Special New Zealand feature
Rachael Oakes-Ash indulges in the spectacular scenery and fine food on offer at New Zealand's top lodges.
New Zealand's unique and vast terrain lends itself to luscious designer lodges that perch on cliff tops and take in pristine lake views. Mix innovative Kiwi architecture and interior design with gourmet local produce and generous hosts and it is no surprise cashed-up travellers flock to New Zealand.
Huka Lodge, near Taupo, North Island
There 's not many awards Huka Lodge hasn't received, from Tatler magazines Enduring Excellence Award for luxury consistence to Travel + Leisure's Best Service award and Conde Nast Traveller's best New Zealand property.
The Huka Lodge estate is set on the Waikato River in prime trout-fishing territory with landscaped grounds reminiscent of English royalty, (some of whom have been guests here, including Queen Elizabeth II). Expect outstanding service where your needs and wants are predicted before you even knew they were there.
A tennis court, swimming pool, croquet and petanque lawn are just some of the amenities for the 18-guest-room lodge, four-bedroom owner's cottage and two-bedroom Alan Pye cottage. See http://www.hukaretreats.co.nz
Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch
Otahuna is old world charm personified. The homestead was built in 1895 for the Victorian gentleman, Sir Heaton Rhodes, and oozes traditional relaxation from gin and tonics at five in the parlour to degustation dining in the impressive dining room.
Roaring fires light dignified libraries while sweeping verandahs provide views of the Southern Alps. Each of the seven suites is configured differently with spacious bathrooms and toe-claw baths and views of the century old manicured garden, daffodil field, lawn and lake.
Heli-ski with chopper pick-up from the properties helipad or wander the nearby vineyards with a driver at hand. Breakfasts are hearty and personalised and served in the estate's kitchen. See http://www.otahuna.co.nz
Wharekauhau Country Estate, Palliser Bay
Set on a 5000-acre working sheep station, Wharekauhau Country Estate's main lodge is grand in nature with vast vaulted rooms and oversized fireplaces with views over the bay.
It is here that guests congregate for dining experiences utilising the local Martinborough region's famous wines and delicacies before retiring to the cluster of 10 guest cottages that sit on the cliffs above the bay.
Each cottage is decorated in neutral hues that spell style and sophistication with deep bathtubs, luxurious bed linen and heated marble floors. Clay pigeon shooting, sheep shearing, whale watching and heli picnics are just some of the activities on offer. See http://www.wharekauhau.co.nz
Lime Tree Lodge, Wanaka
Sally and Rebecca offer a hosted lodge experience on 10 acres five minutes from downtown Wanaka. The lodge is cosy, chic and relaxed with two suites and four guest rooms that open onto the sunlit garden filled with roses and citrus trees.
The stand alone Black Peak suite is straight from the pages of Vogue with a private log fire lounge and sweeping views of the surrounding mountains.
Cocktails and canapes are served in the lodge's combined dining and lounge area nightly and private dinners can be arranged with the executive chef.
Take a wander around Rebecca's garden and meet the property's four domesticated sheep on the neighbouring paddock. See http://www.limetreelodge.co.nz
Azur Luxury Lodge, Queenstown
Floor-to-ceiling glass reveals the spectacular Lake Wakatipu view with mountain amphitheatre from the private villas of Azur Luxury Lodge.
Ten silver beechwood and exposed stone villas cling to the mountainside with private views. Bathtubs sit by the windows to make the most of the mountainous terrain with the option to concertina the windows back during summer giving a feeling of bathing in the wilderness.
Each villa is spacious in layout with king-sized beds and Egyptian cotton and mammoth lounges to recline on.
The main lodge is equally impressive with high ceilings, expansive decks and an open bar of cocktail delights. Take breakfast in the dining room before a full day of Queenstown adventure activities. See http://www.azur.co.nz
This series of articles has been sponsored by Tourism New Zealand.