Luxurious separate suites overlook a truly impressive coastline
Hidden away in the northeast corner of the North Island, Helena Bay features three kilometres of pristine coastline and no less than four private beaches, all speckled with intimate coves. It’s no surprise that, in 2010, the National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranked the destination as second equal in its ‘World’s Top Rated Islands, Coastlines and Beaches’. The Poor Knights Islands, lie just 20 kilometres off the coast and, having been shortlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are host to the world’s largest sea cave and everything from orcas to dolphins. It’s all just a three hours’ drive from Auckland’s airport or a short flight hop.
While the lodge opened in 2016, the history of its grounds dates back much further. There are five archaeological sites on the estate, evidencing historic Maori fortifications, while Croatian vineyards and agriculture mark its more recent history. It’s here that the lodge takes its architectural inspiration from, with a European style manifested in clean schist lines that feature fragments of ancient coral and crustaceans. Each of the five set apart suites is decorated with eclectic artwork and treasures that have been gathered by the owners during their travels around the world. However, they all feature extensive balcony views over Helena Bay beach; make use of the provided Leica binoculars to spot the whales and dolphins of the Pacific Ocean. Upgrade to a Villa Suite to add log burning fireplaces and extra space to super king beds, complimentary movies and a Nespresso machine.
Helena Bay has brought the Michelin-starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of Southern Italy to New Zealand. In a true fine dining experience, its menus change daily, predicated on an organic philosophy that gets the best out of local produce. Whether you dine by candlelight in front of the roaring log fires, picnic on one of the private beaches, or take your dinner on the terrace looking out over the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be utterly indulged after. It’s all complemented by a wine cellar that houses more than 1,000 bottles of sommelier-selected wines, both New Zealand and international.
The enjoyment continues into the lodge’s amenities with a gym, sauna, massage room, tennis court and a 25-metre heated swimming pool all available. For further relaxation, make use of the library and lounge or have a drink by the outdoor fire pit. But it’s the Helena Bay experiences that are the most impressive. Cut through the bush on hiking, 4WD and biking trails to reach the private beaches after passing wagyu cattle and alpacas alike. Alternatively, take to the water with everything from paddleboards and sea kayaks with fishing tackle available for guests.
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