New Zealand Lodges

Article by Jae-Ha Kim
Photos by Denton Morris

(New York Post)

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — When people hear the word “lodge” they tend to think of something rustic. Nowhere is the fallacy of this assumption more wonderfully apparent than in stunning New Zealand, where a slew of lodges, numbering in the hundreds, are rapidly gaining in popularity.
These lodges, which promote themselves with themes (nature, fishing, wine and more) in an effort to lure visitors from afar, are as sumptuous as they are varied.
According to Tourism New Zealand, the country’s highend lodges are playing an increasingly important role in its tourism industry. Between March 2004 and March 2005, 64,045 visitors stayed in luxury lodges, a more than 30 percent increase from the previous year. Are you in?
NOTE: All prices are for double rooms.

Location: Taupo, in green and lovely central North Island
The vibe: So luxurious, its guests have included royalty and Bill Gates (or is that repetitive?)
Details: Huka, on the majestic Waikato River, didn’t so much open its doors as flap open its tents in the 1920s. It underwent an extreme makeover in 1984, setting the standard for lodges to come. Its on-the-water suites are spacious and bright, have walk-in closets and feature bathrooms with heated floors and sunken bathtubs. To get there, why not take a helicopter?
Don’t miss: A morning hike and a private, elegant meal along the Waikato.
Info: From $475, including breakfast and dinner; 64 7 378 5791,

Location: 20 minutes from Christchurch on South Island
The vibe: Lush sanctuary for big-city breaks
Details: Otahuna began as a three-story home (1895-1956), had a spell as a commune and, in 2003, was restored to its original grandeur and turned into a lodge. The white house, surrounded by trees, has a Victorian interior, and its rooms have luxe touches like Pierre Cardin robes.
Don’t miss: The berry farms located within walking distance.
Info: From $243, including a five-course dinner and breakfast; 64 3 329 6333,

Location: A 10-minute helicopter ride from Wellington on North Island
The vibe: Upscale sheep farm meets oenophile paradise
Details: The lodge is situated on a working sheep farm (don’t be surprised to find lamb on your dinner plate) on the 5,000-acre Wharekauhau Country Estate. It encompasses native forest, lakes and rivers, and the beaches of the South Wairarapa coast.
Don’t miss: A slew of activities ranging from tennis to petanque (French bocce).
Info: From $581; 64 6 307 7581,

Location: A 10-minute drive from Queenstown on South Island
The vibe: Love is in the air
Details: Since opening on New Year’s Eve 1999, the Matakauri Lodge has built a rep as a romantic getaway. It sits on 10 acres of bush landscaped with rolling lawns and a stream, looking out onto Lake Wakatipu. The rooms are magnificent, with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Don’t miss: The mountain view from the spa’s hot tub.
Info: From $480, including pre-dinner drinks and canapâ’s, four-course dinner, breakfast and airport transfers; 64 3 441 1008,

Location: A 90-minute drive from Christchurch on South Island
The vibe: Country cozy with big city amenities
Details: The lodge’s original limestone homestead, built in 1858, has since seen the addition of many luxurious buildings, including a chalet and river-view cottage. Situated in the gorgeous Southern Alps, the interiors include overstuffed sofas and fireplaces.
Don’t miss: A picnic beside one of the nearby lakes.
Info: From $811 including dinner and breakfast; 64 3 318 8407,

Location: Two minutes north of Franz Josef on South Island
The vibe: Deceptively rustic
Details: Built entirely from wood, the casual, one-story Westwood, decorated with the owners’ handmade fabric art and photographs, looks like a ski lodge.
Don’t miss: An adrenaline-inducing walk atop a nearby glacier.
Info: From $295; 64 3 752 0112,

Location: Central North Island, three-and-a-half-hour drive from Auckland
The vibe: Frank Lloyd Wright hits the hinterlands
Details: “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson is a huge fan of Lake Taupo, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Built in 1984 and remodeled in 1996, the lodge, on 10 acres in Acacia Bay overlooking the lake, has a clean, simple design with understated elegance, a la Wright.
Don’t miss: Golfing on the renowned Wairakei Intl. Golf Club, 15 minutes away.
Info: From $450 including dinner and breakfast; 64 7 378 7386,

Location: About a half an hour from Queenstown on South Island
The vibe: Serenity now
Details: Situated on the bush-clad fringes of stunning Lake Wakatipu, this luxurious alpine-style lodge is finished with New Zealand timber and stone. The Great Room has 30-foot ceilings, and the lodge’s suites have huge windows and stone fireplaces.
Don’t miss: The nearby glaciers and rain forest, which can be experienced from the comfort of your canoe.
Info: From $897; 64 3 442 9442,

Location: South Island between Christchurch and Queenstown
The vibe: Splendor in the grass
Details: One of the more affordable luxury lodges in New Zealand, the Pen-Y-Bryn is a charming mansion built in the 1880s. Located on a hill overlooking historic Oamaru, it features grand fireplaces and Gothic-style leaded doors.
Don’t miss: The massive library, which includes some first editions.
Info: From $275; 64 3 434 7939,

Location: Central North Island about two hours from Auckland
The vibe: Fake roughing it
Details: Built in 2002, this lodge is set on 10 acres of wild bush in Acacia Bay overlooking Lake Taupo, which is great for fishing. The upstairs Glimmering Lights suite includes a double spa bath.
Don’t miss: The geothermal parks.
Info: From $208 with breakfast; 64 7 376 8555,