Hotel review: The Lindis, New Zealand
The Lindis is an incredibly remote yet refined high country lodging experience in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island.
Appropriately named after the picturesque alpine roadway, the Lindis Pass, you pass through when driving north from Queenstown, the lodge can be found deep in the heart of the Ahuriri Valley on a 240-hectare sheep and cattle station, Ben Avon.
It is this dramatic setting that makes it the perfect place to enjoy complete stillness.
Where: 1490 Birchwood Road, Ahuriri Valley New Zealand.
Contact: +64 3 976 1589
The sheep are merino (used for their wool, not their meat) and hundreds, if not thousands (4500 live on the station), play host as you drive the 15-kilometre dirt road into the property before reaching the dramatic iron gates that guide you to the hotel.
Taking two years to build, a design of wood, glass and steel, blends seamlessly into the valley with its roofline mimicking the natural undulations of the surrounding mountainscape.
With some of the darkest and clearest skies in the world, stargazing at The Lindis is extraordinary. Here, you can choose to do everything or nothing at all. With an impressive line-up of activities, including fly fishing on one of the world’s best stretches of water for doing so (listed as top five in the world), you won’t be bored (unless of course you want to be).
Horse riding, hiking, and e-biking through the valley and into the alpine mountains is also on offer. And then of course there is the hot tub, sitting alone in the middle of the valley, with nothing or no one else around, this is one of the best places for a soak I have ever seen. The Lindis is currently working on some more accommodation that will be rolled out later in 2019 – individual glass pods, buried deep in the mountains. They will surely be incredible; definitely a reason to return again soon.
With only five suites at The Lindis, each with its own exceptional view out over the Ahuriri Valley, the accommodation experience is an intimate one. Choose between two Master Suites, and three Lodge Suites.
The Master Suites command a larger and more private space at either end of the building, and are definitely worth the extra splurge. With a private sitting area, both indoors and outdoors, a large bath tub, and a double-sided gas fire place – these suites offer both luxury and privacy, and the perfect platform from which to enjoy the quiet and calm of the valley. The mini bar, full of local drinks and snacks, is complimentary during your stay.
The food and wine
Head chef Cesare Stella and sous chef Aurelio Stella (Cesare’s son) hail from Italy, but now call New Zealand home. With light streaming into the Great Hall, from where all dining takes place, this is a lovely space to enjoy their daily-changing menu which showcases local and seasonal produce from their very own kitchen garden, as well as their Italian heritage.
Cesare kindly took us on a tour of his garden one sunny morning; his passion for quality produce was inspiring. New Zealand wines are paired with the meals each evening, and hand-selected world class wines are available for purchase from an impressive cellar.
The property is situated on one of the best stretches of water for fly fishing in the world, the internationally renowned Ahuriri River. The season runs from November to April, so if you are lucky to be staying at The Lindis over that period you can wander down to the river, running right in front of the lodge, to give it a shot yourself.
Guests will also be able to watch local anglers from the lodge as they fish for trout over the summer months. Another highly recommended activity is the gliding experience. With one of the world’s best soaring environments right on their doorstep, the dramatic landscape is best enjoyed from the air.
Flights around nearby Mt Cook or even Milford Sound are also possible. We loved taking out The Lindis’s e-bikes (sounds lazy I know!) to better explore the valley. Andy, the activities manager, dropped us off at the end of Birchwood Road, about 22 kilometres from the lodge, and we then rode back from there – a stunning ride along the braided river. Horse trekking is also possible with 16 horses in The Lindis’s stable.
Taking in the high country farm land, through native New Zealand beech forest and sub alpine herb fields, this is another spectacular way to enjoy Ben Avon station and the surrounding Ahuriri Valley. Lastly, don’t leave without having a soak in the spectacular wooden hot tub which sits happily on its own in the middle of the valley. It is very beautiful here.
The IT Verdict
The ultimate getaway for a remote and pristine wilderness experience.
We rated: The architecture; the comfortable beds; the delicious and seasonal Italian-inspired cuisine; the hot tub; the biking; and the stars.
We’d change: We would remove the TVs, who needs a television when you have the valley to look at by day, and the stars to look at by night?
Notes: Rooms start from $2000 per night, and inclusive of tax, breakfast, dinner. We recommend splurging a little bit more and booking one of the Master Suites.
Remember: It pays to be aware of the remote nature of this experience. The Lindis strongly recommends taking out comprehensive travel insurance prior to your stay. There is no mobile phone reception, but wi-fi is of course provided.