Here are four of New Zealand‘s most special properties in extraordinary locations, offering one-of-a-kind experiences.
Annandale, South Island
Best for: High-end glamping
Imagine four villas, ranging from a historic homestead to an ultramodern showstopper, set on a 4,000-acre working farm on one of New Zealand’s most picturesque bays, and you have a sense of how amazingly special Annandale is.
- Best for: Couples, groups of friends and families who want bragging rights to having stayed in one of New Zealand’s most unusual villa collections; travelers who are looking for a remote getaway
- Room to Book: Seascape, a couples-only haven with a spectacular layout designed by award-winning Auckland architect Andrew Patterson
- Top Activities: Clay pigeon shooting, farm tours, hiking, kayaking
- Keep in Mind: This is a getaway for those seeking solitude. Guests prepare their own meals, unless they hire a private chef, and all activities except hiking involve a forty-five-minute drive.
Hapuku, South Island
Best for: Treetop Glamour
Located ten minutes by car north of the seaside town of Kaikoura (epicenter of the Kaikoura District), in a serene spot flanked by a deer farm and olive groves, Hapuku is known for its übercool tree houses. The food is a delight, as is friendly manager Chris Sturgeon, who is passionate about the area and will happily recommend activities.
- Best for: Families and couples interested in whale watching and other ocean wildlife experiences for which the Kaikoura region is renowned
- Room to Book: The Swiss Family Robinson–style tree houses, which nest in the thirty-foot-high canopy.
- Top Activities: Sea kayaking, fishing, swimming with dolphins, visiting seal colonies
- Keep in Mind: Some seasons are better than other for marine mammal viewing. Find out if whale, orca and dolphin sightings have been good before committing half a day to a sea cruise.
Solitaire Lodge, North Island
Best for: Lakeside Retreat
The aptly named Solitaire Lodge, New Zealand’s second-oldest (after Taupo’s Huka), sits on the edge of Lake Tarawera surrounded by a lush, serene landscape.
- Best for: Travelers who don’t mind driving themselves to a remote location or who have access to a helicopter, particularly couples and families with older children who can entertain themselves despite a lack of activities tailored to them
- Room to Book: The Tarawera Suite, whose big sitting/living room and sizeable bedroom afford gorgeous views
- Top Activities: Visiting Rotorua and its excellent museum; mountain biking through a thermal forest; hiking to a secluded waterfall; taking a helicopter tour of White Island, with its active, smoking volcano
- Keep in Mind: The lodge has been around since 1980 and looks a bit dated. The current owners have wisely invested in the room interiors, which feel fresh and modern.
Bay of Many Coves, South Island
Best for: Remote Relaxation
Accessible only by water taxi, helicopter or seaplane, the Bay of Many Coves Resort, on the shore of the Queens Charlotte Sound, offers seclusion and lush greenery.
- Best for: Couples and families with older children who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and boating, which are about all there is to do.
- Room to Book: Indagare can help recommend ones that suit your preference, whether you want privacy or a great view.
- Top Activities: Advanced hiking, fishing, stargazing, touring Motuara Island (home to blue penguins), visiting mussel and salmon farms
- Keep in Mind: The resort is built into a steep hillside, and although golf carts are available, it’s not recommended for anyone with difficulty climbing stairs or hills.