Wharekauhau Country Estate, Featherston, North Island $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
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.