A unique member of the Luxury Lodges of New Zealand
Eco-tourism | Food & wine | Natural world
Deriving its name from the Maori for ‘to eat crayfish’, Kiakoura is home to richly diverse marine life. Colonies of fur seals pepper the shoreline, five species of albatross sail up high and whales swim just off shore with the resident dolphins. But, of course, its eponymous and delightfully juicy crustaceans take centre stage in the selection of excellent restaurants. It’s no surprise that this humble town has been termed a ‘maritime Serengeti’. It’s also home to a cultural diversity as well, having hosted Maori hunters and fishermen for nearly 1,000 years. And, set quietly out of town, overlooking the carpeted mountains of the peninsula’s interior, Hapuku Lodge is positioned to explore it all.
The brainchild of a family of architects and builders, this luxury offering is flawlessly realised in contemporary fashion; local woodworkers have all left their mark on unique furnishings and giant French windows. The lodge’s two suites are ultra-spacious and host to custom-built detailing, balcony views and large bathrooms complete with a Japanese soaking tub for two and a rainforest shower. For more apartment-style living, the Olive House Suite is an excellent choice, featuring a kitchen, fireplace-heated living area and an open-plan bathroom, featuring a spa tub and rain fountain shower. However, it’s the Tree Houses that literally stand out, rising 10m above the canopy of a manuka grove. Each commands spectacular views of both mountains and coastline and come immaculately presented, clad in native woods and copper shingles. Wood burning fireplaces, deck-side rainforest showers and a couple’s spa bath mean that you won’t be short of luxuries.
Given that the lodge is part of a working deer farm, you can expect deliciously fresh food across the menu. Produce is sourced from the kitchen’s own vegetable gardens and free-range chickens as well as local markets, fishermen and hunters. Unsurprisingly, the venison is particularly good. Wild game is also regular feature on the menu, as is with crayfish and other locally sourced seafood. It’s all prepared – be that freshly baked breads, jams, ice cream or stocks – in the lodge’s kitchens with menus varying daily to take full advantage of the fresh produce on offer. Wash it all down with a superb selection of New Zealand wines.
At Hapuku, you’ll be encouraged to head out and explore its privileged location on a range of activities. Hit the waters to track whales, dolphins and albatross on either a cruise or kayak trip with surfing, fishing and even swimming with seals available. If you’d rather stay on terra firma, there are Maori cultural tours, hikes, golf, wine tours and 4WD adventures on offer. Don’t forget to sample the local viticulture. You can even take it all in on a scenic flight or helicopter ride. Back at base, you’ll have the use of the lap pool and sauna.
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