New Zealand family luxury escapes
Discover three of the most luxurious places to stay where the kids will be just as happy as the parents and grandparents in New Zealand.
When it comes to travelling in a family group, perhaps the most important thing is including activities to suit everyone from toddlers to grandparents. Luckily in New Zealand you can do this in style by booking luxury accommodation with memorable experiences tailored for all the family.
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Northland
While Kauri Cliffs is better known for having one of the top golf courses in the world (currently ranked 49th globally by Golf Digest magazine), it is also a 2,400 hectare working sheep and cattle farm. Kids and adults alike can enjoy joining the farm manager for a 4WD tour of the property. They might help to muster sheep (or watch one being shorn) and, in spring, can even get the chance to feed a newborn lamb.
With three private beaches, including one made of minute pale-pink shells, children and teens can revel in life’s simple pleasures such as swimming, beachcombing and using a rope swing hanging from a magnificent native tree while the adults kick back with a gourmet picnic hamper. For something more active, there are walks to suit all ages, ranging from a 10-minute bush stroll that passes the property’s 700-year-old kauri tree, to a two-hour trek that includes a visit to a small-but-beautifully-clear waterfall.
Kauri Cliffs is just under four hours drive from Auckland.
The sparsely populated sub-tropical Northland region is known for its unspoiled beaches and ancient forests, and is the home of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the historic agreement between Māoris and Europeans was signed in 1840.
The Landing Residences, Bay of Islands
With four beautifully appointed stand-alone residences set on a 400-hectare conservation estate, The Landing Residences is ideal for extended family groups. Book one of the larger houses such as the Cooper (sleeps 12) or reserve more than one house so that everyone has their own space. Grab a fishing line and equipment and head down to the jetty to fish for snapper, trevally and kahawai in the clear waters on the tip of the Purerua Peninsula in the north-west of the Bay of Islands. More active family groups might want to head out hiking on the 2.5 kilometres of boardwalks and tracks that criss-cross the fertile wetlands on the property. There are also six private beaches with great snorkelling and safe swimming spots for young children.
The Bay of Islands is approximately a three hour drive or 35 minute flight north of Auckland. There are 144 islands in the Bay of Islands and it is an ideal place to visit for boating and fishing. There are also quaint seaside towns for your family to enjoy such as Russell, with historic houses, restaurants and museums.
Treetops Lodge & Estate, Rotorua
Billed as a “natural theme park”, Treetops is set on a 2,500 hectare estate with a primordial native forest where you’ll encounter wild deer and water buffalo.
Their renowned Five Star Kids programme includes everything from horse treks to high-tech treasure hunts using GPS equipment, but the most popular activity is the Junior Master Chef session. Kids aged 5 to 11 years old, put on their own chef’s jacket and join the lodge’s executive chef to learn to make dishes using ingredients grown on the property such as lavender, dill and native turutu blueberries. Older children, adults and grandparents can join the lodge’s half-day wild food cooking class where they’ll forage for indigenous herbs and spices before cooking with them in the lodge kitchen.
With simmering geysers and bubbling hot mud pools, Rotorua is a thermal wonderland as well as a great place to discover New Zealand’s Māori culture. Rotorua is about a three hour drive from Auckland.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay
A spectacular 2,400 hectare sheep station overlooking the Pacific Ocean, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a much awarded luxury lodge in the Hawkes Bay. Cape Kidnappers has spectacular ocean views as well as a menu featuring exceptional produce (much of the vegetables come from the lodge’s own garden).
Kids have the rare opportunity to meet a kiwi bird. There are more than 120 kiwis in thick regenerating native forest on the property and your guide will lead you to the birds’ nesting site where you can have your photograph taken.
Want to get everybody in the family up and moving, then you can hire mountain bikes to explore the property, or take a horse trek. From November to April, the lodge hosts star gazing and a sheep show featuring the farm’s working dogs.
Adults and teens can enjoy the famous challenging par 71 golf course, designed by legendary golf architect Tom Doak too.
This is a special place, not only because it reveals panoramic views of New Zealand’s wild east coast at its best, but also because it’s home to just a handful of individual private cottages, so few people can stay at once.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is only a 30 minute drive from Napier in the Hawkes Bay is one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Napier is approximately a five hour drive or 90 minute flight from Auckland making it a perfect weekend or short holiday destination.
Cape Kidnappers is home to one of the world’s largest accessible mainlaind gannet colonies.
There is also some of the best Art Deco architecture in the city of Napier, which was rebuilt after being largely destroyed by an earthquake in 1931.