Whilst our wine may be the more famous of this partnership, New Zealand’s cuisine has proven itself a worthy competitor in the high growth experiential travel market. New Zealand’s luxury lodges, themselves international award winners in the delivery of truly beautiful accommodation in stunning locations have long foreseen the importance of cuisine experiences to the high end traveler.
These lodges with the magic touch of exceptional hospitality for which they are renown set them apart from anywhere else in Australasia for authentic gourmet experiences and the inclusion of one or more will be a memorable highlight of any New Zealand itinerary. Dedicate a long weekend to the ultimate super yacht experience on land in the endless summer north of Auckland at Helena Bay Lodge commanding three kilometres of pristine coastline and private beaches. This is Helena Bay Lodge, where exclusive accommodation hosting a maximum of five individual couples combines with scenery, adventurous activities and fine dining. Helicopter flights, diving and snorkelling in a marine sanctuary, tennis and ocean fishing are just some of the activities on offer, set against a breath taking natural panorama of blue skies and blonde sand. New Zealand has been given a special culinary treat in the import by Helena Bay of Head Chef Michele Martino of world famous Michelin starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of Southern Italy. Offering a superb range of Mediterranean gastronomy with the estate-to-plate mantra Chef Martino is on hand to cater to guests whenever they desire.
Further north is the exceptional Lodge at Kauri Cliffs with its health spa, spectacular golf course, pink sand beach for that perfect gourmet picnic and family friendly accommodation. And if there is a group celebration, book a private villa at one of New Zealand’s most spectacular lodges, Eagles Nest and indulge in the delights of an exclusive private chef.
Huka Lodge, the grand-daddy of luxury lodges in New Zealand and the true scene setter of en pointe hospitality welcomes guests to stay just for the sole purpose of experiencing the gastronomy of Executive Chef Paul Froggatt. Huka Lodge was revealed in July 2017 as Relais & Chateaux’s only Les Grandes Tables du Monde property in New Zealand. Secret hint; travel outside of season and book a package that includes one of properties renown cuisine events. Reservations for these are much coveted and match the world class cuisine of Executive Chef Froggatt with guest winemaker’s vintages in one of the many beautiful interiors or exteriors depending on the season.
For those continuing a true gourmet itinerary, the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand offers up the understated class of Breckenridge Lodge, where Chef and Owner Malcolm Redmond treats guests to a daily changing menu dictated by his seasonal organic gardens. A dining room extending over the vineyard is a perfect setting to taste Malcom’s selection of handpicked wines for which the region is renown internationally.
Next on the drive south is a true food and wine match is the Relais & Chateaux marque’d Wharekauhau Estate. Wharekauhau began life as a sheep station in the 1840s, and it remains a working sheep station to this day - surely the grandest in New Zealand. One would think the pull of the nearby Martinborough vineyards, the character cafes and great shopping of the country village would entice guests away from Wharekauhau but no! New Zealand Chef of the Year and 2017 Kia Ora Salmon Winner, the charismatic Mark Soper engages with guests creating hearty cuisine embracing the farm offerings and exceptional seafood. The scene Is set with the discovery of hand pressed shortbread and locally made gin sourced from the properties mineral water accompanied by a fresh lemon in your private villa to regional cheeses and wine tasting in the Wharekauhau cellar. Family friendly Wharekauhau has an infinite list of genuine farm and beach activities, a year-round swimming pool and luxury interiors and if one only had a few nights in New Zealand could truly say they experienced a real highlight.
From here is a destination in itself; Small Luxury Hotel’s Bay of Many Coves in the Marlborough Sounds. The convenience of a (very big) boat trip across Cook Strait between the North & South Island is a great adventure; by the time you have settled on board in one of the lounges, ordered a “flat white” and caught up on the news you are entering the spectacular fiords of the Marlborough Sounds and it is up on deck.
