Website of the Year
Travel

The 13 most luxurious lodges in the South

Thomas Bywater

Thomas Bywater is a writer and digital producer for Herald Travel

A new reality TV show has done the enviable job of visiting over 30 of the most glamorous properties around New Zealand and Australia.

From the Otago highlands to the middle of Australia's Red Centre, the Lap of Luxury takes viewers on a tour of the Southern Hemisphere's most exclusive getaways.

Distilling the list down to just 13 properties, here is the long run of "Australasia's most magnificent lodges."

Blanket Bay Lodge in Glenorchy. Photo / Supplied
Blanket Bay Lodge in Glenorchy. Photo / Supplied

NZ - Blanket Bay, Glenorchy

Named for the blanketing fog that rolls in from Lake Wakatipu, the lodge has been named New Zealand's best alpine lodge. Once the fog lifts, guests are treated to views down the Rees and Dart valleys out to Earnslaw. It's a landscape beloved by cinemagoers and lovers of back-country pursuits.
Guests have a choice of staying in the main, timber-framed Blanket Bay Villa or one the many luxury chalets scattered around the estate.
blanketbay.com

The stately Wharekauhau Lodge on the South Wairarapa coast. Photo / File
The stately Wharekauhau Lodge on the South Wairarapa coast. Photo / File

NZ - Wharekauhau Lodge, Wairarapa

Looking over the Cook Strait, the stately white chimneys and pebble-dashed exterior are a welcoming sight against the Wairarapa farmland. It's an Edwardian gem. With the sea cliffs, cabbage-tree lined paddocks and Tararua ranges framing the estate, it's a bucolic getaway. The Wharekauhau chefs are equally proud of how productive the region is, producing everything from local pasture-fed lamb and Wairarapa wines.
wharekauhau.co.nz

Dining at the One&Only Wolgan. Photo / Supplied
Dining at the One&Only Wolgan. Photo / Supplied

AUS - One&Only Wolgan Valley, New South Wales

The estate in New South Wales straddles two national parks in the Blue Mountains. Luxury experience is portioned up into 40 pavilions, where guests have access to a private swimming pools and spacious living quarters.
However, guests who are more interested in sharing their time can get engaged with the local conservation programmes. The Wombat Warrior initiative leads guests out into the bush to help out on regeneration projects and tree planting.
oneandonlyresorts.com

The view from the pool at Kauri Cliffs. Photo / Supplied
The view from the pool at Kauri Cliffs. Photo / Supplied

NZ - Kauri Cliffs, Kerikeri

The Cliffs and their beautifully appointed 18-hole golf course counts former president Barack Obama among its happy patrons. The four newly constructed residence villas are the newest development at the resort near Kerikeri

The four-bedroom villas — each boasting a private pool and individual decoration by designer Virginia Fisher — were built for his three sons and are designed for family or group getaways. Much like the resort's individual suites, you can expect all-inclusive daily drinks and meals prepared by your own chef on-site, and access to Kauri Cliff's golf course, spa and other amenities.
robertsonlodges.com

Minaret Station, a luxury lodge in the Southern Alps. Photo / Supplied
Minaret Station, a luxury lodge in the Southern Alps. Photo / Supplied

NZ - Minaret Station Alpine Lodge, Wanaka

High peaks, pristine water, 50,000 acres of high country grazing – Minaret Station is a looker.
The Alpine Lodge is most easily accessed by helicopter, it offers an escape into an alpine valley that might as well be on another planet. With Aoraki, Fiordland and the rest of Otago within easy striking distance, the station commands the best of South Island's New Zealand on its doorstep.

It also contains what might be New Zealand's most beautiful bath.

Longitude 131, with only Uluru as your neighbour. Photo / Supplied
Longitude 131, with only Uluru as your neighbour. Photo / Supplied

AUS - Longitude 131, Uluru, Northern Territory

Bang smack in the middle of the red desert, you'd not expect to find luxury in this part of Australia's Northern Territory. Made out of sixteen tended pavilions, Longitude 131 appears like a mirage in the Outback. Neighbouring the spiritual centre of Australia, Uluru Ayers Rock it's a pretty special location. On the edge of the Uluru Kata Tjuta national park, guests are invited to explore the area's ancient culture with its traditional owners and take a scenic flight over some of the park's less known red rock landmarks.
longitude131.com.au

Tarapunga - the red-billed gull. Photo / Supplied
Tarapunga - the red-billed gull. Photo / Supplied

NZ - Tarapunga, Bay of Islands

Anyone who has been to the Bay of Islands will know the Tarapunga or red-bill gull. However as the mythical carrier of souls of the dead, they hold a special reverence and association with peace and the afterlife. Peace and a heavenly resting place is what you will find in the luxury Bay of Islands lodge, which bears their name.

