Otahuna Lodge offers luxurious three-day escape to New Zealand
New Zealand may not top your list as the ultimate travel destination. But after discovering Otahuna Lodge, a 30-acre lavish British Colonial estate that offers the perfect retreat from a busy modern life, you may just change your mind. Featuring historical Queen Anne architecture, the well-appointed Lodge offers a truly unique vacation, from culinary adventures to a tour of sumptuous gardens, a harbor cruise to view rare dolphins and a visit to a quaint town located in an extinct volcano crater.
“The guest experience at Otahuna Lodge features an intimate setting that focuses on personalized experiences, which are all authentic to the property’s origins and unique heritage. From the original Queen Anne architecture to the legendary gardens, the experience at Otahuna is something that can’t be replicated,” Hall Cannon, Otahuna Lodge managing director, said.
Otahuna, meaning “little hill among the hills” in Maori, is perched on a hill, sandwiched among the rocky outcrops of the Banks Peninsula and offering picturesque views of the Southern Alps and the Canterbury Plains. Built in 1895, the property has undergone extensive renovation to become even more deluxe, boasting exceptional amenities and incredible service. Now you can experience all that Otahuna Lodge has to offer with this luxurious escape: “Three Ultimate Days at Otahuna Lodge.”
“This itinerary offers the best of both worlds. While exploring some of the world’s most highly regarded natural attractions, guests can also participate in authentic on-site experiences,” Cannon explained. “From a helicopter tour that offers breathtaking views, a tranquil harbor cruise that showcases the world’s rarest dolphins, to foraging for porcini mushrooms with the property’s award-winning chef, this unparalleled journey can only be experienced by guests of Otahuna Lodge.”
The largest private residence in New Zealand, the Lodge offers seven distinctive suites that showcase a sense of history with their nineteenth-century features including original fireplaces and stained glass windows. The Lodge offers a drawing room perfect for retreating besides a crackling fire and a library with more than a thousand titles.
Indulge in nightly five-course dinners that feature impressive wines and fresh produce from the estate and surrounding area, offered communally in the ornate Dining Room. Each morning, start your day with a breakfast buffet plus made-to-order entrees. Guests may elect to forage for their own ingredients in the gardens. Be sure to find time to explore the spectacular 30-acre gardens, including a vegetable garden, fruit tree orchard, rose garden, mushroom garden and field of daffodils. The Lodge also serves as a home base for partaking in a range of outdoor activities including horseback riding, golf, fishing, hunting, wine tours and more.
These features have contributed to Otahuna’s ranking as a Category 1 Listing from New Zealand’s National Historic Places Trust.
DAY ONE: The first day kicks off with a scenic drive through the Canterbury Plains, New Zealand’s largest arable land space. Reaching Double Hill Station, located in the Southern Alps, you will delight in morning tea and receive a guided tour of this famed sheep station. Next, you will take to the air in a helicopter ride offering gorgeous views of the area’s flora and fauna, stunning glaciers, crystal lakes and New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki Mount Cook. After indulging in a gourmet lunch, the helicopter transports you across the foothills of the Alps back to Otahuna.
DAY TWO: The second day of your adventure begins with an hour-long drive to Akoroa, a charming village initially settled by the French in the mid-1800s. The quaint town is located in the heart of an extinct volcano and enclosed by an enchanting harbor. During your guided trip along the crater rim of the volcano, you are afforded stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the harbor. After experiencing the village, enjoy a harbor cruise to view Hector’s Dolphins (the smallest and rarest dolphins on Earth), fur seals, blue penguins and some of New Zealand’s rarest trees. Partake in a mouthwatering lunch at one of Akaroa’s popular restaurants and then experience Josie Martin's whimsical mosaic garden at the historical Giant’s House.
DAY THREE: The final day is your opportunity to learn what the Lodge has to offer on-site. After a delectable, relaxed breakfast, the head gardener takes you on a personal guided tour of the property’s 30 acres of spectacular organic and productive gardens, ranked as “A Garden of National Significance” and dating back to 1895. Next you will receive an intensive three-hour interactive cooking lesson from the Lodge’s award-winning chef in which you will learn cutting-edge cooking techniques. The day ends with a 60- to 90-minute deep massage and the chance to relax in the heated outdoor swimming pool.
For more information, visit www.otahuna.co.nz. Prices start at approximately $648 USD for single occupancy and include all meals and beverages, on-site amenities and experiences, as well as all activities that are included in the three-day itinerary.