Best hotels and resorts in Australia and New Zealand: The 2023 Gold List
It’s difficult to categorize this ranch an hour and a half from Queenstown. Part working farm, part high-design New Zealand highland retreat, Lake Hāwea Station’s appeal seems to be its intersectionality between the robust kiwi farm culture visitors desire and the sophisticated tastes that characterize the country’s luxury lodge circuit Are defined. But scratch a little deeper to see that the true difference of this 16,000-acre estate is its pioneering ethos in New Zealand’s approach to cultivation and sustainability. When owners Justine and Geoff Ross took over the site in 2018, the land and its structures, including two turn-of-the-century cottages that housed shepherds, were in need of nourishment. They set about transforming the property, replanting 100,000 native trees to recreate what the land might have been like when the Ngāi Tahu iwi or South Island tribe migrated to this area in the pre-colonial era to hunt and do that Land to Build Cabins with cool interiors, expansive decks and comfy beds, all with stunning lake views, for travelers who might want to stop in to watch the herdsmen round up the merino sheep or just hang out with the kune at the swimming pond lounging kune pigs.
Certain paddocks have been designated as regenerative to bring the land back to health and all energy is renewable – almost unheard of for a working farm. The Rosses’ goal is to reach 10x carbon positivity in 10 years, setting a new standard for how farms can operate in ways that more effectively conserve the planet. But for its impressive goals and the admirable work that has gone into achieving them, Lake Hāwea Station still stands as one of the most amazing retreats you’ll ever – don’t think this place could exist – be lucky enough to to stay in. Waking up before the day begins from its centerpiece Lake House, an impossibly chic glass-walled country villa, and sipping coffee as the rising sun slowly reveals the crystal-clear lake, fringed by the snow-capped Southern Alps and rugged hills, is simple and extraordinary, the Kind of a slowed down experience that forces you to think about how incredible it is to have ended up here in this gloriously perfect corner of the planet. Which is one of the most precious gifts of the journey. Starting at $286. – Erin Florio