Contemporary luxury and supreme privacy are just the beginning of the story at The Landing Residences – one of New Zealand’s most exclusive hideaways.
In a special place where one nation once opened its arms to another, The Landing Residences is one of New Zealand’s most storied hideaways - a secluded high-end destination with a unique sense of place that goes back to the earliest days of this nation.
An extraordinary feature of this land is that it is the exact spot where the New Zealand of today began. It is the landing place for both early Māori settlers and the very first missionary Europeans, making it one of New Zealand's most significant sites.
Located at the tip of the Purerua Peninsula - north of Auckland and at the northern head of the Bay of Islands - this land was first inhabited by Maori several hundred years ago.
It was on this same coastal property that the Maori and Europeans first met, exchanged goods, language and culture to create a new nation, making it one of New Zealand’s most historically significant sites.
It was also home to New Zealand’s first grape vines. Planted by Reverend Samuel James Marsden in 1819 after the missionary recognised the potential of the land’s clay-rich soil and long sunshine hours, Northland formed the foundation for what is now a successful wine industry.
The Landing today
Today, The Landing has been regenerated as a unique heritage and conservation property, home to a handful of luxury residences, farmland and a boutique vineyard.
Just like the early arrivals, modern day visitors will be dazzled by views of a sparkling sea, punctuated with islands, pristine sandy beaches and lush green forest. Today they will also find four magnificently designed residences holding court over the panoramas that dominate this private coastal paradise.
The owners say they have created The Landing for guests like themselves - people who have travelled the world, beheld its most beautiful vistas, savoured its most sumptuous flavours and know the true value of luxury and privacy.
To create their personal vision, they chose 1000 coastal acres bordered by six private beaches, in the calm secluded waters of the Bay of Islands, one of the most beautiful and unspoilt corners of New Zealand - and the world.
While The Landing’s guests can enjoy all that the Bay of Islands offers on their ocean doorstep – beaches, sailing, wildlife, fishing, walking, voyages of discovery, vineyards and historic places – the vast private acreage has also been meticulously laid out to accommodate a broader experience in a natural playground.
The intention is to ensure that each guest’s stay can be anything they want it to be, whether that’s a craving for some serious indulgence and pampering, non-stop action and adventure, or simply the quest for complete privacy, peace and tranquillity.
The newest residence in the group of four is the Vineyard Villa which opened in late 2015. A sanctuary tucked right in amongst established grapevines, the house sleeps six in two king bedrooms and a master suite.
“Built from opposing delights,” according to designer Nat Cheshire of award-winning Cheshire Architects, the villa is an open, inviting space, perfect for family gatherings, work retreats or weekends away with friends. Taking advantage of expansive views over The Landing’s wetland valley and into Wairoa Bay, the home is set against hills, guarded from the elements.
It has three separate entertaining areas. At the front of the house, a covered terrace provides year-round outdoor dining with a sheltered courtyard to the west. Glass walls slide away behind stonework to transform the entire pavilion into an outdoor room.
Guests can brew a morning coffee in the kitchen and feel as if they’re outside in the fresh coastal air and warm sun. In the evening, decant the syrah, light the fire and enjoy great company as the sun sets over the vines while taking in the views across the wetland valley and out to sea.
The setting for the villa, The Landing vineyard, is blessed with some of the best grape growing land in the region and provides award winning wines - predominantly Chardonnay, syrah or rosé - bottled under the exclusive Landing label.
The property features a fully equipped state-of-the-art kitchen, although guests don’t have to so much as open a cupboard if they’d rather be hosted by their own personal chef who will custom-design and prepare wonderful meals to suit personal tastes.
Returning home after a day exploring this fascinating place is when the prospect of a gourmet meal by a fabulous chef becomes the most tempting.
One of the great pleasures of a stay at The Landing is the exceptional food and wine experience. There are no set menus, fixed meal times or designated dining areas. Instead the personal chef will tailor every aspect of every meal around what you’d like to eat, when and how, using the best seasonal fresh ingredients from a region that is recognised for its abundant fertile countryside.
There’s also the opportunity for a complete foodie experience with experts to guide you through tours of the kitchen gardens, orchards and farm, and a meeting with The Landing’s winemaker in the tasting room.
Of course you can just hang around your fabulous residence and indulge in a health spa treatment and massage or rejuvenate in the sports and gym facilities set in their own garden, with maybe a game of tennis after lunch.
The Landing is a sanctuary you can make your own, a place for family and a gateway to some of the world’s finest outdoor leisure experiences. There is just one obstacle for guests and that’s deciding which of the four stunning properties to choose from.
The Vineyard Villa opened in December 2015 and is open for bookings year round – prices start at NZ$2700 per night.
The Bay of Islands' towns of Kerikeri and Paihia are about 3.5 hours’ drive from central Auckland, and an hour north of Whangarei. Kerikeri is serviced by the Bay of Islands Airport, and flights from Auckland take about 30 minutes. The Landing is a 45 minute helicopter flight from Auckland.