Whether it’s a meditative weekend in nature or a pound-the-pavement and see-all-the-things getaway, Aotearoa brims with options that deliver off-grid goodies without leaving luxury behind, writes Ivy Carruth.
Check-in to rejuvenation with pristine night skies, outdoor tubs, tootsie-warming fireplaces and the ultimate extravagance that is travel for one. This break from the daily grind? It’s all about you: alone time is sublime. Here are a few of our favourite places to spend yours.
High Country Cabin, Ben Ohau, Twizel
Cosy but spacious, the wood-burning fireplace will tempt you to stay inside, while the sweeping views of the Southern Alps and the proximity of Aoraki/Mount Cook will have you reaching for your trainers. Whichever you decide, you can’t lose because the multitude of windows ensures you have the best of both worlds, observing the panorama of nature at your leisure. Bring the makings of dinner to whip up something for yourself in the well-equipped kitchen and sleep under a blanket of stars; no one else is around to spoil your dark sky. We suggest packing that book that’s been languishing on your bedside table. highcountrycabin.co.nz
Marua Retreat, Hikurangi, Northland
This picturesque rural charmer offers relaxation in spades and if all you do is manage to pull yourself out of the heated outdoor tub and into the king-sized canopy bed for a leisurely day of nana naps and Netflix, well, you’re living the life. Outside, scenic walks meander over gentle farm tracks, and further afield, you’re only 25 minutes from the beautiful Whananaki South beach or 30 minutes to the Tutukaka coast. You’ll find organic free-range eggs and seasonal organic produce on your bright kitchen bench upon arrival, along with local Marua honey. Take some carrots for the horses if you feel like being sociable. maruaretreat.co.nz
Kererū Retreat, Mount Hutt
What this tiny home lacks in gloss and elaborate amenities, it makes up for with its ancient native forest location and curated purposeful simplicity… and that view from the bed. Visitors have reported giant stags visiting, as well as glimpses of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights). Those in the know agree that this is a well-thought-out beacon of comfortable and mindful architecture with a Designers Institute of New Zealand (DINZ) Silver award under its belt. The diminutive cooking space is designed for self-catering, so we recommend stopping for provisions in Methven or bringing them from home. The Mount Hutt ski and bike area is only 2 scant kilometres away. tinyretreats.co.nz
Whiskey Creek Cabin, Waikino
You may never want to leave, and we totally understand. The timber-clad walls, colourful kereru amidst the wildflowers and the front porch made just for sitting will have you wondering where this place has been all your life. Bring your journal or your art supplies and have a go at capturing what you see here. Small touches like locally made amenities add to the feeling of warmth and welcome this dreamy domicile presents. A great spot for accessing the Hauraki trail or Coromandel coast, you might also consider taking yourself to Owharoa Falls, just five minutes away or exploring on foot in the neighbouring Karangahake Gorge. whiskeycreekcabin.co.nz
Boutique River Cabin, Tiniroto, Tairawhiti - Eastland
On an old-growth totara grove and sheltered under the canopy filled with birdsong, this cabin on the Hangaroa River is cute, comfortable and completely off-grid. Fresh breakfast necessities are supplied for you, and a morning spent sipping French press coffee while the world wakes up around you is priceless. Divide your leisure time between the double hammock and the daybed, or relax privately by the river. There’s a kayak if you’re keen, and since you’re on a working farm, guests are invited to come by for a tour and meet the working dogs. You can fish, too. Whatever you catch and clean would make for a very tasty meal on the barbecue or cooktop. mahaanui.co.nz/boutique-river-cabin.html
Unyoked Marama, Raglan
A tiny footprint doesn’t mean it’s not a mighty fine place to land for a few days, and this West Coast wonder will fill every single one of your senses. Think seclusion but make it tranquillity with views across both forest and sea. Leave your car in the designated space, and walk 650m through a tree-lined path, figuratively and literally leaving your troubles behind. Throw open the windows to take in the air; maybe you’ll sleep with them open, depending on how comfortable you are with that. Make the most of your location with a camera and binoculars to take in the space around you, it’s all yours for now. Bliss out in perfect solitude and rejuvenate for what comes next. unyoked.co/marama
For more things to do and experience in the homeland, see newzealand.com