca for sailors, kayakers, and nature lovers—and Awaroa's 26 rooms and suites take full advantage of the natural surroundings, with balconies overlooking the wetlands. The interiors are a combination of rustic and contemporary, with rough-hewn ceiling beams, rattan couches, local artwork, and lots of plants; bathrooms in the superior rooms have pebble-stone floors and open glass showers. A large organic garden supplies fresh food for the kitchen, nature guides are on hand to lead you through the preserve, a boardwalk threads through the marsh grass for private walks, and a beautiful, empty beach is only steps away—all fine white sand, chunky driftwood, and whitecaps. There's no drive-in access here; you'll need to come by helicopter or boat from Nelson or hike from Marahau, two days down the Abel Tasman Coastal Track.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Azur
23 MacKinnon Terrace
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 409 0588
rsvns@azur.co.nz
azur.co.nz

Commanding stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the daunting Remarkables Range, this lodge and nine villas are set on a steep hillside almost two miles west of Queenstown, the South Island's adrenaline-sports mecca. The airy, stand-alone stone and beechwood villas offer privacy, with under-floor heating, flaming faux-log fires, and spa baths designed for the illusion of bathing in the open air. The tiny touches are cute (essential oils, spiced apple lip salve), and the larger ones well considered (including gourmet canapés in the lodge). Internet access can be spotty depending on the weather, but the service is wonderfully personal.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Bay of Many Coves Resort
Queen Charlotte Sound
Marlborough Sounds , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 579 9771
enquiries@bayofmanycovesresort.co.nz
www.bayofmanycovesresort.co.nz

The Marlborough Sounds, on the South Island's northeastern coast, is a ruggedly beautiful landscape of ocean channels and rocky, wooded promontories. It's home to one the country's most famous walking trails, the Queen Charlotte Track, and it's also a paradise for boaters and sealife lovers (dolphins and penguins are often spotted in the waters). The remote Bay of Many Coves, built in 2003, sits high on a forested bluff overlooking the Queen Charlotte Sound; the only ways to get here are by walking (it's about four days along the walking track) or taking a 30-minute water-taxi ride from the port town of Picton (visiting "boaties" can also tie up at the resort's dock). The accommodations here are discreetly plush: The 11 apartment-like suites all have wood floors, vaulted ceilings, and streamlined modern furniture. Suites have open slate shower stalls, private balconies, and giant sliding-glass doors through which to admire the sparkling water. The amenities are simple and perfect: The pretty heated pool and outdoor hot tub are welcome when the sea's too cold for swimming; the glass-walled restaurant serves wonderful NZ fusion cuisine; the cozy breakfast café makes fresh-baked croissants every morning; and an on-site masseuse can help work out the kinks after a long day on the resort's 40-foot sailboat.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Blanket Bay Lodge
Glenorchy , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 442 9442
information@blanketbay.com
www.blanketbay.com

A 35-minute drive north from Queenstown along the coast of Lake Wakatipu—with stunning mountain and water views all the way—brings you to this dramatic-looking lakeside lodge. The solid-looking schist building with a multi-peaked roof and shimmering glass windows seems to blend right into the surrounding Humboldt Mountains; inside, soaring beamed ceilings, stone fireplaces, deer-antler chandeliers, and furniture upholstered in leather and duck prints give the feel of a grand, old-fashioned hunting lodge (in fact, the property was only built in 1999). The five guest rooms and three suites are outfitted similarly; all have king-size beds, balconies or terraces, and enormous windows for enjoying the drop-dead outdoor scenery. Suites, though, have their own hearths and comfy couches for fireside dozing—a big plus if you've spent the day indulging in the lodge's main activity: fly fishing. Brown and rainbow trout, as well as Quinnat salmon, are plentiful at the lake edge and in surrounding rivers and streams (fish weighing more than ten pounds have been caught here). Guided fishing trips bring anglers to all the prime spots, some only accessible by helicopter. The top-notch cuisine at the lodge restaurant naturally features fresh local catch, and the wine room and "wine cave" stock hundreds of vintages.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Cotter House Luxury Retreat
4 St. Vincent Avenue
Remuera
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 529 5156
info@cotterhouse.com
www.cotterhouse.com

