5 secluded New Zealand retreats to reconnect with nature

Surrounded by spectacular landscapes

New Zealand is one of the world’s least populated countries, putting it high on our list of locations to get away from it all. The vibrant country is covered with jaw-dropping mountains and lakes, some that are said to have the clearest water in the world.

Design enthusiasts can get their fix of inspiring architecture while venturing into the wild at these secluded New Zealand retreats. Here are 5 of the best.

Kawarau Falls Cabin, South Island

Via Airbnb

Sleeps 8; from $587 per night via Airbnb
This compact New Zealand holiday home in the South Island’s Kawarau Falls was designed by local architect Anna-Marie Chin. The cabin is nestled among the running trails and mountain bike tracks and has sliding doors that open onto a terrace with uninterrupted views of the Remarkables mountain range in Otago.

Via Airbnb

Interiors feature concrete floors and plywood panelling, with black accents that echo the cabin’s steel skin. Guests can soak in the outdoor hot tub, visit the nearby lake or golf course, and for ski season the slopes are a short drive away.

Tent House, Waiheke Island

Tent House in Auckland New Zealand by designer Chris Tate
Photography: Simon Devitt

Sleeps 2; from $275 per night direct
Architect Chris Tate originally designed this ‘tent house’ in the wetlands of Waiheke Island – the second largest and most populated island in the Hauraki Gulf – as his own studio and rural retreat, but the rainforest cabin is now available to book as a holiday let.

Tent House in Auckland New Zealand by designer Chris Tate
Photography: Simon Devitt

Tent House has a dark exterior that camouflages it within the property’s lush, tropical surroundings. Minimalist interiors contrast the rich colours beyond the angular house’s tall windows. Upstairs, beneath the pitched roof is the master bedroom, outfitted with heavy draped curtains give the sense of sleeping among the trees. Guests can lounge on the deck, sit by the fire pit at night or swim in the spa pool.

Seascape cottage on Banks Peninsula, South Island

Holiday home of the week: a contemporary cottage on a private beach in New Zealand by Patterson Associates
Photography: Simon Devitt

Sleeps 2; from $3,785.00 per night via Annandale
Guests can find sea views and seclusion at this cottage on a private beach on New Zealand’s South Island. Part of the Annandale estate, which sits on the remote Banks Peninsula, Seascape Cottage is built into the side of a rocky slope peeking out over a quiet cove.

The Kiwi holiday home was designed by architect Andrew Patterson for those yearning a digital detox. He took inspiration from ragged cliffs nearby for the beach house’s zig-zag roofline, and built the main home out of glass and local stone.

Photography: Simon Devitt

Reached via helicopter – or 40 minutes drive along cliff-top farm tracks from Christchurch – the beach house’s closest neighbours are all of the wildlife variety, particularly dolphins and seals who frequent the secluded bay.

Arrowtown Lodge, South Island

Via Luxury Retreats

Sleeps 10; from £16443 night via Luxury Retreats
Round up 10 of your closest friends and be airlifted into this contemporary villa located in New Zealand’s Arrowtown. The impressive mountain retreat has views of the Remarkables and is surrounded by the Feehly Hill Scenic Reserve. It comes with a chef on hand, a golf cart for use on the course next door, a tennis court, sauna and an infinity pool.

Via Luxury Retreats

Scrubby Bay House on Banks Peninsula, South Island

Photography: Annandale

Sleeps 14; from $4,690.00 per night via Annandale
Another Annandale cottage by Kiwi architect Andrew Patterson, Scrubby Bay House nestles into a private bay on the coastal farm. The South Island property is accessible only by helicopter, with the cedar cabin surrounded by green and golden hills just metres from the water’s edge.

Photography: Annandale

While Seascape Cabin is a couple’s retreat, the sprawling  Scrubby Bay House can sleep up to 16 people across its rooms, so gather your nearest and dearest for mountain biking, hiking farm trails and boat trips on the water for dolphin spotting.

Afterwards, unwind by the cabin’s large stone fireplace made from quarry rock. If you’re more of a homebody, living spaces across the New Zealand holiday home are orientated to frame views of the bay via floor-to-ceiling windows, so there’s a good chance you’ll spot wildlife without having to leave the comfort of your armchair.

3 cabins that disappear into the landscape




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