Like the gulls, a 17-metre heated infinity pool which extends out from the lodge gives the impression of flying.
thelindisgroup.com

NZ - The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley, Waitakere

An architectural marvel, the sloped Lindis Lodge gives the impression of being part of the sloping Ahuriri valley landscape.

From the two master suites, guests will feel one with the landscape as well. The panoramic shower windows might leave one feeling a little too exposed however, the one way mirrored glass offers what the lodge called the "ultimate in privacy and escape."

It's not only people who are treated to luxury accommodation. The Lindis stables are home to 12 horses for trekking through the valley. There are even a couple of spare bays for equestrian guests to overnight.
thelindisgroup.com

The golf course at Cape Kidnappers is the star of the rurual Hawke's Bay retreat. Photo / File
The golf course at Cape Kidnappers is the star of the rurual Hawke's Bay retreat. Photo / File

NZ - The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay

The Farm might sound rustic but the Cape Kidnappers ranch is far from simple. Set in the folds of the Hawke's bay countryside, perched over the clifftops the rural retreat is built for luxury aimed at foodies, families and – of course – golfers.
A range of accommodation options give room for families to enjoy the good life among 6000 acres of active sheep station. The legendary golf course designed by Tom Doak is a regular on world's best lists. Doak promises "holes you wouldn't find anywhere else."

Sequoia: Lapping up luxury in of South Australia's Wine appellation. Photo / Supplied
Sequoia: Lapping up luxury in of South Australia's Wine appellation. Photo / Supplied

AUS - Sequoia, South Australia

The newest boutique hotel on South Australia's Mount Lofty is broken up into 15 individual luxury villas. Set in the Piccadilly Valley – one of South Australia's wine region's special appellations – and the Adelaide Hills the villas offer views and outdoor fireplaces which were designed to be enjoyed with a glass of wine in hand.
sequoialodge.com.au

A luxury Landing: The Boathouse. Photo / Supplied
A luxury Landing: The Boathouse. Photo / Supplied

NZ -The Landing, Purerua Northland

If exclusivity is the better part of luxury, the Landing offers that in spades. On a private part of the Purerua Peninsula, the unique luxury lodges will make you feel like the only person on the planet.
On a nautical theme, the Boat House is one of the most recognisable of the lodges. Capturing the key ingredients of a Kiwi holiday – it's an airy seafront bach, only bigger. And more luxurious. 100 metres away from a private boat ramp in Wairoa Bay, its a favourite for luxury family holidays and private parties.
thelandingnz.com

Saffire, Tasmania's sloping stingray-shaped roof has plenty of luxurious space. Photo / Supplied
Saffire, Tasmania's sloping stingray-shaped roof has plenty of luxurious space. Photo / Supplied

AUS - Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania

Built under the sloping shape of a stingray – the connection to the sea is obvious. Come under the wing of the Saffire, for a stay in one of the 20 luxury suites and some very wild Tasmanian experiences.

On the Freycinet Peninsula, the area is home to Tasmania's top seafood and wine. The Freycinet Oyster Farm is perhaps the most obvious, offering guests exclusive access to the visit the unique ecology which grows some of Australia's most prized shellfish. You might even get a bite to eat.
saffire-freycinet.com.au

Mt Mulligan: Space, and plenty of it in Queensland. Photo / Supplied
Mt Mulligan: Space, and plenty of it in Queensland. Photo / Supplied

AUS - Mt Mulligan, Queensland

The private 28000 acre estate has plenty of space for you and up to 15 of your friends. Between the Mount Mulligan escarpment and the Queensland coast, a visit offers plenty of surf and fishing opportunities for barramundi. Close to Australia's most productive gold regions and the Tryconnell Mine, you might even leave with a souvenir.
mountmulligan.com

Visiting 31 properties across Australia and New Zealand, Lap of Luxury is on TVNZ with new episodes on Tuesdays