This Regency mansion, the fifth oldest house in Auckland, was built in 1847 in what is now the city's stateliest suburb. From 1995 to 2001, owner Gloria Poupard-Walbridge restored the house to its original style, with egg-and-dart molding and recessed arches, and filled it with antiques, religious icons, and modern art gathered over her two decades of travel as a French diplomat's wife. The two rooms and two suites (including the owner's private apartment, available only if you book the entire house) are spacious and sumptuously furnished. The Bronze suite is the pick, with an Art Nouveau queen bed, heirloom Irish linen sheets, and a handsome antique mirror over the marble fireplace. Unwind in the adjacent dayroom on an 1860 single sleigh bed and watch DVDs (as Keith Richards did in 2006 after falling from a palm tree in Fiji). Or luxuriate in the deep tub overlooking the leafy grounds. Though the house is usually booked in its entirety, visitors can also reserve a single room or suite.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Dairy Private Luxury Hotel
10 Isle Street
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 442 5164
info@thedairy.co.nz
www.thedairy.co.nz

Something between an après-ski lodge and a boutique hotel, this cozy spot is a short, sharp drive uphill from central Queenstown. Named for the 1920s corner store that once occupied the site—and which is now the hotel's small breakfast room—the Dairy has 13 well-appointed rooms spread through two adjoining buildings. All are furnished simply but stylishly, with clean-lined furniture in cream and neutral colors and immaculate white-tiled bathrooms with fluffy towels and robes. A few have tiny balconies. In winter, the hotel draws a crowd of youngish skiers; at the end of the day, they clomp back from the slopes at nearby Coronet Peak, store their skis in the secure back room, and stretch out in the communal fire-warmed lounge to chat and unwind.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Eagles Nest
60 Tapeka Road
Russell , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 403 8333
eagle@eaglesnest.co.nz
www.eaglesnest.co.nz

Northland's Bay of Islands, where sapphire-blue coves are filled with whales and cavorting dolphins, could turn almost anyone into a New Age idealist. Once the summer tourists thin out, the hills and beaches around the seaside village of Russell seem almost suspiciously perfect—like the private Shangri-La of some billionaire guru. In keeping with the utopian vibe is Eagles Nest, with its five superluxury, private villas high on a bluff overlooking the sea. Here, you can have your Philippe Starck–designed kitchen fixtures and still feel at one with the universe. All the villas—the smallest sleeps two, and the largest accommodates eight—are designed with the most expensive simplicity. Glass walls, expansive decks, and private infinity pools let guests gorge on the views; inside, the gleaming chrome-and-marble bathrooms have glass-cube showers and heated tile floors. Guests can arrange for a chef to cook in their kitchen, a guide to lead them on a private mountain-bike tour, or a massage therapist to provide shiatsu or an Indian scalp massage. Those feeling a little too blissed out can always pop a bottle of bubbly and sprawl in front of the plasma-screen TV.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Eichardt's Private Hotel
Marine Parade
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 441 0450
enquiries@eichardtshotel.co.nz
www.eichardts.co.nz

Built more than 150 years ago, when Queenstown was just a grubby lakeside mining town instead of the adventure-sport capital of the world, Eichardt's is the poshest waterfront hotel in town. Completely refurbished to incorporate many of the building's original Victorian elements (stone walls, huge double-hung windows, suspended wrought-iron balconies), the hotel now has five gorgeous guest suites outfitted in dark wood and plush, cream-colored fabrics. All have their own gas fireplaces and super-king-size beds; built-in shelves filled with art books; and spacious marble baths with tubs and showers, double basins, and heated floors and mirrors. The three lakefront suites, with their spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu, are worth shelling out a little more for. The common spaces include The Parlour, a firelit lounge where a sumptuous breakfast is served every morning, and the chic House Bar off the lobby—perfect for a nightcap after you've strolled back from dinner in town.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
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Farm at Cape Kidnappers
448 Clifton Road
Te Awanga
Hawke's Bay , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 6 875 1900
reservations@capekidnappers.com
www.capekidnappers.com

