Enjoying New Zealand's picturesque sheep-herding country doesn't mean you have to live like a herdsman. High luxury and country manor elegance can be found at a selection of small lodges and farms that offer guests gourmet meals, world-class golf and soothing spas.


cape kidnappers

A suite at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers


New Zealand's seven-suite Otahuna Lodge, built in 1895, is regarded as the finest example of Queen Anne architecture in New Zealand. Otahuna Lodge is on New Zealand's South Island, 20 minutes from Christchurch. Last year, the lodge completed a $1 million renovation effort that included the complete refurbishment of the seven suites, public areas and a major overhaul of the 30-acre garden. Views from all seven suites either face the great lawn (front lawn) or back forested lawn. The best views of the great lawn can be had from The Rhodes Suite, The Verandah Suite and The Garrett Suite.

Otahuna Lodge has teamed up with HeliPro to offer six heli-tours that include such activities as whale watching in Kaikoura and a round of Heli-Golf at Terrace Downs. The Southern Alps Adventure, for example, is a 3- to 4 1/2-hour flight above white-capped mountains, providing views of small glaciers and alpine lakes. The helicopter makes a mountaintop landing for participants to enjoy the view. The experience is capped off with a flight to the Waipara wine district at Pegasus Bay, for wine tasting and a meal. The prices of all excursions start at approximately $1,000 per person. All helicopter tours depart and land directly from the Lodgeís own Great Lawn and can be booked within 24 hours of departure. The travel agent liaison is Heather McEwan, who can be reached at [email protected].


Otahuna lodge helipro helitours

Otahuna Lodge's partnership with HeliPro offers six different travel experiences


The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a 24-suite property on the North Island in Hawke's Bay in New Zealand. It is set on a 6,000-acre sheep-and-cattle farm, with dramatic Pacific Ocean views.

The Ridge Suite is set away from the main lodge, affording it the most privacy. The suite has open fireplaces (including one in the bedroom), a generous balcony and 180-degree views of the golf course and the Pacific Ocean. Hilltop Suites have spacious bathrooms with twin vanities, heated floors and oversized tubs.

The four-bedroom Owner's Cottage is the most expensive accommodation.The Owner's Cottage has four suites, each with its own bathroom, walk-in closet, bedroom and fireplace. The large open-plan kitchen, living and dining room has an open fireplace and leads out to a large patio and private hot tub. The Owner's Cottage is available as either a two-bedroom or four-bedroom house, making it a good bet for families. The Owner's Cottage four-bedroom rate during the high season (December 15-March 31) is $12,000 a night; the rest of the year the rate is $8,000 a night.

The spa's three treatment rooms (including one couple's suite) all have private balconies that look out on the valley and ocean, or onto Mount Ruapehu. Annabel Toogood is not only the spa director, she's also singled out for the quality of her massage, especially the spa's signature New Zealand Earth Stone Massage. Appointments can be made ahead of arrival by contacting Toogood at [email protected] or 011-64-6-875-1900.

For an intimate dinner, request the "snugî"table (they'll know what you mean). The long table on the loggia in front of the fire can seat groups up to 16. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers also has a wine-tasting room.


kauri cliffs

A cottage bedroom at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs


The Cape Kidnappers Kauri Cliffs 18-hole golf course hosted the final round of the Kiwi Challenge Match Play Golf Tournament last October. The course was designed by Tom Doak and takes full advantage of its setting. Fifteen of the course's holes overlook the Pacific Ocean; six of these 15 are even more dramatic, being situated along seaside cliffs.
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is the sister property to The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. Set on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay, Northland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs affords views of the Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett and the offshore Cavalli Islands.

Kauri Cliffs consists of 11 outlying guest cottages, each with two guest suites. The cottages are nestled on the edge of native bush looking east from private verandas across the golf course and the Pacific Ocean. Every suite has its own private porch, a bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, walk-in his-and-hers wardrobes and bathroom with a shower, bathtub and his-and-hers vanities. The 11 cottages comprise 16 Deluxe Suites and six Standard Suites. Deluxe Suites are the most requested due to their proximity to the lodge and leisure facilities. For the ultimate accommodations, book the Owner's Cottage for its infinity swimming pool, hot tub, two suites, private walled garden and unobstructed views of the golf course, Pacific Ocean, Cape Brett and the Bay of Islands.

The spa has three treatment rooms, including a coupleís suite and Vichy wet room. The treatment rooms all have private patios overlooking a stream and the native forest with overhead heaters and fireplaces for treatments to be enjoyed al fresco. The spa director is Nadia McCracken ([email protected], 011-64-9 407-0010).

In the main dining room, request the Green Room balcony for a romantic fireside dining experience. Dinner is included for all lodge guests.

Jay Robertson is the managing director of both the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers (011-64-6-875-1900, [email protected]). Agents should direct questions about both properties to the central reservations office (reservations@capekidnap pers.com) or phone Amy Tapper, the central reservations manager, at 011-64-6-875-190.

See more of Kauri Cliffs in the video below