Luxury homes in New Zealand’s most idyllic locales give the rich and famous a slice of Antipodean heaven.
From Katy Perry to Lady Gaga, some the world’s most famous people chill out at New Zealand’s most luxurious (and best-hidden) holiday homes. It seems there's a rising tide of private villas on offer and, as the Instagram celebrity holiday snaps show, New Zealand's a top pick for those private luxe holidays. We peek behind the security gates to see how to vacation in style.
Pop Star’s southern paradise
Justin Bieber and Katy Perry have both taken time out from their schedules to soak up the southern splendour of Queenstown at Lodge at The Hills. Located in The Hills golf course, and owned by Kiwi jewellery king Sir Michael Hill, this spot is worthy of such attention. The six-suite estate includes an art studio, music and media room and wine cellar dining room. It also boasts a heated infinity pool, spa pool, sauna private golf course and outdoor fireplace. Sound good? It should – the high-season rate is NZ$32,250 a night.
Queenstown is a busy spot, so if you’re a celeb wanting to avoid the craziest times of year, it’s best to visit mid-March to late-November.
The Hills is located near Arrowtown, a former gold-mining village on the Arrow River. It’s the perfect spot for walking, cycling or winter sports – and gold panning (although you probably don’t need gold if you can afford The Hills). Take a limo from Queenstown Airport.
This private island / nature reserve in the Bay of Islands is the perfect escape for anyone with a bit of time (and money) on their hands. Kauri Cove is a beachfront house on Moturua Island designed by award-winning New Zealand architect Pete Bossley. Featuring a modest four bedrooms, and a kitchen / living space that spills out over an emerald lawn, the property is packed with added extras including a helicopter hangar and heli-pad, spa pool, private garden and (by arrangement) a private chef. Starting rate is NZ$16,500 a night.
Moturua Island is accessible either by helicopter or boat transfer from Paihia
Bay of Islands – 144 of them – is three hours north of Auckland and a hotspot for divers and boaties. Accessible by boat from Paihia, historic Russell was New Zealand’s first seaport and European settlement. Summer is best weather-wise; February – mid-April is a good bet for less people.
From Russia, with love
In Russia dachas are modest holiday homes outside cities. The Dacha in Wanaka is a slightly different proposition: a luxury lodge with panoramic views over craggy alpine peaks and glacial valleys. Features of the lodge include 4.8m vaulted ceilings, a schist-clad fireplace and an expansive outdoor area with 180-degree views of Lake Wanaka. You can also enjoy the jet-massage spa, international art collection and heated swimming pool (in summer). A steal at just NZ$7500 a night.
Wanaka is a 60-minute drive from Queenstown Airport
Wanaka is an alpine resort town with a less touristy vibe than nearby Queenstown. The skifields of Cardrona, Treble Cone and Snow Farm are all within 40 minutes’ drive and there is a wide range of other outdoor activities on offer. The area is also celebrated for its wineries.
Waiheke Island is no longer the preserve of counterculture types wanting to get away from it all. Ultra-luxe arrived with the vineyards and wineries – and with the exclusive Fossil Cove Estate. Situated on a headland with to-die-for views of the Hauraki Gulf in every direction, Fossil Cove features a 17m infinity pool, on-site helipad and chef service. Lady Gaga chose this as an Auckland hideaway during her visit to Auckland. Bookings can be made through Waiheke Unlimited.
Waiheke is easily accessible by ferry from Auckland.
Waiheke is one of Auckland’s most popular tourist destinations, with a wealth of pristine white beaches, vineyards and wineries. Catch a passenger ferry from the CBD to Matiatia Bay, or take the car ferry from Half Moon Bay to Kennedy Point.
Only accessible by helicopter or boat, Hurakia Lodge on Rakino Island in the Hauraki Gulf is as far away from civilisation as you can get in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. With five double ensuite bedrooms, including the President’s Suite – featuring a two-person bath with water views – it’s an ideal place to share with your moneyed mates. There’s an outdoor lap pool, spa and infrared sauna to enjoy, and you can request a personal chef if cooking is not your thing. A steal at just NZ$8000 for the entire lodge for two nights (the minimum off-season booking time.)
Access to the property has to be arranged by the owners – either via helicopter or 35-minute boat ride from central Auckland.
With few permanent residents, Rakino Island is perfect for isolated escapes. Many of the beaches don’t have public access, but boat tours of the bays can be arranged with the lodge’s owners. Luxuriate in the private spa and enjoy the moody seascapes during autumn and winter.