New Zealand's Newest Offbeat Cruises and Cottages

New Zealand cruise lines are offering new itineraries focusing on off-the-beaten-path areas in both the North and South Islands. For offbeat accommodations, the country is getting several new cottages, lodges and suites for VIPs looking for something extra-special. Here are just a few worth checking out.

Zegrahm Expeditions recently announced a brand-new itinerary that visits both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, plus off-the-beaten-path Tiritiri Matangi Island and Waiheke Island on its Insider’s New Zealand: Milford Sound to Auckland expedition.This expedition is aboard the 65-guest Oceanic Discoverer from February 4 – 20, 2015.

Compagnie du Ponant, meanwhile, recently announced some new itineraries to Australia and New Zealand for the 2014/2015 season. The new tours will take guests to the South Pacific Ocean and Oceania, stopping off in Auckland and Rotorua.


Annandale is a new (as of December) 4,000-acre sheep and cattle farm in Pigeon Bay on the Banks Peninsula, about an hour’s drive from Christchurch. At its heart is the five-bedroom villa Homestead, a 19th-century farmhouse complete with shaded verandas, tended gardens – guests are encouraged to pick fresh lemons for morning crepes from their trees – and a host of leisure facilities. An outdoor pool, spa pool, gym and all-weather tennis court are all available to guests. A further four villas are spread across the land. Scrubby Bay is an intentionally isolated cedar-clad beach house that accommodates 14; Seascape accommodates one couple who might see dolphins and seals as they gaze at the property’s private bay.

Matakauri Lodge, the lakeside retreat in Queenstown, is opening a $5 million, four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage (pictured above). The 5,000-square-foot villa (which is now the property’s top suite) just opened earlier this month, the Cottage can accommodate up to eight guests as a four-bedroom reservation, or can be be adjusted to a two-bedroom format. The freestanding Owner’s Cottage is unique in Queenstown: It has six separate outdoor spaces, including a courtyard and Jacuzzi. There is also a full kitchen where guests can cook their own meals or bring in a private chef. Each suite has a private balcony and floor-to-ceiling views of the Remarkable Mountains on Lake Wakatipu from most of the rooms.

In January, New Zealand’s South Island got a new swank hotel for intimate retreats. The Establishment, a boutique inn with three exclusive rooms, is in the Fendalton suburb of Christchurch, and lets guests order their meals in from local restaurants and charge the food to their hotel room. The three accommodations are the Hinau, Puriri, and Totara Suites. Hinau has a bright ambiance; the Puriri Suite has a king-size bed that converts into two full-size single beds; and the Totara Suite includes a private, secluded courtyard that gets the morning sun—perfect for a private breakfast. Even better: The floors in the suites are heated to make cool mornings more comfortable.