Wild sleeping: 7 of the best New Zealand lodges

Bury your phone, leave the laptop at home and immerse yourself in New Zealand’s jaw-dropping wilderness. We pick the top Kiwi stays for getting back to nature…

3 mins

1. Cabot Lodge, near Fiordland National Park, South Island

(Cabot Lodge)

(Cabot Lodge)

Pastoral idyll meets alpine epic at this new lodge set amid the 800 bucolic hectares of Cathedral Peak Station. Wake to views across sheep-speckled meadows and the waters of Lake Manapouri to the craggy peaks of Fiordland National Park beyond, then tuck into a field-to-table breakfast with fresh berries, honey and eggs.

Fuel up well: adventures on your doorstep include hikes along the Kepler Track – one of New Zealand’s Great Walks – kayaking on the lake and boat cruises on Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds.

More information: Cabot Lodge

2. Pohue PurePod, Banks Peninsula, South Island

(Pohue PurePod)

(Pohue PurePod)

Everywhere you look, there’s wilderness. That’s the beauty of a stay in this glass hut high in the tussocked hills of the Banks Peninsula. Several PurePods are scattered around Christchurch and Kaikoura, but none of the others match the scenery above Port Levy Bay, an hour’s drive from Christchurch and a good 25 minutes’ hike from the nearest road.

It’s a truly off-grid experience: the hut is entirely self-sufficient, with a solar-powered kitchen, water drawn from a natural spring and – best of all – no WiFi. Lie in bed and drift off beneath a glittering canopy of stars, then wake to explore the area, perhaps heading to Akaroa to spot endangered Hector’s dolphins.

More information: PurePods

3. Hapuku Lodge and Treehouses, near Kaikoura, South Island

(Hapuku Lodge)

(Hapuku Lodge)

There’s nothing like a treehouse for sparking high spirits. Rising above a grove of kanuka trees, the five canopy-level treehouse rooms at Hapuku enjoy views across the surrounding deer park to the Kaikoura ranges.

Head out for mountain hikes, surfing at Mangamaunu Bay or whale-watching from Kaikoura, then light the woodburning stove and ease yourself into a spa bath.

More information: Hapuku Lodge

4. Whare Kea Chalet, Central Otago, South Island

(Whare Kea Chalet)

(Whare Kea Chalet)

Truly remote – accessible only by helicopter – but with hot showers and gourmet food, Whare Kea Chalet is the epitome of remote luxury. Perched at an altitude of 1,750m on Dragonfly Peak, the two-bedroom steel-and-glass chalet affords jaw-dropping views of Mount Aspiring and Aoraki (Mount Cook).

For four months of the winter, snow is ubiquitous – time to try heli-skiing – while the trails of nearby Mount Aspiring National Park beckon in summer.

More information: Whare Kea Chalet

5. Hill House, near Wanaka, South Island

(Hill House)

(Hill House)

The bach (say: ‘batch’) is the quintessential New Zealand holiday home – most Kiwis own one for wilderness getaways. But though many are simple shacks, the two-bedroom Hill House is entirely more substantial and secluded, with far-reaching views over the Clutha Valley and Southern Alps.

There’s a wood fire to warm the bones after tramping high-country trails in the Pisa Range, and a large kitchen in which to cook a feast to complement wine from the surrounding vineyards. Cheers!

More information: Hill House

6. Night Sky Cottage, near Tongariro National Park, North Island

(Night Sky Cottage)

(Night Sky Cottage)

Though easily accessed by road, this two-bedroom cottage set beneath the glowering peak of Mount Ruapehu is enveloped by native manuka and beech bush, with only rogue deer for neighbours.

There’s no shortage of fine tramping in nearby Tongariro National Park, and the Old Coach Road cycle trail runs right past. After sundown, set the wood fire ablaze and relax into twin freestanding bathtubs.

More information: Night Sky Cottage

7. Nest Tree Houses, Waitaki, South Island

(Cindy Mottelet/Nest Tree Houses)

(Cindy Mottelet/Nest Tree Houses)

Overlooking Hakataramea Valley and hidden among the branches is this beautiful treehouse escape. Architect-designed, the luxury accommodation includes floor-to-ceiling windows, steam room, and an outdoor cedar bath to soak in the surrounding nature. 

With its location just off-the-beaten-track, there's plenty to keep you busy. Hop on two wheels for the 300km Alps to Ocean cycleway which passes Mount Cook, or take on the challenge of Kurow Hill, a steep climb reaching 600m above sea level. The Nest also lies on the outskirts of Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky reserve, an ideal spot for stargazing.

More information:  Nest Tree Houses

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