South Island Award-Winning Lodges

The mountains, lakes and beaches of the South Island are even more memorable from within the luxurious embrace of a one-of-a-kind lodge.

Nelson Tasman
Split Apple Retreat, Nelson Tasman

Look for the Southern Cross in the sky while you toast the day’s adventures in front of a roaring outdoor fire or find inner serenity with meditation lessons at the edge of the sea. Southern lodges take every opportunity to glorify the landscape in the most remarkable way.

Blanket Bay, Southern Lakes
Getting there: 45 minutes from Queenstown Airport.
Most recent award: Voted #1 lodge in New Zealand and #6 in the world, Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report 2012.

With only 12 rooms and suites, Blanket Bay is perfectly proportioned to deliver the ultimate boutique lodge vacation. The quintessential experience here is your own 700ft2 suite with an open fire and vast outdoor balcony featuring unstoppable views of Lake Wakatipu and the jagged Humboldt Mountains. While some would argue that cuisine is a compelling reason to visit Blanket Bay, because every meal is nothing short of a masterpiece, the local landscape takes star billing. Possibly the most inspired activity choice is heli-fishing, which delivers full-strength aerial alpine scenery with the delicious possibility of wild salmon for dinner.

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Matakauri Lodge, Southern Lakes
Getting there: 45 minutes from Queenstown Airport.
Most recent award: 'Best Luxury Lodge', WISH Magazine, 2012

Of all Julian Robertson’s exquisite New Zealand lodge properties, Matakauri is the most romantic. With just 11 suites, each with massive picture windows, you can see why this is so popular with honeymooners. Wonderfully positioned on a knoll flanked by a pine forest, Matakauri Lodge gazes across glacier-carved Lake Wakatipu to a procession of awe-inspiring mountains. When you’re not toasting the scenery with a local pinot noir or sampling treatments in the day spa, you can take on Queenstown’s signature adventures – bungy jumping, jet boating, river rafting and heli-skiing. And if that sounds all too vigorous, there are wine trails, world-class golf courses and a tasty assortment of designer shops. 

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Split Apple Retreat, Nelson Tasman
Getting there: 45 minute drive from Nelson Airport.
Most recent award: Conde Nast Johansen Award for Excellence as the Best Destination Spa 2015

Split Apple is a unique wellness retreat steeped in serenity and ocean-scented beauty. Built right into a cliff, this hideaway comes face-to-face with the Tasman Sea, Here you can learn how to meditate, enjoy personalised aromatherapy massages and receive personalised health consultations with the resident doctor. Split Apple is also famous for exquisite food and wine – optimum nutrition with a focus on pleasure and the most delicious local ingredients. For time out from retreat life, the lodge is on the doorstep of the gorgeous Abel Tasman National Park, which includes New Zealand’s premier coastal hiking track. 

Edenhouse , Nelson Tasman
Getting there: 30 minute drive from Nelson Airport.
Most recent award: ‘One of the 101 Best Hotels of the World’, Tatler 2010 Travel Guide.

This elegant English-style country house is located on the edges of Nelson just 30 minutes from the walking and sea-kayaking adventures of Abel Tasman National Park.  With views over the beautiful Orinoco Valley, Edenhouse focuses on comfort and understated luxury for a maximum of six guests. The owners of the house, Peter and Bobbie Martin, offer you a uniquely ‘Kiwi’ five-star vacation – a little bit of everything that makes New Zealand wonderful. You can walk the Abel Tasman’s famous coastal track, spy on fur seals at the Tonga Island colony, fish for trout in pristine rivers and lakes, discover the local arts community, visit local vineyards and loop-the-loop in a Pitts Special stunt plane.

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Even more to explore

We’ve just introduced you to four of the South Island’s luxury lodges, but there are many more.

See our South Island luxury lodge directory >

See our North Island Award-Winning Lodges >

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