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Te Waonui Forest Retreat aerial view, New Zealand

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Contemporary Eco-accommodation – typically more than £400 per room per night


Short description

Cutting edge architectural lines leave a light footprint on old growth rainforest

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Recommended for:
Eco-tourism | Natural world


Tucked away among the bright verdure of the native bush, Te Waonui is the only luxury property of its kind in the area. Located in Franz Josef, the retreat offers easy access to the many natural wonders of the South West World Heritage Area. The glaciers that carved its mountains still stand, rivers still feed giant lakes and a wild coastline is still battered by the Tasman Sea. Explore it all with helicopter rides, air safaris, rafting, kayaking, quad tours and horse rides or simply step out onto the world-famous glaciers yourself. Warm back up in the nearby hot pools.


Wake each morning to the mellifluous calls of the native birds and treat yourself to views of giant mountains rising out of lush rainforests. It’s a sight best taken from your private balcony. Comforts come in the form of a personal pillow menu and natural wool mattress while splashes of brightness provide considered accents to a natural palette of muted greens and timber detailing. In terms of entertainment, there are LCD TV movies and music options along with complimentary WiFi.


The appropriately named Canopy Restaurant juts out with views over the rainforest. You’ll start the day with an international buffet breakfast and a cook-to-order station that ensures even your eggs are tailor-made. For dinner, there’s a degustation menu that spans the freshest West Coast and South Island produce over five courses. There’s even an outdoor pizza oven. Seating is either al fresco, canopied or inside in the inviting lounge, complete with open fire. During the day, it’s the site of an enticing café – ideal for light bites and relaxed lunches.


As something of a rare delight among New Zealand hotels, Te Waonui Forest Retreat features a full service spa. Here, everything from massages and facials to beauty treatments and spa therapies are offered in a tranquil rainforest-inspired setting. Sessions range between short refreshes and indulgent afternoons. The spa also continues the retreat’s eco-credentials, found in all-natural building materials, non-disruptive architecture and efficiency measures. Outside the 24-hour staff services, guests are also treated to complimentary internet access throughout.   

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