A short water taxi from Picton and you are at the Bay of Many Coves or if time and budget allow simply settle into the leather seats of a helicopter and take the air transfer from Wharekauhau direct to their heli- pad in an oasis of native bush and tranquil deep blue green water. Big on eco activities and classic contemporary accommodation perfectly in keeping with its natural surroundings, Bay of Many Coves is one of New Zealand’s best kept gastronomic secrets. Winner of the countries Beef & Lamb Awards each year for the last seven years, Executive Chef Francisco Fioriti, an Argentinian-born gourmet savant creates his dishes to complement the beautiful surrounding landscape. Chef Fioriti serves up world-class cuisine that far exceeds its semi-remote location. With dolphins frolicking in the bay, native birds and “retreat from everything vibe,” this is a place one does not simply want to leave… a sentiment well reflected in the properties outstanding reviews. who says he creates his dishes to complement the beautiful surrounding landscape.
Also in the South Island, on the East Coast again a heli-hop or as at late 2017 a beautiful coastal drive from Picton is Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses where the mantra of fresh food is best. Here holiday-makers sleep 10 metres above the ground in lavish tree houses, each featuring a unique combination of wood, colours and finishes. Views include the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range and the surrounding gardens, where the on-site restaurant grows many of its vegetables and herbs of the lodge grounds also deer breeding farm. New menus are created daily using the best of local ingredients and the combination of fresh seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes allows guests to experience the surrounding region on a plate.
On the edge of the Able Tasman National Park is the breath taking Split Apple Retreat which is the definition of luxury wellness. Boasting two secluded beaches and private balconies for its luxury suites, Split Apple offers guests an exclusive menu by Chef Anne Pen Lee that promotes good health but doesn’t sacrifice flavour. The impressive gourmet offering is a result of a collaboration between Chef Pen and a wellness Doctor specializing in nutrition. Their menu highlights seafood, meat, fruit and colorful produce with a wholesome Asian twist.
Nearby is Stonefly Lodge offers world class fly fishing in a completely authentic setting and Edenhouse, the definition of Kiwi hospitality . Both properties epitomise the term ‘repeat guests,’ many of whom return time and time again travelling half the world to relish what cannot be repeated elsewhere.
On the fringes of Christchurch city is Otahuna Lodge, a magnificent restoration of New Zealand’s history. This season alone uncover more than 140 different varieties of organic fruits, mushrooms, nuts and vegetables to be grown at Otahuna from Sicilian Cauliflowers to Cape Gooseberries and everything in between. Amidst many other accolades Otahuna Lodge was recently recognised by one of the UK’s leading luxury travel agencies as one of the best restaurants in the world.
For a complete but complimentary contrast ‘over the hill’ by road or heli transfer is Annandale, where several original and architecturally contemporary oases are located on a working farm against the inland coastal waters of the Banks Peninsula. Serviced by the fresh produce of the extensive gardens and the farm itself, each luxurious accommodation sanctuary offers the indulgence of fresh Chef prepared gourmet meals and a daily changing menu.
New Zealand is well known for its rugged alpine terrains and for a luxurious tactile travel experience like no other is Minaret Station Alpine Lodge in the southern lakes region. Take a helicopter transfer from Annandale or Otahuna via a picnic lunch on the Liebig Dome adjacent to our highest peak, Mt. Cook or a convenient domestic flight into Queenstown where your personal helicopter pilot will greet you for the short transfer to Minaret Station. In a stunning alpine valley on a private high-country station there are four alpine chalets each with a private spa on the deck. Head Chef, Jeremy delivers to guests in the aptly named Mountain Kitchen locally grown venison, beef and lamb in an unpretentious casually luxurious environment. Take advantage of the opportunity to witness your guide dive for fresh crayfish and experience a barbeque in the heart of the southern alps.
The Luxury Lodges of New Zealand provides the ingredients for an exceptional gastronomic adventure now challenging the world’s most established foodie destinations. A portfolio of 32 exquisite and highly qualified full-service luxury lodges thru out New Zealand. For itinerary ideas, availability and reservations: www.lodgesofnz.co.nz email: firstname.lastname@example.org