54. Discover one of New Zealand’s most iconic retreats
Live up luxury in New Zealand with its architectural masterpieces in the wildest of locations and five-star retreats with serious eco credentials: here is No. 54 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
A stay at Huka Lodge is the stuff dreams are made of and bucket lists compiled from. It’s revered as one of the world’s great luxury lodges, and is certainly one of New Zealand’s grandest and oldest – poised proud on the banks of the surging Waikato River near Lake Taupō in the North Island/Te Ika-a-Māui and just upstream from the mighty Huka Falls.
Huka Lodge’s fabled history has humble beginnings that stretch back almost a century to 1924 when a fishermen’s camp of white canvas tents was pegged by the river famous for its trout-rich waters. It has since grown into a timeless estate set amid seven hectares of long-established gardens that is fit for royalty. Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II has stayed here, multiple times. Set up camp yourself in one of the 20 guest suites and two exclusive owners’ residences dotted along the banks. Light, bright and opening right up onto rolling green lawns and the bucolic sound of birdsong and burbling water, the aesthetic is opulent yet closely interwoven with nature.
Huka’s sumptuous main lodge is a hub for guests and dining here is an experience in itself; a daily-changing menu that heroes the country’s finest produce is complemented by prized vintages and local wines (housed in a cavernous underground wine cellar). Dine in the lodge’s restaurant or in one of its myriad private nooks hidden within the gardens, where you’ll also find high-hedged pathways and shaded groves plus a tennis court and croquet lawn for a spot of refined recreation en plein air.
Huka Lodge recently joined the portfolio of the Australian-owned Baillie Lodges (Longitude 131°, Capella Lodge), whose properties each share the same philosophy of experiential luxury attuned to their surrounds. A stay here is nothing short of iconic.
Experience some of the best freshwater fishing on the planet
Huka Lodge owes its very existence to the trout-rich waters of the Waikato River, and those who stay here today still take advantage of it as a world-class fishing spot. But while we’d highly recommend it, you don’t have to be a guest of this luxury lodge to experience some of the best freshwater fishing on the planet. Lake Taupō is an internationally renowned trout fishery, with gin-clear rivers and streams teeming with brown and rainbow trout making it an angler’s paradise all year round, whether that’s boat fishing in summer or the meditative pursuit of fly-fishing in winter.