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Huka Falls Rd.
PO Box 95, Taupo
Central PlateauNorth Island
Named after the waterfall it stands near, this parkland estate epitomizes all that is wonderful about posh New Zealand lodges. Suites have their own little riverside gardens, vaulted timber ceilings, dressing rooms, and under-floor heating in the bathrooms. The best for privacy and luxury is the secluded four-bedroom Owner's Cottage. Every European royal, including Elizabeth II of England, has stayed here—plus Bill Gates, Michael Douglas, and Barbra Streisand. (Not together.)
Glenorchy Otago South Island
Just 12 rustic-luxe suites inhabit this totally secluded lodge on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, about 30 miles north of Queenstown. A big, outdoor heated pool with alpine views plus a spa and gym augment the many sports opportunities, and food here is, as with all top lodges, sublime. A good honeymoon omen: Blanket Bay is home to Paradise ducks, known for their habit of mating for life.
THE LODGE AT PARATIHO FARMS
545 Vaiwhero Rd.RD
2 Upper Moutere
Nelson South Island
You'll never know this 2,000-acre, six-suite haven owned by a Californian expat couple is a working sheep farm. You'll be too busy sitting round your log fire with fresh cookies and a cocktail, being pampered in the top spa, playing tennis and croquet, doing Pilates, or just soaking in the tub overlooking your private garden. The food here is so good, a (totally optional) cooking school was opened in 2005.
WHAREKAUHAU COUNTRY ESTATE
Western Lake Rd.
RD3 Featherston, Wairarapa
"ForryKoHo" (Place of Knowledge) is an 1840s 5,000-acre sheep station with forest, beach, river, lake, and the Martinborough wine region all in easy reach. So are an indoor pool, horses, a spa, quad bikes, skeet shooting, archery, ecotours…you get the picture. Your own cute, cream-painted cottage with four-poster bed, fireplace, dressing room, bar, and under-floor heating is the center of life, except when you visit the communal table—or a private dining room—in the Edwardian lodge.
This not-so-posh lodge is probably the most secluded one of all—the entire 2,100-acre island belongs only to Paruparu Lodge, plus the neighboring sheep farm. Built in 2000, the house may not be superluxe, but it is lovely, with typical NZ wooden cathedral ceilings, big windows, wraparound terrace, and three bedrooms to sample. For an extra $100 a day, the caretaker couple will cook and serve your meals.
SKY CITY GRAND HOTEL
Victoria and Federal Streets
Tel: 888-693-2489 (toll-free from U.S.)
This glamorous newcomer in the 1997 Sky City complex—which includes the 1,076-foot Sky Tower—was worked on by several notable Pacific Rim designers. They didn't do much for the room size, but the chic look, big windows, and sandblasted-glass bathroom walls, plus the hotel's excellent restaurant, make up for that.