Learning to be alone can be empowering for some, frightening for others.
Sometimes aloneness is thrust upon us, sometimes we seek it out in a desperate escape from the madness of the world around us. Solitude can be a chance to recuperate and reset.
Learning to do things alone and sit with your own company can be challenging, but also empowering and energising. A solo escape might be anything from dining alone at a restaurant and enjoying being an observer of others, to a full-on retreat in the wilderness with nothing but the breeze through the trees and nocturnal animals to keep you company.
As we endure the current state of uncertainty, there's something whimsical and inviting about planning an escape away from everyone you know - even more so for those who've been in lockdown with others. Unsurprisingly, we're all a bit more fatigued than usual this year with the current state of the world, which means a solo escape could be just the ticket to rejuvenating our mindsets.
Whatever version of aloneness you choose, there's beauty in doing things solo - and we've gathered some of the best places to give it a go, from high-end luxury to basic wilderness stays. Who says you can't have a romantic weekend for one?
Maunga Iti, Northland
The term "Maunga Iti" translates to 'little hills' in Maori. In this Northland bushland retreat near Tutukaka you will be staying in a luxury tent on top of a hill, with views spanning from forest to coastland.
The set-up at Maunga Iti includes bush tracks to wander and meander as you connect with nature, as well as a freshwater stream and plenty of native birdlife to listen to and watch. Don't be put off by the idea of being in a tent - this is a luxury option, with an ensuite bathroom, and even an outdoor bath at the front of the deck for some seriously indulgent time to yourself, with nothing but Mother Earth's creations in front of you.
Relax with a book on the deck or feel the grass between your toes on the lawn surrounding the tent. During the warmer months you can sleep with the tent open to drift off to the sounds of the nocturnal bushlife.
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
How abou a luxury European-style villa all to yourself, overlooking the magnificent blue waters of Lake Pukaki?
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is about 40 minutes' drive from Lake Tekapo in the central South Island and though it might seem excessive luxury for just one, why should a solo traveller miss out on one of the most picturesque settings in New Zealand?
Because the accommodation package at this retreat is all-inclusive, you have the luxury of a chef preparing you a three-course meal every day. It is personally delivered to your villa so you can dine in private, without having to lift a finger.
You might not be able to enjoy a game of tennis on the courts if you're flying solo, but there are plenty of other activities ideal for one. Guests at the Ashley Mackenzie Villa get exclusive use of the Fantail Spa, which includes a workout room, massage room, sauna and outdoor hot tub.
The region is internationally renowned for its stargazing opportunities thanks to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, so be sure to lock in some time just to gaze up into the splendid night sky.
And if you really want to live the high life, there are four helipads onsite.
Think of Solscape as an escape for your soul with a minimal ecological footprint. This retreat in the relaxed surf town of Raglan is at the foot of Mt Karioi, and is primarily an accommodation complex with eco-lodgings, designed as a place of rest and rejuvenation. It's a space aimed at facilitating a connection between you and the natural world.
Accommodation options range from contemporary lodging and glamping, to earth domes and upcycled railway cabooses. Solscape has its own surf school, yoga studio and vegan cafe, The Conscious Kitchen, which specialises in organic plant-based cuisine. It also hosts gardening workshops as well as other events, including weddings.
As an accommodation complex, you may not be entirely by yourself during your stay, but there's nothing stopping you from still having your own private eco-retreat in one of the country's best-loved surf towns.
If you are craving solitude in the bush, the Tipi forest in particular is a beautiful spot to enjoy peace and quiet. You can stay in a bush bell tent in the forest for an ultimate break from people, enjoying the native bush surroundings and listening to the birdsong.
The Cordis, Auckland
Don't fancy isolation? The Cordis is an ideal city hotel stay for someone who wants a night to themselves with all amenities in reach - and a luxurious spa experience. Perhaps you live in the city and want to treat yourself to a night away without having to travel, or you are yearning for an indulgent spa treatment.
As well as all the usual treatments such as facials and massages that you expect from a hotel spa, The Cordis' Chuan Spa steps it up a notch with a unique tri-bathing experience to enjoy prior to your treatment. The bathing and steam facilities include a swimming pool, sauna, herbal steam room, snail shower and ice-bath experience. Arrive about 45 minutes prior to your treatment so you can make the most of the bathing ritual.
The rooms are well equipped with amenities, tasteful furnishings and plush beds with a selection of pillows to create your own pillow castle for a peaceful solo sleep.
Note: Chuan spa facilities reopen at Level 2 with Covid protocols.
The Green Rabbit
Retreat to the rural Far North for a spot of peace and tranquility in a cute tiny house.
The Green Rabbit is a five-minute drive from Mangonui Village, on the edge of the Northlanding Olive Grove. You'll have expansive views to enjoy from the comfort of your bed next to the large window, from outside on the deck, from the hammock or while soaking in the outdoor bath.
This cute pitched-roof cabin has everything you need for an isolated escape with its own kitchenette, elevated bed nook and even a tiny wood burner so you can stay cosy during cooler nights.
There's an option to order a breakfast kit that has all the ingredients to make homemade pancakes, with fruit, eggs and bacon. And, to help set the mood, you can choose from a selection of vinyl to play on the record player in the living area.
Little Greenie, Golden Bay
This little eco-cabin is in New Zealand's hippie capital, Golden Bay. It's best suited for the environmentally-conscious solo wanderer wanting to keep their travel footprint as small as possible.
This holiday house is drenched in the sun all day. It has open, interrupted views out to the beach at Wainui Bay, an ideal swimming spot for those wanting a dip in the clear ocean. There are beautiful bush and coastal walks nearby including to the Wainui Falls, a cascading waterfall nestled in lush native forest in the Abel Tasman National Park. It's an ideal base if you plan to do more of the Abel Tasman walks. Or you can choose to do nothing active at all and stay at home to enjoy the views from the outdoor bathtub.
The cabin itself is modern, clean and green, which means it is warm and energy-efficient all year round. That also means it has a composting toilet. In winters or cool evenings, underfloor heating keeps the house cosy.
Hanmer Springs is the go-to spa destination for most people living in the Canterbury region because of its proximity to Christchurch - a 90-minute drive away.
The Hanmer Springs Alpine Spa Village is surrounded by mountains and forests with activities ranging from walking and biking, to relaxing in the thermal pools
There are plenty of accommodation options from camping and hostels to bed and breakfasts and luxury lodges. For a solo escape, try a wellness holiday at Hanmer's Vibrant Living Retreat, a couple of minutes away from the hot springs. It's nestled into the mountains and surrounded by 0.8ha of gardens.
They run a variety of retreats such as yoga, meditation and healing or overall wellness options catered to your needs, which include massages or facials and journalling sessions. In your own time you can wander down to the main hot pools complex for further rest and rejuvenation.