Written by Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan
Photography by Tourism New Zealand
New Zealand is home to two wellness retreats set in Liam-Hemsworth-style, take-your-breath-away, stunning landscapes: Aro-ha and Split Apple Retreat.
So if iso has caused you to put on a few extra kilos or meant a break in your exercise routine, this could be the perfect way to get some motivation. The trans tourism bubble is thought to become a reality within the next four months, so what a way to spend spring – hiking in snow-capped mountains followed by a skilfully executed massage and a dip in the hot tub.
Glenorchy is the most beautiful place I have ever visited, and I’m a beach kind of gal. Think snow-capped mountains, clear lakes, lush vegetation and lack of humans.
While I’m not enamoured with an early morning, it is a must at Aro-ha. I loved being awoken by a sing-song bell and traipsing down to vegan, gluten-free food that was served in the most innovative ways imagined. My favourite was the dehydrated wraps made from vegetables. (I even purchased a dehydrator when I returned home because I was so inspired by these tasty bread substitutes.)
The hikes can be tough if you’re not super fit, but I managed them because you can go at your own pace. There’s always a staff member to keep you company at the back or front of the line.
Then there’s the scenery that could just load any page with clichés – I’ll save you from them. The massages – they are included – an hour each day. Heaven! Yoga. Tibetan Bells. Cooking classes. The list goes on. If I could, I’d move in. I’ll stop now!
Just the facts: five- to seven-day retreats on 21 acres of sub-alpine terrain with just 20 rooms located 40 minutes from Queenstown.
Split Apple Retreat has its own fusion vibe apparent from the accommodation through to the tasty Asian dishes. The owners are Lee Nelson, a retired doctor with interest in nutrition, and his wife Pen, a chef renowned for her gourmet Asian–Mediterranean fusion cuisine.
New Zealand is a country of breathtaking views; you’d be hard-pressed to find a region that doesn’t make your jaw drop.
Split Apple’s views tick the boxes with each suite offering views over the glittering Tasman Sea and the yellow sands of Able Tasman National Park.
The Japanese spa offers a Japanese rose garden, reflection benches amongst the foliage and a yoga hut. The saltwater infinity pool is perfect for that Insta shot or to actually swim in, and there’s a sauna that heats to a lower temperature than normal in order for the pores to fully open and cleanse.
Activities include yoga, meditation, a Japanese Onsen hot bath and private beach access. Horse riding, water sports and walking trails are all accessible from the retreat with excursions by chartered boat or helicopter also on offer.
If you’ve missed out on Aro-ha and Split Apple, there are a selection of luxury lodges that offer high-end accommodation, proximity to hiking trails or an organised guide along with a wellness spa.
Kinloch Manor is an uber-luxury lodge set on 254 hectares above the shores of Lake Taupo.
Who doesn’t love a whiskey and champagne bar after a round of golf on New Zealand’s only Jack Nicklaus Signature 18-hole course? If hiking and cycling are more your thing, there are plenty of trails for you to discover.
There are 18 junior suites and luxurious one- and two-bedroom villas, with clean-burning fireplaces, outdoor furnished balconies with views to Lake Taupo.
Solitaire Lodge Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s premier luxury lodges, enjoys views over Lake Tarawera, with a lush natural bush and volcanic landscape backdrop.
A must is a visit to the Tarawera Thermal Springs to soak in the waters that rise gently through the lake bed as the morning sun filters through the bush.
There are so many activities to enjoy close by from the lake access, private bays, deep-water swimming and shoreline trails through to native bush to explore on foot.
From the Lodge’s jetty, you have a choice of boating options including motorised dinghies and kayaks. Paddle the protected waters of the Otumutu Lagoon, home to ancient Maori sites. See black swans gliding by in the protected waters as well as rare native birdlife. Use of lodge dinghies and kayaks are included in your stay.
Found in the Bay of Islands region and set on over 6000 acres near Matauri Bay, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is a once-in-a-lifetime must-stay. The lodge is a grand colonial building with stunning living and dining rooms and covered verandahs, while the accommodation is in eleven outlying cottages each with two guest suites set among native New Zealand forest. Close by is the decadent spa, gym, tennis courts and swimming pools.
Visit the Tourism New Zealand website for more information on activities and accommodation, and ask your personal travel manager to organise you a tailor-made itinerary in the land of luxury.