Making a discreet, albeit sophisticated entrance on the global food scene over the last decade the Luxury Lodges of New Zealand are now well established on the hot list of gourmet destinations to savour.
Whilst our wine may be the more globally reknown, it is the cuisine has proven itself a target component in the itinerary of experiential, well travelled and discerning guests.
New Zealand’s luxury lodges and their world class Chefs are both international award winners in the delivery of exceptional hospitality and who have long foreseen the importance to guests of world class dining experiences.
If you are a passionate foodie check out some of these very best dining experiences in Australasia whether you are a visitor or as a local be surprised and delighted with what is available in our own backyard!
Beginning in the sub tropical Far North, where citrus grows year round, dedicate a long weekend to the ultimate super yacht experience on land at Helena Bay Lodge commanding three kilometres of pristine coastline and private beaches. Helena Bay Lodge, where exclusive accommodation hosting a maximum of five individual couples combines with scenery, adventurous activities and fine dining.
Helicopter flights, diving and snorkelling in a marine sanctuary, tennis and ocean fishing are just some of the activities on offer, set against a breath taking natural panorama of blue skies and blonde sand.
New Zealand has been given a special culinary treat in the import by Helena Bay of Head Chef Michele Martino of world famous Michelin starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of Southern Italy. Offering a superb range of Mediterranean gastronomy with the estate-to-plate mantra Chef Martino is on hand to cater to guests whenever they desire.
Further north still is the exceptional Lodge at Kauri Cliffs with its health spa, spectacular golf course, pink sand beach for that perfect gourmet picnic and the recently opened 3 x four bedroom The Residence's perfect family friendly accommodation.
British born and trained Executive Chef Barry Firth has been wowing Robertson Lodges’ guests with his fresh approach to New Zealand cuisine since 2008. Conde Nast said of Barry’s food at Kauri Cliffs, “Executive Chef Barry Frith creates a new a la carte menu each night - expect a variety of cuisines, including European and Pacific Rim-inspired dishes. Better yet, enjoy locally sourced ingredients on an oceanfront veranda, at a fireside table within the main dining room, or even on one of the property’s three private beaches in Matauri Bay”.
The latest luxury lodge to join the collection and only 90 minutes north of Auckland, Te Arai Lodge offers a wellness, sustainable twist on their cuisine with Head Chef Nicola Moores. Passionate about the garden-to-table philosophy Nicola has written several recipe books and has worked in the kitchens and permaculture gardens of some of the world’s top wellness retreats. A peek into Nicola's pantry will see a dried herbs, teas, preserves and oils carefully cultivated from the gardens of Te Arai, a vision before construction on this stunning luxury and completely off the grid retreat commenced.
Huka Lodge, the grand-daddy of luxury lodges in New Zealand and the true scene setter of en pointe hospitality welcomes guests to stay just for the sole purpose of experiencing the gastronomy of Executive Chef Paul Froggatt.
Huka Lodge was revealed in July 2017 as Relais & Chateaux’s only Les Grandes Tables du Monde property in New Zealand. Make it a must do to experience Huka Lodge out of season and reserve a table at the coveted Pure Extravagance Weekend on the 14th 15th August 2020. Now in its third incarnation curated by Executive Chef, Paul Froggatt, his annual event draws together a fabulous selection of boutique producers and importers to present this decadent gourmet experience for discerning foodies.
For those continuing a true gourmet itinerary, the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand offers up the understated class of Breckenridge Lodge, where Chef and Owner Malcolm Redmond treats guests to a daily changing menu dictated by his seasonal organic gardens. A dining room extending over the vineyard is a perfect setting to taste Malcom’s selection of handpicked wines for which the region is renown internationally. Make sure your dates coincide with Malcolm's availability to take you on a private foraging tour not only of his gardens but in the Hawkes Bay region culminating in cooking lesson.
Next on the drive south or a short heli hop over the hill from Wellington is a true food and wine match in the Relais & Chateaux marque’d Wharekauhau Estate. Wharekauhau began life as a sheep station in the 1840s, and it remains a working sheep station to this day - surely the grandest in New Zealand. Multi award winning charismatic Chef Mark Soper engages with guests creating hearty cuisine embracing the farm offerings, exceptional seafood and the results of his foraging in the countryside.
The scene is set upon arrival in one of 16 sumptious suites with the discovery of hand pressed shortbread, locally Lighthouse Gin and a fresh lemon. Family friendly Wharekauhau has an infinite list of genuine farm and beach activities, a year-round swimming pool and the recently opened Hauora Spa. To experience it all book their second annual Pinot Noir Master Class weekend on the 24th & 25th July 2020. You will be able to leave with 12 custom blend magnums of Pinot Noir as a reminder of ’that time you were a winemaker!'
