Awaroa Lodge, Abel Tasman National Park, South Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
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.
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