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Travel Inspiration

10 Bucket List Worthy Places to Stay in New Zealand

New Zealand reveals a panorama of awe-inspiring landscapes — from lofty peaks that touch the skies to serene lakes reflecting azure expanses and lush greenery enveloping the land. Its closeness to Australia only heightens its appeal, showcasing a diverse array of unique accommodations tailored to every taste and adventure seeking soul.

We’ve been dreaming of our next journey, crafting dream itineraries, and we’re excited to share our handpicked selection of some of the most remarkable places to stay in New Zealand. These destinations offer bucket list experiences that plunge into the heart of the country’s natural splendour and cultural richness.

Fallow Ridge Retreat

Waikouaiti, Otago, New Zealand

Top of our bucket list of places to stay in New Zealand is Fallow Ridge Retreat, a spectacular Slow Stay nestled amidst the breathtaking landscape of Mt Watkin/Hikaroroa, set on a vast 1436ha farm in the very heart of Middle-Earth country on New Zealand’s South Island. This off-grid cabin, ingeniously blending into the scenery with its living roof of earth and tussock, embodies the essence of the land’s untamed beauty, surrounded by native bush and expansive boulder fields. Powered by solar energy, the cabin’s interior is a sanctuary of minimalistic luxury, where the scent of incense and the warmth of underfloor heating complement the cool breeze provided by central cooling.

Luxurious flax linen and soft wool blankets drape the king bed, while an outdoor cedar-wood bath and a unique, ceiling-suspended gas fireplace elevate the sense of retreat. The sleek kitchen, stocked with pantry essentials and a select mini-bar, encourages culinary adventures, or you can savour local fare on a leisurely platter. As dawn breaks, the morning sun streams through floor-to-ceiling French doors, revealing automatic blinds, and inviting you to enjoy a continental breakfast with fresh pastries from Beanos Bakery and Grid Coffee. Fallow Ridge Retreat offers more than just a stay; it promises an unparalleled escape into relaxation and the adventure-rich terrains of the Otago region.

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Luxury Lodges Fiordland National Park

Fiordland National Park, Te Anau, New Zealand

This fisherman’s shack built in the 1930s – with ocean in front and national park behind – has been reimagined in every sense of the word. An 18-month undertaking of recycling and repurposing has resulted in the whimsical Little Black Shack that stands by the seaside today. Transport your soul to a simpler time on the shore of Great Mackerel Beach in NSW – the journey on the water ferry across from Palm Beach is all part of the romance.

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The Cottages at Lake Hayes

Queenstown, New Zealand

Perched by the serene Lake Hayes, The Cottages offer an intimate luxury retreat amidst Queenstown’s majestic landscape. With their 2020 debut, these cottages have swiftly become a sanctuary for those seeking both adventure and serenity, marrying luxurious living with the untamed beauty of one of New Zealand’s most iconic vistas. Each cottage, sleeping four, is a testament to elegance and thoughtful design, featuring en-suite bedrooms with private terraces and living spaces enriched with a curated art collection. Imagine warming by the wood-burner, or soaking in a private hot tub under the stars, with the conveniences of Queenstown and Arrowtown just a stone’s throw away. The Cottages at Lake Hayes don’t just offer a stay; they promise an experience, weaving together privacy, luxury, and the natural charm of the surroundings for an unforgettable escape.

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The French Country House

Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Step into the charm of yesteryear at The French Country House, nestled amidst the rolling hills of New Zealand’s exquisite Bay of Plenty. This haven, a picturesque scene straight out of a storybook, offers sweeping views over an idyllic farmyard teeming with pheasants, turkeys, and wild ducks – a tranquil backdrop for those craving a cosy retreat with a dash of elegance. Each boutique room is a sanctuary of old-world glamour, meticulously appointed with antique treasures yet brimming with contemporary luxuries, promising an enchanting stay that marries the comfort of the modern with the romance of the past.

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Kinross Cottages

Queenstown, New Zealand

At Kinross Cottages, immerse yourself in the heart of a living vineyard, where the vines of pinot gris and pinot noir stretch out from your doorstep into the stunning expanse of Central Otago. This boutique retreat, nestled within a working vineyard, offers an authentic taste of New Zealand’s wine country, paired with breathtaking mountain views, just a stone’s throw from Queenstown. Each of the 14 spacious rooms serves as your private sanctuary among the vines, where days are beautifully spent meandering through the 40-acre estate, indulging in the finest local wines at our cellar door, and savouring gourmet delights at the onsite bistro. Kinross Cottages is not just a stay; it’s an experience woven into the very fabric of the vineyard life, inviting you to be part of the rhythm of winemaking while enveloped in luxury and the natural beauty of the surroundings.

