3 New Zealand Lodges You Need To Visit Before You Die

3 New Zealand Lodges You Need To Visit Before You Die

At the intersection of sophistication and serenity on New Zealand’s rugged South Island exists three unique takes on luxury lodging, all within a short drive (or helicopter flight) from Christchurch.
John McMahon
John McMahon

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in Volume I of B.H. MagazineSubscribe here.

No destination on this side of the equator does luxury lodging better than New Zealand. The South Island in particular, revered globally for its time-honoured faith in the craft, is home to some of the world’s most enviable properties. 

Pinch-yourself locations, world-class culinary delights, and impressive architecture aside, at any of the lodges on these pages (and those that aren’t, but are no less deserving of our praise) you’ll find the perfect balance of humble grandeur and friendly Kiwi warmth — the ultimate form of gumboot luxury.


New Zealand Lodges
Image credit: Simon Devitt

Stay where the world can’t find you.

In today’s world, taglines don’t get much more magnetic than that. When you’re flying in a helicopter low and fast across the Banks Peninsula at sunset, with not a single man-made structure in sight, you sure do feel like you’re leaving the stresses of the world behind. Peering down at a singular house flanked by rocky cliffs and a near-perfect crescent of black sand, it’s easy to slip into a daydream fit for the pages of a noir spy novel.

Scrubby Bay, one of five dwellings on the 4,000-acre Annandale farm, is a dramatic interpretation of a piece of floating driftwood by architect Andrew Patterson. It’s also one of the most thrilling places I’ve ever had the privilege of visiting. As the chopper aggressively peeled off the front lawn to make it back to the city before dark, the pounding of the rotor blades was replaced by a deafening silence. I’ve never felt more disconnected from reality than at that exact moment when the scene switched from chaos to calm.

Within the modest symmetrical façade of Scrubby Bay, three ocean-front guest rooms open up to the sun-soaked crops and dark waters of the South Pacific Ocean beyond. The warm barn layout is ideal for families or small groups, with additional bunk-style sleeping arrangements allowing for a total of 14 guests.

New Zealand Lodges

Across the hill, sunken into the straw-coloured landscape and within its own natural amphitheatre, you’ll find the jewel in the crown of Annandale. Seascape is perhaps the most idyllic couple’s retreat you can find. From NZD $5,000 per night, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be saved for big occasions.

Seascape is just as much about appreciating its wild surroundings as it is an opportunity to appreciate whoever you choose to experience it with. Do away with clothing and curtains, soak in the open-air spa bath, and revel in the dolphins and seals frolicking in the bay from your ocean-facing bed. 

I recommend an arrival by chopper for the theatrics, and a luxury 4×4 transfer for your departure. You’ll find it hard to comprehend that Annandale’s front gate is a staggering 45-minute drive from both Seascape and Scrubby Bay. Only at the conclusion of your stay will the sheer scale of the property, and your time in isolation, really sink in. 

Otahuna Lodge

New Zealand Lodges

Otahuna is a story of grandeur and regality nearly 130 years in the making. It’s the oldest lodge in New Zealand and sits upon 30 acres of botanic gardens that are just as antiquated and storyful as the lodge’s period architecture.

Otahuna has a modest offering totalling just seven suites, all adorned with stained-glass windows, fireplaces, and a rich display of contemporary Kiwi art. Step into any number of the rooms — the library, in particular — and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been cast in the latest sequel of Knives Out

Owners Miles Refo and Hall Cannon breathed new life into the historic property after taking ownership in 2006 and, with the help of Chef Jimmy McIntyre, have lent heavily into the purity of the local produce, picked directly from Otahuna’s historic grounds. 

Between the vegetable garden, fruit orchard, glasshouses, mushroom house and Otahuna’s own pork and lamb, every plate served during your stay comes with a story. Dinner is usually five small courses that change daily, and are matched with New Zealand wines included in the tariff.

Otahuna Lodge, a Relais & Chateaux property, is only a 30-minute drive from Christchurch Airport, but you could easily think you’ve stepped off the plane into a little slice of country England. This is probably why it’s such a favourite of King Charles & Queen Camilla, who frequent the property every few years. Rates for Otahuna Lodge start at US$1,469 (AU$2,208) per night.

Flockhill Station

New Zealand Lodges
Image credit: Lisa Sun

Enveloped by the Craigieburn valley, relative newcomer Flockhill is a high-country haven tucked between the towering peaks of the Southern Alps. The 36,000 acres of working sheep station afford visitors all the enviable perks of gumboot luxury in classic alpine form. 

The Homestead, Flockhill’s hero dwelling, accommodates up to eight guests between its four massive suites. Gunbarrel views of the valley can be enjoyed from each bed, bathtub, or even the infinity pool, where you’ll feel like you’re the only person lucky enough to bear witness to the undisturbed life of the Southern Alps at any given moment.

Image credit: Lisa Sun

In the evening, the lodge’s elevated perch high in Arthur’s Pass gives guests a snow-globe-like perspective on some of the darkest skies in this corner of the world. The only geographical references you have to frame the nightly celestial entertainment are the arresting silhouettes of the mountains on all sides, and the sparkle of the icy river below in the moonlight.

Exclusive use of The Homestead starts from NZD $9,200 per night and includes a private chef. Enquiries are also open for a new assortment of smaller villas elsewhere on the station which are slated to welcome their first guests in December 2024.

The writer travelled as a guest of Emirates aboard its daily A380 service to Christchurch.

John McMahon
John McMahon is a founding member of the Boss Hunting team who honed his craft by managing content across website and social. Now, he's the publication's General Manager and specialises in bringing brands to life on the platform.



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