This golfers' magnet provides plenty for those who think golf a good walk spoiled. A five-mile road winds through farmland and bush to the property, on a 6,000-acre peninsula abutting the Pacific, and from the moment of arrival every whim is catered to. The main lodge features soaring ceilings and rustic artifacts such as old farm tools, and while the 22 suites and a cottage are broadly based on farm dwellings, bathrooms have underfloor heating; the gym, a personal trainer; and the wine cellar, master tastings. Diversions beyond golf include ATVs and guided nature tours. The verdict? Well above par.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
The George
50 Park Terrace
Christchurch , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 379 4560
reservations@thegeorge.com
www.thegeorge.com

If you're going to stay in South Island's biggest city, this is the place to do it. The George's staff has a way of making even rumpled, tired travelers feel like VIPs: The one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio means all the details (a welcome cocktail in your room on arrival, gifts of teddy bears for children) are taken care of. The 53 airy, mod-luxe rooms and suites are plush in a quiet way, with lots of velvety, neutral-toned fabrics; glass; and blond wood furnishings. The hotel is near all of Christchurch's best sights: Hagley Park, with its Botanical Gardens and boat-speckled River Avon, is right outside the door; the wonderful Arts Center, with its galleries, shops, and cafés, is a short stroll away; and two of the city's best restaurants are right in the hotel. Pescatore, which serves formal dinner, is locally legendary for its Pacific Rim–influenced degustation menu and its impressive wine list. The more casual 50 on Park serves a wonderful breakfast; smoked grouper hash with buttered spinach and poached eggs, or a chive-infused waffle with bacon and a perfect "flat white"—like a café crème—will prime you for a day of sightseeing.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Great Mercury Island
Great Mercury Island
New Zealand
Tel: 800 225 4255
sam@seaonz.co.nz
www.sanctuare.com

This 5,000-acre isle, 25 minutes by helicopter from Auckland, is the private retreat of two millionaires—a haven so hidden that even the paparazzi can't find the celebs who stay here. Mere mortals can visit, too, assuming they can afford the $20,000-a-day price tag. Included is free range of an island so large and varied that it feels like a small country, with miles of pristine white beaches, sensational scuba diving and fishing, and all manner of toys—from boats and Jet Skis to off-road trucks and motorcycles. There's also a superb chef whose food has kept the likes of Queen Elizabeth II happy. The two villas can sleep up to 20 people between them and are airy mazes where irregular, white-plastered passageways lead to individually themed bedrooms full of whimsy, wit, and every conceivable creature comfort.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hilton Auckland
Princes Wharf
147 Quay Street
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 978 2000
reservations.auckland@hilton.com
www.hilton.co.nz

Set right at the edge of Princes Wharf overlooking Waitemata Harbour, this chic, modern property—the best large hotel in Auckland—is where jet-setting business travelers pull into port. The building itself (white, with walls of shimmering glass and twin prows jutting over the water) resembles the posh cruise ships that dock just outside; the interiors, though, are all slick, urban minimalism. The 165 guest rooms have angular, clean-lined furnishings, crisp white linens, and chocolate leather chairs—plus large desks where you can plug in a laptop. The best rooms, on the "starboard" side of the hotel, have water views. The five Bow Suites, with floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious balconies, and massive marble bathrooms, have hosted major VIPs (Bill Clinton, Al Gore); minor VIPs—well, PR types and their clients—fill the stark, aptly named White restaurant and the plush, low-lit Bellini Bar. In the gleaming fitness room and around the rooftop pool (whose fabulous underwater window frames the harbor), guests work their cell phones and PDAs. The well-pressed, efficient staff can be slightly chilly to guests who show up rumpled or gritty from a beach walk outside the city.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel DeBrett
2 High Street
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 925 9000
reservations@hoteldebrett.com
hoteldebrett.com