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The Lindis

Birchwood, Otago, New Zealand

Immerse yourself in the exclusive serenity of The Lindis, a haven where luxury meets wilderness. Each of the five bespoke guestrooms pairs the warmth of a fireplace with the indulgence of a private spa tub, set against a backdrop of complimentary modern conveniences like wireless internet and flat-screen TVs. Delve into relaxation with deep soaking bathtubs and rainfall showerheads, complemented by daily housekeeping. The Lindis extends its luxury beyond its rooms, offering a spa tub, bicycle rentals, concierge services, and more, ensuring every aspect of your stay is catered to. Dining is a delight, with gourmet meals served at the restaurant and light bites available at the snack bar/deli, all rounding off with evening drinks at the bar/lounge. Each morning begins with a complimentary full breakfast, setting the tone for days filled with exploration and nights wrapped in comfort and sophistication. At The Lindis, every detail is crafted to ensure your stay is as memorable as the breathtaking landscape that surrounds it.

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Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

Nestled between the shimmering Lake Pukaki and the majestic Ben Ohau ranges, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat offers a luxurious escape on a sprawling 66-hectare High Country Estate, right at the doorstep of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Within easy reach of Wanaka, Queenstown, and Takapō/Lake Tekapo, this paradise provides direct helicopter access to each villa, ensuring an exclusive entry to your tranquil haven. The retreat’s Lakeside Villas boast uninterrupted views towards the Southern Alps, with select villas offering private spa facilities, including outdoor hot tubs and saunas. Overlooking the legendary Mackenzie Basin, the Moraine Villas feature private outdoor spa pools, marrying privacy with panoramic beauty. Crafted for comfort and luxury, each villa accommodates up to four guests in king or twin configurations, ensuring a stay of serene privacy and unparalleled luxury amidst New Zealand’s natural wonders.

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Huka Lodge

Taupo, New Zealand

Nestled between majestic mountain peaks and the flowing Waikato River, the illustrious Huka Lodge stands as a pinnacle of ultra-boutique luxury, having hosted dignitaries such as the late Queen Elizabeth II. This heritage Edwardian retreat is an amalgam of sublime natural beauty, rich Māori cultural elements, and unmatched Edwardian elegance, offering an unparalleled escape. The lodge’s unwavering commitment to superior service and its world-class culinary team elevate your stay, with daily gourmet meals and aperitifs setting the scene for unforgettable evenings. As dusk descends over Huka Lodge’s immaculate gardens, guests are invited to indulge in sumptuous suppers featuring the best of New Zealand’s local produce, complemented by exquisite selections from the vast, subterranean wine cellar expertly curated by the in-house sommeliers. Huka Lodge is not just a stay but a lavish experience woven into the very fabric of New Zealand’s luxurious hospitality tradition.

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Rainforest Retreat

Franz Josef, New Zealand

Immerse yourself in the beauty of New Zealand’s Southern Alps at Rainforest Retreat, a Slow Stay nestled in the alpine town of Franz Josef on the South Island. Surrounded by the stunning landscapes of a UNESCO World Heritage-listed area, including breathtaking glaciers, tranquil lagoons, majestic mountains, and pristine lakes, Rainforest Retreat offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature in unparalleled seclusion. Each self-contained haven provides an intimate experience with nature, allowing guests to relax above the lush rainforest canopy, breathe in the fresh alpine air from expansive deck areas, and find tranquility in rainforest shower ensuites. Rainforest Retreat is not just a stay but a gateway to paradise, where the splendor of nature envelops you in a peaceful embrace.

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Greystone PurePod

Waipara, New Zealand

Nestled in the heart of the Canterbury Region, Greystone PurePod offers an unparalleled retreat set amidst the picturesque Waipara Valley. This luxury glass eco-cabin, poised high above a stunning organic winery, promises a unique blend of seclusion and eco-friendly sophistication. With complimentary private parking, the property is conveniently located just 5 km from Pegasus Bay and a mere 60 km from Christchurch, making it an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle. The PurePod is fully self-contained, boasting cooking facilities complete with crockery, a sleek bathroom with a glass shower, and thoughtful touches like a BBQ, games, and expansive privacy. Towels and bed linen enhance the comfort of your stay. The addition of a sun terrace invites guests to soak in the panoramic views. For those looking to tailor their stay, options to bring their own provisions or select an add-on breakfast and dinner package are available. Activities such as cycling and hiking await those eager to explore the surrounding natural beauty, with Christchurch International Airport conveniently located 53 km away, ensuring Greystone PurePod is not just a place to stay but a memorable experience woven into the landscape.



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Krista Eppelstun

Life Unhurried co-founder, Krista Eppelstun, is a travel photographer and videographer, usually on the road creating content for the likes of Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, Brisbane Airport and more. But her favourite place to be is at home, coffee in hand after a morning surf.

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