For lovers of life's natural pleasures, New Zealand's pure beauty and wide open spaces are alive with romance.
When there's only two in the picture and you want to keep it that way, New Zealand offers a myriad of heavenly love nests tucked away from the crowds and designed with star struck lovers in mind. And you don't have to be a millionaire to take your dream romantic break.
Lovers of the great outdoors may find their sweet love nest under canvas in a plush lakeside glamping site, snuggled up in a glass cocoon made for two, in an eco B&B on a dramatic coastal perch, or in cosseted luxury at an exclusive coastal escape in a private bay.
With Valentine's Day almost upon us, here's a snapshot of some of New Zealand's newest and best kept secret hideaways and love nests so you can pick your own level of comfort, luxury or budget.
Te Rata Bay Glamping – Lake Tarawera, Rotorua
Glamping – or glamorous camping – is definitely trending and the last two summers have seen a surge of gorgeous new glamping sites open up across New Zealand. Among this summer’s new destinations are Te Rata Bay (beside Lake Tarawera in the North Island) and Wilding Pines (near Lake Wanaka in the South Island) – both perfect for a memorable romantic tented sojourn.
It’s hard to believe that tranquil Lake Tarawera and sacred Mt Tarawera were once the scene of the devastating volcanic eruption that buried the Pink and White Terraces, known back in the 19th century as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’. These days it’s a popular outdoors conservation area for hiking the Tarawera Trail, fishing and boating, and the latest option of staying over at Te Rata Bay Glamping Site.
Take the boat across Lake Tarawera to a private lakeside location, surrounded by native bush and spectacular views of the mountain. Te Rata is a special place to unwind, switch off and reconnect with each other, and the tented accommodation reflects a rich local Maori culture and history. Watch the sun rising over the sparkling water or setting on the mountain, relax in the natural hot pool under the stars or just snuggle into the luxurious, queen bed with pure cotton sheets, dreamy pillows and feather quilt.
Air New Zealand offers regular flights to Rotorua from Auckland and other New Zealand regional airports. Lake Tarawera is a 20-minute scenic drive from Rotorua and the accommodation package includes the 20-minute return water taxi access. Te Rata Bay Glamping is open 1 November – 30 April. NZ$295 per night (minimum two-night stay). Hike the Tarawera Trail and visit nearby Te Wairoa Buried Village.
Explore Life Glamping at Wilding Pines – Wanaka
New on the block, the rustic glamping sites at Wilding Pines and Mt Gold – in the hills above Lake Wanaka – come with knock-out views, a down-to-earth setting and luxurious accommodation. They’re secluded but easy to get to – by car, mountain bike or kayak across the lake.
Wilding Pines is in an idyllic hillside setting nestled in a sheltering grove of pines with views across Lake Wanaka to Mt Gold. You can see for miles, but the world can’t spot you.
The spacious and sumptuously attired canvas tent is mounted on a platform and decorated with soft colours, plush sheepskin rugs, cushions and mink throws, antique furniture and contemporary touches. There’s a comfy queen bed dressed in quality linen and, as dusk moves in, fairy lights, lanterns and solar lights add to the romantic ambiance. A flush toilet, hot shower, hammocks and bean bags, complete the picture. Sit back and relax – you will see rabbits but New Zealand has absolutely no dangerous animals to spoil the experience.
Air New Zealand offers regular flights to Queenstown from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Lake Wanaka is a one hour scenic drive from Queenstown. Explore Life Glamping is open 1 November – 30 April. NZ$250 per night (minimum two-night stay). There are optional extras for catering and guided cycling and kayaking packages. Wanaka is famed for its many outdoor adventure pursuits. Take the Eco Wanaka boat tour to Mou Waho Island or go wine tasting at picturesque Rippon Vineyard.
PurePods – Canterbury
For an exceptional, at-one-with-nature experience, check into your PurePod in Paradise. In this beautiful private landscape you can bid farewell to the world and immerse yourselves in nature. Your only companions on this unforgettable romantic break will be birds in the trees and stars in the sky above.
