Explore: luxury living in New Zealand

Written by Ellie Brade

Along with the wider Asia Pacific, New Zealand continues to grow in popularity as a cruising destination, and for good reason, with striking landscapes and stunning waters all proving their allure to visiting yachts. 14,000km of coastline is complimented by plenty of onshore activities to offset time on the water, including award-winning vineyards, world-class golf courses, adrenaline-inducing activities, cultural experiences, spas, cuisine and more. The recent win of the 35th America's Cup by Emirates Team New Zealand, with the next edition of the Auld Mug due to be hosted in New Zealand, it is likely to provide even more of an incentive for owners to add New Zealand to their cruising wish list.

With so much on offer around the country, it is no surprise that more and more yacht owners and charter guests are also opting to spend time ashore during their visit to New Zealand, either by extending their trip with a stay at one of the country’s luxury lodges, or using them as a land base when their yacht is transiting between locations. For an extended trip, visiting both the North and South Islands is a good choice, and a lodge provides the perfect base to fill the days while the yacht travels from North to South. There is plenty of choice, with a network of lodges up and down the country, each with its own individual personality and charm. Many are just a short distance from ports or a quick helicopter ride away, ensuring quick and easy access to or from a yacht. Local yacht agents are well placed to advise on the lodge best suited to your itinerary, or to help create a memorable time on shore.

Kauri Cliffs

Northland is a versatile cruising area, with unspoiled beaches, excellent fishing, pristine dive spots, white sands. Cape Reinga, at the very tip of the North Island marks the point where the Southern Ocean and Pacific Ocean meet. An easy distance from Auckland, many superyachts enjoy cruising around Northland including the beautiful Bay of Islands.

Close to historic Waitangi and in easy reach of the Bay of Islands, Kauri Cliffs has proved a popular stop off for both overnight stays and day trips alike. Yacht guests wishing to lunch at the lodge can moor their yacht, alight on Kauri Cliff’s private pink-shelled beach and enjoy a meal, or a round of golf, with the ocean and their yacht in easy view beneath them. Perched on top of a cliff, with enviable views across the South Pacific Ocean towards Cape Brett and the Cavalli Islands, Kauri Cliffs is set amongst 6,000 acres and offers 22 guests suites and a private two bedroom owner’s cottage. One of its most popular offerings is the Par 72 championship golf course with fifteen holes, all with an exquisite view across the ocean. Other facilities include a standalone spa set in native Totara forest, an infinity swimming pool and tennis courts. If enjoying the evening degustation menu on the lodge’s terrace wasn’t enough, guests can also partake in a custom beach barbeque or simply retreat to one of the lodge’s three private beaches for a gourmet picnic. On-site activities include a tour of the working farm, guided bird watching, night hunts or a visit to the lodge’s private waterfall.

Huka Lodge

Probably New Zealand’s best known luxury lodge, thanks to its long history, Huka Lodge was founded in 1924 by Irishman Alan Pye as a fishing lodge. The Lodge quickly became known around the world thanks to its close proximity to the Waikato River and incredible setting for fly fishing. Popular with royalty, film stars, authors and sports stars alike, the Lodge has welcomed everyone from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Pink Floyd. Today Huka Lodge has evolved into a luxurious setting for anglers and holidaymakers, with the cool, clear waters of the Waikato river still providing the same attraction as they did nearly a century ago. The Owner’s Cottage and Alan Pye Cottage are standalone private residences popular with superyacht clientele, offering optimum luxury and privacy.

Although further inland than many of the coastal lodges, a helipad ensures easy access by helicopter with guests alighting on the green lawns of Huka’s 17 acres of beautiful gardens. “Huka Lodge welcomes superyacht guests from around the world who like to include this iconic lodge on their New Zealand visit,” says Louise Smyth, director of Sales and Marketing at Huka Retreats. “They appreciate knowing that after exploring the diversity and natural beauty of the Lake Taupo region, there’s incredible dining and outstanding service provided at the Lodge. We also know that the private Alan Pye and Owner’s Cottage appeal to friends and families desiring even more privacy within the Huka Lodge environment.

Otahuna Lodge

Built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, a Victorian gentleman who moved to New Zealand, today Otahuna Lodge is a luxury retreat that is the epitome of generous hosting. Otahuna means ‘little hill among the hills’, and the Lodge sits in a pristine and peaceful setting between the Banks Peninsula, with the majestic nearby hills overlooking its position. Perfectly cultivated grounds stretch into the distance towards the Southern Alps, broken up by a lake surrounded by millions of daffodils, with the Lodge home to one of the largest fields of daffodils in New Zealand.

Purchased in 2006 by its current owners, Miles Refo and Hall Cannon, the duo lovingly restored the house to its original glory, adding their own expert touches along the way. Today those who visit Otahuna Lodge are greeting by a private yet character-full retreat that is one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in Australasia. The Lodge is also home to a beautiful collection of some of New Zealand’s best art, curated by Refo and Cannon, paired with antiques and fine furnishings to create a beautifully memorable setting. Stand out features include a hard-carved kauri staircase that leads up to guest accommodation, including the impressive master Rhodes suite.

Generous hosting is at the heart of all that Otahuna offers, with a warm welcome and beautifully prepared food and beverages, prepared using the best of the Lodge’s kitchen garden and other local produce. Guests are welcomed to visit the impressive kitchen gardens during their stay, or simply to wander Otahuna’s extensive grounds. An ideal luxury hideaway, Otahuna would make the perfect start or end point to a superyacht cruise or charter. Close to Lyttelton port, the Lodge is easily accessed from the water, or by air with Christchurch airport allowing arrivals by plane or helicopter.


Set in the serene Orinoco valley in the heart of Nelson on the South Island, Edenhouse caters to a small number of guests with its boutique set up. Offering a private cottage and two luxury guest suites, the Lodge embodies the phrase ‘small but perfectly formed.’ The creation of owners Bobbie and Peter Martin, Edenhouse's guests are hosted with warmth and authenticity. Meant to serve as both a retreat and sanctuary, Edenhouse is a private and personal escape from the real world, with its 48-acres of land providing an unspoiled setting for guests to enjoy.

A real attraction is the outdoor setting, with a private garden cottage and extensive landscaped gardens. If wandering around the lodge is not enoug, then the surrounding area of Nelson has plenty on offer to visitors, with nearby attractions including the Motueka River, known for its abundant trout, helicopter flights through the mountains of Kahurangi National Park, world-class vineyards, craft breweries and much more.

Just four of New Zealand’s award-winning luxury lodges, these unique destinations should be the perfect lure for some time onshore to complement a visit to New Zealand by superyacht.



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