We’re already 20 days into the New Year, and for many of us the last couple of weeks have consisted of get-togethers with friends and family, late nights, extensive amounts of food, drinks, quality time and catch-up at work. If a get-away to recharge is what you need, an escape to a luxury eco lodge might be the optimal solution to give yourself a fresh start to 2018.
New Zealand has numerous options when looking for that perfect escape. Some would call it another world, and many would like to re-visit this world once they’ve experienced it. We’ve summarized our favourite eco lodges below, where you will be able to disconnect and indulge. And you can feel good about it too, since all the options presented emphasize elements such as environmental responsibility and minimizing negative impact throughout their operations.
Leave your phone on flight mode, bring your best friend or set yourself for some quality time on your own. You deserve it.
Luxury Eco lodges in New Zealand
Before we get started, you might wonder what makes eco lodges in New Zealand different in the first place. Made up of two main islands, the North and South, and several smaller islands, NZ offers a remarkable diversity of natural landscapes. Whether you’re picturing your dream lodge next to a lake, on the top of a mountain, on a farm, in a beautiful garden or in the middle of nowhere, you will be able to find it here. We promise that you won’t run out of options.
Furthermore, eco lodges have been a popular escape in New Zealand for several years already, which has given the providers time to refine their offerings and create lodges across the country that offer a truly unique experience based on customer insights. Eco-tourism is growing and new options are constantly being introduced.
New Zealand Tourism’s official quality agency Qualmark has an enviro-assured rating system that ranks properties based on their environmental impact. QualmarkEnviro Gold represents the highest level of eco attainment and is the best rating one can get.
Now, let’s look closer at 5 of our favourites.
On a deer breeding farm in the South Island of New Zealand, 12 kilometres north of the well-known eco-marine town of Kaikoura, you’ll find the family-owned Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses. Located at the base of the snow-capped peaks of Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range, with the Kaikoura coast and famed Mangamaunu Bay only a few hundred meters away, Hapuku is a special place to stay.
We’ll leave it up to you to decide whether the design of the lodge and the tree houses (which by the way were designed and built by the family itself), the location, or the amazing food will be the factor that captivates you the most. Enjoy local, seasonal menus, or a specially prepared five-course tasting dinner menu matched with some of NZ’s best wines. Get a massage, relax in the sauna, or get lost in your own thoughts while sitting by the fireplace in your lodge with a glass of your favourite red.
When you’re not enjoying the luxurious lodge itself, Hapuku is the perfect base to explore the renowned surroundings of Kaikoura. Kaikoura is an all-year-destination, and mostly known for its amazing wildlife, which consists of a mix of whales, dolphins, sea-birds, and many other types of marine life. One of the most important objectives for the owners of Hapuku is to nurture these beautiful surroundings. Apart from planting native trees and re-introducing native birds, the family is exclusively using responsibly sourced material for its properties. They also get most of their ingredients from local farmers or their own organic garden, and aim to become a zero-waste community.
With its exquisitely beautiful location, Hapuku is the place to go when you would like to give yourself or someone special a unique experience in a remote paradise. The road has reopened after the earthquake that affected Kaikoura in 2016, and it’s now easier to get to the top marine destination again. The only risk is that you might not want to leave.
Kokohuia Lodge takes privacy to a different level. Accommodating only one couple at a time, you will be able to disconnect far away from everyone and everything. It might be the most naturally quiet place you’ve ever been to. Wake up to the sounds of the birds and the sea, and enjoy the view of the beautiful Hokianga Harbour. The owners produce their own solar energy and the garden, along with the native bush, are managed organically. They are passionate about sustainable tourism and take well care of waste water, as well as everything in between.
If you are looking for the perfect balance between luxury, mindfulness, delicious food, and breath-taking views, this is a great option. Many aspects make it an unforgettable place to stay; from its architecture and design, which is a combination of wood and a gorgeous glass front-view, to all the small details such as the artwork, the music, and the sunset view of the harbour.
If you manage to leave the lodge for a little while during your stay, because it can be quite tempting to just stay there, Hokianga is an interesting area with several walks waiting to be explored. No matter if you prefer to be a little active or quite the opposite while you’re at Kokohuia, it might become your new favourite place in the far north of the North Island.
Something that makes the lodges at Arthur’s Pass unique, are the stunning views and the fact that you’re staying on a beautiful sheep farm, while you’re surrounded by the gorgeousness of Arthur’s Pass National Park. Located between Christchurch and the South Island’s West Coast, Arthur’s Pass will let you experience and live the beauty of the wild New Zealand.
Expect nothing but wonderful cuisine, sophisticated accommodation, and adventurous tours in the surrounding area. You can even get a private tour around the sheep farm, where you will be able to feed the animals and learn more about the area. The family who owns Arthur’s Wilderness Lodge is passionate about conservation. The lodge is constructed to receive passive solar energy and runs on the principle of ‘reduce, reuse/refill and recycle’. The owners have a holistic approach to sustainability and the lodge’s eco-credentials have won several awards.
The fabulous views, the personal service, and the activities; ranging from guided walks in the nearby area to star gazing, are some of the reasons why guests keep on coming back to Arthur’s Wilderness Lodge. Just by looking at these photos, we feel like it could become our oasis as well.
Being among the first of NZ’s luxury lodges, Whare Kea has used its market experience to create an exclusive experience for groups only. If you are visiting NZ with family or friends, this might become your perfect spot when exploring the spectacular area of Wanaka. The lodges, designed for accommodating up to 12 guests, are spacious and filled with light. You will be spoiled with the stunning views of Wanaka and the Southern Alps
The name comes from The Kea, the only alpine parrot in the world, which lives in the surrounding mountains. The owners are supporting the Kea Conservation Trust, which helps the conservation of the wild Kea.
The lodge is far away from everything and will disconnect you from the rest of the world. It will at the same time give you the opportunity to connect with other guests at Whare Kea, if you wish, over dinner or a drink. The main reason for coming here is usually the close distance to Wanaka lake. You can easily reach the lake in a wide range of ways, such as hiking, biking or horseback riding. You’ll also be able to combine your stay with a visit to the neighboring vineyard Rippon winery.
The elegant, Zen inspired Aro Hā is located a short drive from Queenstown. Even if you have time to relax here as well, Aro Hā brings more activity to the table. This wellness retreat, which is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and unique even in a global context, was started by two American friends. The mission to create ‘a transition space for those interested in nature, adventure, self-development, alternative health, and results-oriented fitness’ was clear already from the beginning.
Located in Paradise, literally, you’ll be surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes. Aro Hā has merged traditions with modern technology and do for example run on the first renewable distributed heating system ever in New Zealand. All the food is vegetarian or vegan.
The days at Aro Hā start early and are well-planned with activities ranging from yoga, to massage, cooking classes, hikes, relaxing time in the pool and mingling with other guests. I was lucky to be invited to a 5-day retreat here in October 2015. I loved every minute of my stay and surprised myself by becoming addicted to 2 hours of yoga starting at 6am every morning.
The experience connects you to the wilderness of New Zealand and with hand-picked educators, it will inspire you to become the better version of yourself. Aro Hā is not just about getting away. It’s about getting to know yourself, and as many guests describe it, might even be a life-changing experience.
The Black Label Eco Lodge Experience
Have you started to think about your own luxury retreat? The global interest in ecotourism has increased fast in recent years, which has resulted in that more players within the industry are taking steps to run their businesses more sustainable. UN declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and this important trend will just continue.
We would be happy to walk you through the options based on your definition of a perfect escape. A stay in a eco lodge can also be combined with other experiences in New Zealand. Contact me directly for more information.