Found nowhere else in the world, PurePod accommodation is a first-of-its-kind glass structure made for two. The modular build, with surround glass floor, sliding walls and roof, is styled for luxurious off-the-grid comfort (queen bed with crisp linen, fabulous shower and flush toilet, compact kitchen and bbq, outdoor chairs).
The first all-glass unit, nestled in a secluded and private situation has only been open for six months and the second two, each in a different location, are just open. Privacy is paramount to this product so you won’t find a signpost on the road but the units are easily accessed by those in the know – just beyond Christchurch in the foothills of Banks Peninsula, or further north, in the Seaward Kaikouras above the Pacific Ocean.
There are regular flights to Christchurch from Auckland and most New Zealand regional airports. Banks Peninsula PurePod is an hour by road from Christchurch, while Kaikoura is 2.5 hours by car. When you book you will receive instructions on how to find your secret slice of paradise. For couples only, a one-night stay is NZ$500 which includes a picnic platter, plus you can preorder a dinner and breakfast food package (for one or two days) made from fresh local ingredients. Cycle the gentle Little River Trail or go to sea with Whale Watch Kaikoura.
Kokohuia Lodge – Hokianga, Far North
For a perfect romantic tryst, Kokohuia Lodge is a B&B and one of New Zealand’s prettiest eco-luxury retreats. Perched high above the magnificent Hokianga Harbour in the sub-tropical Northland region, Kokohuia is as exclusive as it gets, providing a secluded retreat for just one couple at a time.
Architecturally designed in accordance with sustainable principles, Kokohuia takes its inspiration from a leaf lying gently on the ground. From your bed, you can feast your eyes on the dramatic seascape and distant, soaring sand dunes. Sophisticated and private, the lodge provides romantic memories you’ll cherish forever, of being lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea. Proud to be off-grid, the owners generate all their own power and hot water, while the surrounding hectare of native bush hosts a wealth of bird life, alongside organically managed orchards and gardens.
Three-and-a-half hours’ drive from Auckland, Hokianga offers a warm welcome all year round. Choose to meander along the seashore, visit ancient kauri forests, immerse yourself in Maori and European culture and history, ride the sand dunes or just soak in the bath. Yoga, meditation and massage sessions are also available. From $295 - $320 per night. Take a Footprints Waipoua guided tour of the ancient Waipoua Forest to see some of the largest remaining kauri trees in the world.
Seascape at Annandale – Banks Peninsula, Christchurch
Seascape – an ultra-modern luxury retreat in a private seaside setting – sets a new standard in utterly romantic getaways. Constructed in glass, stone and turf to blend into the wild coastal landscape, this intimate award-winning villa has been unashamedly designed and furnished for romance. With waves lapping at the doorstep and an unimpeded view of the southern night sky from the secluded bay, the views are best enjoyed from the outdoor spa and fireplace.
The jewel in the crown of the newly opened Annandale Farm Escape & Luxury Villa collection, Seascape is located on Banks Peninsula in New Zealand’s South Island. The collection – which was named as the world’s leading experiential luxury property at the 2015 World Travel Awards – includes the original Annandale Homestead, the restored Shepherd’s Cottage and seaside Scrubby Bay with outstanding accommodation for family groups.
Annandale gives guests an authentic New Zealand experience on a 4000-acre working farm with a rich choice of outdoor activities, heritage, wildlife and friendly locals. A private chef is available for guests who want to enjoy fine cuisine from the best local produce.
There are regular flights to Christchurch from Auckland and most New Zealand regional airports. Annandale is located at Pigeon Bay, on the northern edge of Banks Peninsula, an hour by road or a 12-minute heli flight from Christchurch International Airport. There are many activities available on site including nature cruising, kayaking, mountain biking, scenic heli-trips and much more. NZ$2595 - $3395 per night (minimum two night stay). Visit nearby Akaroa and go swimming with dolphins with Black Cat Cruises.