A mash of Art Deco architecture, sixties furnishings, and perky service, the 25-room Hotel DeBrett reflects the designer savvy and eclectic lifestyles of this edgy little district of downtown Auckland. Slick black-and-white bathrooms are a throwback to Mod Squad-era polka-dot dresses, and Austin Powers would feel right at home sliding down the two-story loft suites' spiral staircases or spinning vintage vinyl in the cozy drawing room with its record player and mojito bar. The hotel's heart is an airy, art-filled two-story atrium that encloses the restaurant and terrace of the adjacent pub, a place to kick back as Auckland's notoriously fickle skies roll overhead like a time-lapse movie. The food is super-fresh Kiwi culinary fare, like slow-cooked lamb rump with goat's-milk curd and snow peas. The DeBrett doesn't have a spa or gym but will gladly arrange in-room massages or personal trainer appointments, though most guests get their exercise exploring the city, including the boutiques along High Street and the bustling Viaduct Harbour with its waterfront pubs and America's Cup yachts. When to go: Auckland summers (December-February) are especially good for sailing the enormous bay and trekking the city's myriad parks.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Huka Lodge
271 Huka Falls Road
Taupo , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 7 378 5791
reservations@hukalodge.com
www.hukalodge.com

When the queen of England—yes, the real one—makes it to this most far-flung corner of her realm, the Huka Lodge is where she stays (reportedly, she prefers to dine in the library). She's not the only luminary who has discovered this luxury lodge near sparkling Lake Taupo in the North Island's center. Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Kate Winslet, and Barbra Streisand have also been guests. First established as a humble trout-fishing camp in the 1920s, the property now includes a grand main lodge—where guests can sip aperitifs before a blazing fire and dine in a candelabra-lit dining room. Twenty plush lodge rooms sit among trees along the banks of the rushing Waikato River, which feeds into the thundering Huka Falls. Fishing trips are still a major pastime here; if you bring your catch back, the house chefs will prepare it however you like. More leisurely activities include lazing in the heated outdoor pool (or your private oversize bathtub), croquet, and pétanque.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kauri Cliffs
Matauri Bay Road
Matauri Bay , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 407 0010
reservations@kauricliffs.com
www.kauricliffs.com

American investor Julian Robertson picked a prime piece of real estate for his plantation-style sporting lodge: a Bay of Islands cliff top with views stretching from Cape Brett in the south to the Cavalli Islands in the north. The 6,000-acre property—which includes a par-72 championship golf course, tennis courts, and a stable full of horses for equestrian safaris—has the feel of an exclusive country club. The old-money vibe carries through to the 22 guest suites, divided among 11 private cottages and stocked with roaring gas fireplaces, deep tubs, and not-so-mini minibars. A few suites even have small adjacent units for nannies or bodyguards. The main lounge, where pre-dinner drinks and canapés are served and men must wear jackets, is similarly upper-crusty. But there are plenty of ways to escape into nature here. The lodge's resident naturalist leads guided bush walks, and day excursions take guests to prime scuba diving, fishing, and even quad bike–riding spots around the Bay of Islands. Especially remote sights, like the Waipoua State Forest, can be reached via (ahem) the property's private helicopter.

Closed in June.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
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Lake Rotoroa Lodge
Gowan Valley Road
Nelson Lakes National Park , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 523 9121
lakerotoroalodge@shackletoninternational.com
www.lakerotoroalodge.com

A Valhalla for brown-trout fishermen, Lake Rotoroa's narrow mountain-flanked waters (a 90-minute drive south of Nelson) are fed by more than 20 different rivers and streams, and have been featured on fishing programs like ESPN's New American Sportsman. Little wonder, then, that this 10-room luxury lakefront lodge—where celebrity anglers like Liam Neeson and Michael Keaton have stayed—has an extremely fishy vibe. Built back in the 1920s as a gentlemen's overnight stopover on the rugged coach ride from Nelson, the lodge still draws a heavily male crowd, most of it wearing waders and carrying expensive tackle. The fishing guides here tailor all-day trips according to their guests' desires and experience levels; most leave at dawn and return in the early evening, and then gather in the lodge's folksy screened patio to swap stories and share pre-dinner drinks. The guestrooms, fitted out in dark wood and rich colors, are comfy and subdued; all have bathrooms with heated floors and views over the lake or surrounding beech forest. All have verandas, but beware: The sand flies here can make sitting outside less than pleasant.

