New Zealand is a small country, but what is lacks in size it makes up for in stunning scenery, an incredible choice of activities and fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities. While the North Island is home to cosmopolitan cities and is where you’re likely to experience Maori culture and geothermal activity, it’s the South Island that really packs a punch. Famed for its dramatic landscapes, abundant wildlife both on land and in the water, as well as adventure activities, you’ll be forgiven for thinking the hotels might be somewhat rustic. But if you are seeking a little luxury on New Zealand’s South Island you won’t be disappointed.
Here are my top five luxury lodges on New Zealand’s South Island:
Lake Timara Lodge is a wonderful property hidden away in a 600 acre estate. With its sweeping lawns, a peaceful lake and rose gardens it really does encapsulate old world charm.
The property is set in the prestigious Marlborough wine region so it’s no surprise it has its own winery just a short walk away. Couple this with a mouth-watering menu, this property is a food and wine lover’s dream.
Edenhouse is an award-winning property which frequently appears on lists entitled ‘The World’s Best…’ or ‘Earth’s Most impressive…’. A gracious country house with a reputation for first-class service, Edenhouse welcomes you with roaring fires, an indulgent spa pool and plush beds, and if you can tear yourself away from the property, the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park, with its golden beaches and turquoise waters, is a mere 30 minute drive away.
Don’t forget to say hello to Annie, the owner’s Labrador, who undoubtedly wins over most guests with her friendly welcome!
Built in 1895, this historic property offers the grandeur of a Victorian mansion yet all the modern day conveniences resulting from recent restorations. The 30 acre estate is home to magnificent gardens, vegetable patches and orchards, with splendid views across the Southern Alps.
Otahuna is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the welcoming atmosphere, or if you are feeling a little more energetic, why not head to the gym, play a game of tennis or do some laps in the pool. With so much on offer, it’s safe to say this property provides a touch of luxury for your trip to the South Island.
It’s not often the words ‘tree house’ and ‘luxury’ are used in the same sentence, but if you like to travel in style and have a sense of adventure, then why not consider a stay at Hapuku Lodge, where it’s possible to spend a night or two amongst the trees.
The property’s tree houses feature spa baths, log burners and amazing views over the mountains and ocean, however, if you’d prefer to keep your feet firmly on the ground, it’s possible to book one of the lodge rooms, which are equally beautiful.
If all this wasn’t enough, a three course meal is included each evening with a mouth-watering menu designed by an ex-master Chef New Zealand competitor.
Life is easy at Azur Lodge. The atmosphere is laid back and relaxed – you can take breakfast at any time of day, or order your lunch from a local restaurant and have it delivered and plated up in your own villa – so you need never to leave your room if you’d rather stay put and enjoy your wonderful surroundings. With stunning views out over the Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains, which you can take in whilst enjoying a bubble bath, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t.
Craig Burkinshaw is a Founder Director of Audley Travel.