The Marlborough Lodge on the fringes of Blenheim and in the heart of 'wine growing' country. This historic and meticulously restored former nuns Convent is now a luxurious lodge and home to Harvest Restaurant, where they specialise in showcasing Marlborough's gourmet produce.
A beautiful coastal drive from Marlborough is eco-retreat Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses where the mantra of fresh food is best. Here guests sleep 10 metres above the ground in lavish tree houses and Executive Chef Fiona Read & her team take full advantage of the seasons to ensure that the freshest of ingredients are available for their daily changing menu. Fiona sources produce from as close to home as possible – this forms part of the philosophy of respect and allows guests to experience the surrounding region on a plate.
Whatever is at its best, is what comes out of Fiona's kitchen – this could be from the lodge’s own gardens, olive grove and free-range chickens; or a local’s vegetable patch; a fisherman, farmer or foraged from the coast or mountains. If it’s fresh, delicious and full of flavour it forms the basis of the dish.
Fortunate guests of the newly opened Falcon Brae at Stonefly Lodge have been enjoying the cuisine of a very humble Kiwi born and bred Chef Mark McMeeken. With a notable career honed is culinary skills in some of the world’s most highly regarded restaurant working under some of America’s leading culinary authorities these include Chef Thomas Keller’s Per Se, Chef Daniel Boulud in Café Boulud, Palm Beach and also in Marcus (formerly known as Petrus) in the famed Berkeley Hotel in London, England – under Marcus Wareing and Gordon Ramsay.
Michael has found his place at Stonefly Lodge and Villa, he heads up a small, talented kitchen team to provide a unique culinary experience. His approach to food consists of multiple layers. “We use the best quality, local, sustainable produce, including utilising our on site gardens, fruit and nut trees, and beehives, as well as sourcing ingredients from the surrounding native and pine forests, with the Motueka river right on their doorstep!
On the fringes of Christchurch city is Otahuna Lodge, a magnificent restoration of New Zealand’s history. This season alone uncover more than 140 different varieties of organic fruits, mushrooms, nuts and vegetables to be grown at Otahuna from Sicilian Cauliflowers to Cape Gooseberries and everything in between. Amidst many other accolades Otahuna Lodge was recently recognised by one of the UK’s leading luxury travel agencies as one of the best restaurants in the world. Celebrating 125yrs in 2020, check out their gourmet themed events this Autumn beginning with a winemakers dinner in May through to their very own Restaurant Month in June.
New Zealand is well known for its rugged alpine terrains and for a luxurious tactile travel experience like no other is Minaret Station Alpine Lodge in the southern lakes region. Accessible by helicopter only in a stunning alpine valley on a private high-country station there are four alpine chalets each with a private spa on the deck. Another Kiwi, Head Chef Alastair Wilson delivers to guests in the aptly named Mountain Kitchen locally grown venison, beef and lamb in an unpretentious casually luxurious environment.
For the gourmet experience of a life time forage by helicopter beginning with the Te Mana lamb grown on this working high country station to witness your guide dive for fresh crayfish on the wild west coast. Combine with venison and a beautiful bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir for an unforgettable barbeque in the heart of the southern alps.
During a career spanning 25 years, executive Chef Mark Sycamore of Blanket Bay has gained experience in a wide range of establishments from traditional English pubs, up market cafes to famed restaurants such as Gary Danko and Gordon Ramsay’s.
Cocktails and canapes introduce the dining experience each evening. Summer and Autumns long warm evenings lend themselves to dining out on the Grand Terrace, framed by spectacular Mountain and Lake views, whilst the Dining Room with crackling open fire proves popular when cool.
Intimate dining spaces including the Wine Cave, Tasting Room and Outside Fireplace are superb for the romantic.
In the words of a guest
"Exceptional by all standards. My husband and I were enthralled by the location, accommodations and extraordinary staff. We arrived in a sunny November day where we greeted by friendly warm staff who showed us to a sumptuous suite. Dining....amazing. If you can stay here, you must!"
To book one or more of these gastronomic experiences and others, reserve directly online, contact your preferred Travel Adviser OR
- Take advantage of the special interest gourmet themed events on offer; travel outside of season and book a package that includes one of properties renown cuisine events.
- Purchase a gift voucher and redeem for any dining or overnight stay at a Luxury Lodge of New Zealand
- Click for a two week gastronomic tour of New Zealand's Luxury Lodges
- More - Meet the Chefs of the Luxury Lodges of New Zealand
- Diary - Luxury Lodges of New Zealand Gourmet Month, October 2020
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