Closed May through September.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Lodge at Paratiho Farms
545 Waiwhero Road
Upper Moutere
Nelson , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 528 2100
lodge@paratiho.co.nz
www.paratiho.co.nz

This property's six luxury suites, heated infinity pool, tennis court, spa, and garden scattered with bold, kinetic modern sculptures all seem a little out of place in farm country. But the juxtaposition of luxury and bucolic simplicity works. The lodge, opened in 1999 on a 2,000-acre working sheep farm, gives visitors the chance to taste rural New Zealand life without having to muck around in it. Lounging in their private courtyards, gas-fire warmed sitting areas, or giant clawfoot tubs, guests can listen to the sounds of sheep bleating from the hillsides; if they need a little constitutional after lunching in the cozy dining room, they can take a guided "farm walk" through the property and see sheep being sheared. The lodge is known for its fresh produce and its cuisine; in 2005, a cooking school opened on the premises. The five-course dinner menu, which changes daily, reflects what's in season but always has a Kiwi twist—past dishes have included pancetta-wrapped seared scallops with grilled sheep's-milk cheese and corn foam—and is always accompanied by labels from nearby Nelson wineries.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Matakauri Lodge
569 Glenorchy Road
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 441 1008
info@matakaurilodge.com
matakaurilodge.com

After an extensive makeover, Matakauri, positioned along milky-blue Lake Wakatipu, less than six miles from the center of Queenstown, has commanding views of the Big Three—the Remarkables, Cecil Peak, and Walter Peak—without a single man-made development sullying the splendor. The lodge maximizes its scenic surroundings with a number of gorgeous viewing platforms: a large infinity pool (though it is rarely warm enough for swimming), a pretty courtyard with a massive outdoor fireplace next to the dining and lounge area, and the accommodations themselves. Warmly designed in burnt orange and russet colors against white walls and stone elements, the two simple-yet-cozy suites and eight outlying cottages have a beachy feel, with daybeds in the suites, a freestanding tub in front of massive windows. Perhaps only an artist like Picasso could compete with nature on this scale—and in fact he does: Look for the plates and vase by the master in the main lounge as well as works by well-known New Zealand photographers and painters throughout the property. Staff are attentive and helpful, and while the dining is elegant, those with hearty appetites may want to skip the artfully presented but tiny-portioned ménu dégustation.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Mollies
6 Tweed Street
St. Mary's Bay
Auckland , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 9 376 3489
reservations@mollies.co.nz
www.mollies.co.nz

The soaring voices of opera singers in training fill the air at this Victorian villa, set in a posh residential neighborhood west of Auckland's city center. The singers are students of owner Frances Wilson, who has been teaching opera soloists for 40 years. Wilson and husband Stephen Fitzgerald, a theater set designer and renovator of grand New York apartments, transformed their elegant two-story home into a boutique hotel, where butlers pad across marble floors and 13 spacious guest suites are decorated with antiques, Chinese tapestries, and even a few Steinway baby grands. The largest, premium suites are especially opulent, with wood-burning fireplaces, custom-made sleigh beds, embroidered linens, spa tubs, and views of the harbor or an English-style garden. The mix-your-own martini bar and the tiny spa, where guests can chill out with hot-stone massages and body wraps, keep the place from feeling too stuffy.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ohtel
66 Oriental Parade
Wellington , North Island
New Zealand 6011
Tel: 64 4 803 0600
Fax: 64 4 803 0611
room@ohtel.com
www.ohtel.com

Clad in wood and glass, the coolest, sexiest boutique hotel in New Zealand's hilly capital overlooks the inner harbor and is a short walk to most of downtown—bars, restaurants, the civic center, and Te Papa, New Zealand's national museum. The ten decent-size rooms (385 square feet on average) offer a mix of high-tech features and midcentury furniture, including some original Arne Jacobsen and Hans Wegner pieces. Beds are comfortable, backed by a built-in wood unit and facing a flat-screen TV, through which—after you figure out the system—you can also access the manager's iTunes collection. A glass panel separates the sleeping area from the bathroom, which is dominated by a freestanding tub. Storage space is minimal, however, with little closet or drawer capacity. Front rooms have small balconies overlooking the harbor and the city. Guests tend to linger in the fireplace-lit communal dining area off the tiny lobby, where lavish breakfasts are served along with light lunches such as macadamia-crusted chicken and cured salmon with arugula, paired with well-chosen local wines. The young, hip staff offers recommendations and restaurant reservations, and will even help you unpack—and figure out that music system.—Lea Lane

