7 of New Zealand's best glamping retreats
With a supremely beautiful landscape comprising rolling hillsides, soaring mountains and pristine coast, it’d be remiss to spend your entire holiday in New Zealand sleeping inside four walls.
If you wince at the thought of camping while still being a nature-lover at heart, glamping is your happy medium. The country is home to a plethora of glamping options, but here are a few of our favourites.
1. Waitomo Hilltop Glamping, Waitomo
Set on a 700-hectare farm, around three hours’ south of Auckland and a short drive from the famous Waitomo Caves, this 2017-built glamping site is the ultimate place to unplug among nature, without forgoing creature comforts.
Each insulated safari tent is beautifully styled and has a fully fitted bathroom with shower, queen-sized bed with goose down pillows and doona, and incredible views of the surrounding countryside. The property is also home to sheep and cows, as well as wild deer, goats, rabbits and a number of bird species.
There’s a communal kitchenette and outdoor pizza oven for cooking – with complimentary organic eggs from the farm and homemade bread – and two clawfoot baths to soak up the view as you soak. Massage is also available in your tent.
2. Slipper Island, off the Coromandel Peninsula
The privately owned 224-hectare Slipper Island is a unique place to stay on the North Island, located three kilometres off the Coromandel Peninsula and accessed via a water taxi. The island is home to a working sheep and cow farm, alpacas and peacocks, and a resort that features a number of accommodation options, including luxury safari tents.
With an ensuite, king-sized bed and deck with barbecue, these tents have incredible views out to the distant Coromandel Ranges and the ocean, which is just a stone’s throw away. Guests can explore the island’s volcanic landscape, tranquil bays and empty beaches via a number of walks, go snorkelling or kayaking in the pristine waters off nearby shipwrecks, hire an ATV, or join a fishing tour.
3. Castaways Resort, Karioitahi Beach
Since the ’90s, Castaways Resort, located just 70 kilometres from Auckland, has long been a favourite stop for travellers. Overlooking Karioitahi Beach, the most recent addition to this coastal resort and adventure activity hub was its glamping site for couples, which has off-the-grid tents that feature a king-sized bed, ensuite, kitchen, heating, and outdoor bath with views of the sea or the bush (depending on which tent you book).
There are packages available that include cook-your-own gourmet dinner and breakfast food, a bottle of wine and sweet treats. There are also a number of activities on the property including clay shooting, four-wheel-driving and archery, as well as a day spa and restaurant, while the black-sand beach below has rockpools and caves to explore.
4. Poronui Lodge, Taupo
Long regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier sporting lodges, the luxurious Poronui Lodge is a coveted destination for luxe lovers and nature lovers alike.
Nestled in the Taharua Valley on the banks of the Mohaka River, the lodge’s two safari tents feature plush bedding and ensuites with a separate self-catered dining space.
Glamping guests have access to The Stables, an on-property complex with a billiards table, gym, sauna and massage rooms, and can also partake in the adventurous activities available such as fly fishing, equestrian adventures, hiking, wildlife photography, and mountain biking.
5. Valley Views, Waitaki Valley
Resembling something from outer space, Valley Views is an off-grid lodge located midway between Queenstown and Christchurch, and home to five cosy geodesic tents that have incredible views of the surrounding hillside and forest.
The tents have super-king sized beds and balconies to take in the scenery, and a few even have log fires to keep toasty in winter. There is a main lodge with kitchen, bathroom and dining facilities, as well as a firepit for enjoying marshmallows under the stars. In the forest you’ll find four exquisite outdoor baths, and guests can feed the alpacas, go horse riding, and enjoy hiking around the farm.
There’s a heap of activities on offer in the nearby area: from salmon and trout fishing and jetboating on the Waitaki River, to helicopter flights and a number of cycling tracks.
6. Camp Kekerengu, Kaikoura Coast
Set on a 1100-ha sheep and cattle farm, three hours’ north of Christchurch, Camp Kekerengu offers its guests the best of both worlds.
The coastal farm comprises landscapes with undulating hills, craggy cliffs and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. It is the ideal place to switch off and be at one with nature, with simple activities such as bike riding, farm walks, card games and badminton available. However, if you want to explore the area, there’s great mountain bike riding, surf beaches and river activities available nearby.
This exclusive camp is only ever used by one group at a time and can sleep up to 10 people in three comfy tents, two of which have a wood-burning stove. There is also a communal kitchen and lounging area, as well as a bathroom.
7. Luxury pod, Waipara Valley
Forget canvas: this unique pod has glass floors, walls and a ceiling to truly take advantage of the exquisite location all day long and provide a comfortable spot to enjoy stargazing at night.
Only a short drive from Christchurch, this single freestanding pod is set within a sprawling vineyard in the Waipara Valley, one of the country’s premier wine regions and a foodie’s paradise with a plethora of local producers.
Inside, the pod is heated, has a luxurious queen bed and bathroom; outside, there is a deck with barbecue for cooking. If you prefer not to bring your own food, dinner and breakfast food can be pre-ordered, with a focus on local produce, of course.