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
On the Point
214 Kawaha Point Road
Lake Rotorua , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 7 348 4868
www.onthepoint.co.nz

New Zealand's North Island is awash in Maori myth—nowhere more so than in Rotorua, its geothermal heartland, where even the bottled water comes with a legend involving forbidden love and an ancient curse. A 1930s mansion overlooking gloriously tranquil Lake Rotorua, On the Point is a fairy tale in its own right. Its seven acres include steep-sloped gardens, a private beach, a jetty, and even a cave. The main building's seven suites have the tasteful air of an immensely wealthy friend's home, with motion-sensitive lighting, whirlpool tubs, and power showers with wall jets for those in the mood for an upright massage; the freestanding Log Chalet has its own alfresco hot tub. The food and service are both top-notch, and the toys (billiard room, wine cellar, tennis court, gym) above reproach. At the highest point on the property is the Lake Villa, the owners' private residence, which is also for let.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Spire
Church Lane
Queenstown , South Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 3 441 0004
queenstown@thespirehotels.com
thespirehotels.com

This seriously chic hotel is an anomaly in Queenstown. Tucked away from the city's pub-and-grub tourist bustle is The Spire's glass front door, which leads to another world. Every square inch is stylish, from the sleek lobby to the 16-seat gourmet restaurant. The ten guest rooms, decked out in red, cream, and black, have walk-in closets, gas fireplaces, balconies, and lovely touches such as Eames loungers. There are idiosyncrasies—doors do not automatically lock behind you, and the in-room multimedia system is devilishly confusing—but the standards are high and the result a deliriously sweet taste of South Island comfort.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Treetops Luxury Lodge and Estate
351 Kearoa Road
Horohoro
Rotorua , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 7 333 2066
info@treetops.co.nz
www.treetops.co.nz

You don't have to be an Outside subscriber to enjoy this property—set atop a cliff within 2,500 acres of virgin forest and just a stone's throw from the wonders of the Volcanic Plateau. But self-sustaining sorts will certainly appreciate it here. The rustic main lodge (with a billiard room, cocktail lounge, dining area, and library) and eight guest villas are all constructed from native stone and wood, and fan-cooled. The running water is drawn from UV-treated natural springs, which also feed the property's trout-stocked streams and lakes. Meandering paths lead through the forest: One goes to the spectacular 80-foot Bridalveil Falls; others lead to glowworm caves that are spookily lovely at night. As you stroll the grounds, you might find yourself accompanied by Othello, the estate's 140-pound resident pig, or some free-roaming deer. Don't get too attached to the latter; one of them might end up as a decadent venison sausage on your plate.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Wharekauhau Country Estate
Western Lake Road
Palliser Bay
Featherston , North Island
New Zealand
Tel: 64 6 307 7581
reservations@wharekauhau.co.nz
www.wharekauhau.co.nz

One of the oldest working sheep farms in New Zealand, Wharekauhau (pronounced forry-ko-ho) is set on the windswept, remote southern coast of the North Island. The focal point of the 5,000-acre property is an English-style country mansion—with tall chimneys and mullioned windows—where guests take their meals and socialize. The 12 cottage suites, tucked among the hillsides, are perfect for holing up when the weather is blustery: All are equipped with heated floors, cushy couches in front of gas fires, and superking four-poster beds. It would be a shame, though, not to venture out to see how the farm works. Manager Joe Houghton, born on the property 60-odd years ago, will gladly take guests to watch sheep-shearers and “eye dogs” (sheepdogs that stare their charges into submission) in action. Traveling to the estate by car requires a 90-minute drive from Wellington over winding and partly unpaved roads through the Rimutaka Ranges. But a quick helicopter ride from the capital can also be arranged.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.