Millbrook Wins Best Golf Hotel in New Zealand and Oceania

Golf at Millbrook, Queenstown, NZ

Millbrook, in the beautiful South Island, has just been named ‘Best Golf Hotel in New Zealand’ and in Oceania as part of the World Travel Awards.

It’s a gorgeous spot, surrounded by jagged mountain ranges and far-reaching vistas. The championship 27 hole course covers some 500 acres, with a covered driving range and chipping and putting greens nearby. It’s also just a short drive away from the alpine resort town of Queenstown.

The resort is based on a country club design with luxury accommodation in a selection of large villas, smaller chalets and cottages, and a hotel-style complex. It also has an award-winning spa and fitness centre on-site to make even the coldest winter day a treat.

But what you’ll find inside the gates is more than matched by the diverse range of activities in the surrounding area. Otago is one of New Zealand’s excellent boutique wine regions, well known for its pinot noir wines. There is excellent winter skiing at several ski areas, white water rafting and jet-boating, fly fishing for brown trout, hiking, sightseeing and parapenting. Nearby Lake Wakatipu has scenic cruises to a local high country sheep station and the region is one of the central areas in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, so there are plenty of options to visit some of the filming locations. It is also within a day’s return drive of the Fiordland National Park and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area.

Last month Millbrook also won ‘New Zealand’s Leading Spa Resort’ in the World Travel Awards and has previously won a string of other accolades.

Email us about staying at Millbrook or go here to find out more.

(C)  by Sue Farley


Luxury at Eichardts in Queenstown

Eichardts luxury hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand


Sitting right on the lakefront in downtown Queenstown Eichardt’s provides the perfect luxury stay on a journey to the southern lakes of New Zealand.

With Lake Wakatipu quite literally just out the window and the sharp features of Cecil and Walter Peaks glinting across the water, it’s a fabulous place to wake up in the morning.

Surprisingly, this beautiful five star property began life as a woolshed back in the days of the Otago gold rush in the 1800s, but the only wool you will see there now is in the thick carpets underfoot.  Early on, the old woolshed was given a wooden facade and a new lease of life as a hotel, which in those heady days would have meant a drinking establishment of dubious repute. Once again, the only sign of a drinking establishment now is in the hotel’s elegant wine and cocktail bar overlooking the lake. Known for its extensive wine list and beautifully presented food the bar at Eichardt’s has become a destination in itself, open for breakfast through till late in the evening.

Eichardts Apartment Suite

Accommodation is a mix of five luxurious suites in the main hotel, four self-contained two-bedroom apartments nearby and a separate private Residence just a short walk away. The hotel is fronted by a striking glass lobby opening to the lakefront; upstairs the classic style parlour also offers perfect lake and mountain views and is filled with comfortable furniture and a large fireplace. It’s a great place to relax.

Queenstown is known as the Adventure Capital of New Zealand, with full justification.  With all the mountains, lakes and rivers nearby there are plenty of high places to bungy or paraglide off, lots of white water to raft or jet boat on and endless miles of exceptionally good fly fishing on the local rivers. Add in three championship golf courses, high country farm tours, winery visits, winter skiing and snowboarding, and the proximity to the vast beauty of the Fiordland National Park and you will need at least a week to skim the surface.

Email us about staying at Eichardt’s in Queenstown or go here to find out more.



Luxury Fishing Lodges in New Zealand

Fishing from Owen River Lodge

New Zealand’s Luxury Fishing Lodges

This newsletter brings a monthly update on the beautiful luxury fishing lodges in New Zealand.

These five star lodges are all in stunningly beautiful places and even if you are not a fishing person most of them will provide you with the opportunity to explore the land and seascapes around them. Some are close to national parks, others are in notable wine regions and others have excellent golf or sightseeing nearby.

So check out some of the options and suggestions we have here, or head to our website for the full story.

When to Come to New Zealand to Fly Fish
Lodge Packages and Specials
Lodge of the Month – Owen River Lodge
New fishing licence fees
Coastal Fishing from the Island Passage
Read on to learn more about fishing in New Zealand. Feel free to contact us with any questions, any time.

Here’s the link to THE FULL NEWSLETTER




Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

As I write surf crashes on to the wild west coast beach nearby, sucking the stones back with a ripping slurp. As one wave disappears another comes rolling in, a slurry of foam lifting in the wind as it drives up the beach.

Inland, not far from here, an iron grey lake sits quietly, surrounded by verdant temperate forest. A chorus of native songbirds tinkles and trills, unseen in the heavy greenery overhead. A kereru, or native pigeon, pumps noisily through the air, crashing on to a nearby branch as he lands solidly. Some days the lake is streaked with wind, but today it is quiet.

The Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge sits in the middle of this riotous feast of nature. Guests come here to enjoy the bird life, both seabirds and forest birds. There is excellent hiking along beautiful forest trails and kayaking on the lake. The coast, just a 45 minute walk from the lodge, is home to NZ fur seals, tawaki or Fiordland Crested Penguins and dolphins. There are many opportunities to observe these amazing creatures as they come and go during the year, delivered by the boisterous currents of the great Southern Ocean. There is also world-class fly fishing for salmon and brown trout nearby.

Coast line at Lake Moeraki

Accommodation at the lodge is in 28 four star Riverview and Garden rooms. The inclusive rate includes dinner and breakfast, and one or two shorter guided activities a day as well. Dinner is a set menu with several options each evening.

Lake Moeraki is part of the vast South Westland National Park and also of the Te Wahi Pounamu World Heritage Area. It’s ecological pedigree is supreme. The only practical ways to arrive are by road or helicopter. The lodge is a 90 kilometre drive south of Fox Glacier, one of two glaciers that curl off the Southern Alps and plunge down towards the coast, their termini surrounded by temperate rainforest. It’s within a 4 hour drive of Queenstown from the south or Greymouth from the north.

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge is open all year round. Bookings are essential in the high season as there are no nearby alternatives should the lodge be full on arrival. We can also arrange twin stays at Lake Moeraki and its sister lodge at Arthur’s Pass, high in the Southern Alps. This gives a fabulous opportunity to experience two of the South Island’s outstanding natural ecological regions in one stay.

Contact us for details


Otahuna Lodge – the Height of Country Elegance

Otahuna Lodge, New Zealand

Arriving at the winding driveway to Otahuna Lodge we catch glimpses of its majestic gabled form outlined through gaps in the tall trees.

A green swathe of lawn opens in front of long shady verandahs and rolls off down towards a still garden lake. Behind, the sun-drenched hills of this dry Canterbury landscape appear rocky and tall, in contrast to the green softness of the lodge gardens. As we near the lodge the gardens close in around us with cooling shade. It’s a sublime place to arrive at.

Otahuna Lodge is one of New Zealand’s grandest homesteads, set just a short drive out of Christchurch, the country’s second largest city. It was built in 1895 for Sir Heaton Rhodes, a politician and local benefactor and he lived there for over 60 years. His passion for horticulture is most evident in the home’s magnificent garden and fine collection of grand old trees, and the present owners of Otahuna have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the gardens are preserved and enhanced to their full potential.

Otahuna Lodge, entrance hall

Built in the Queen Anne style of the late 19th century, Otahuna is considered one of the best examples of this style of architecture in Australasia. The sheer scale of the rooms, the large verandahs, deep roof lines and sumptuous decor all create a feeling of grand comfort and elegance. The entry hall, with its cool greens, ornate arches and solid timber stairway are beautifully offset by the Victorian fireplace and quiet colours. The wisteria-themed drawing room is a soft, elegant space where pre-dinner drinks are served, and it’s also a cosy spot to curl up and read in during the day. The dining room, on the other hand, is a richly decorated space with ornate wallpaper, leather and wood detailing.

The accommodation is in seven beautiful suites. The two master suites are a little larger, and all have luxurious bathrooms and fine linens. Several rooms have verandahs, others have a lounge area or study, and each has a beautiful view of the garden.

Otahuna Lodge, master suite

The lodge cuisine is memorable with a 5-course degustation menu each night. Matched with fine wines, mostly local and New Zealand vintages, the dishes make the most of local foods and flavours.  There is an extensive organic potager garden and orchard – take time to wander through and see where much of this delicious food comes from.

Otahuna is an easy drive from the sights of Christchurch, a city now in full rebuild mode. Other half or full day trips include the beautiful little harbour town of Akaroa, the Waipara wine region, the amazing Southern Alps with their alpine activities and winter skiing, whale-watching at Kaikoura, the small thermal resort at Hanmer and nearby salmon and trout fishing.

For more information email us or check it out here

(C)  Sue Farley  2014


The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand

High up on the hilltops overlooking the Bay of Islands in the far north of New Zealand, the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs watches over its magical setting in luxurious splendour.

Recently voted in the Top 10 Luxury Adventure Lodges in the World by Forbes Magazine, it combines luxury accommodation with world-class golf, great hiking trails, excellent sport fishing, gorgeous beaches and plenty of adventure activities, both on and off the property.

The lodge is set within a 6,000 acre working farm, Kauri Station – quintessential New Zealand at its best. Guests can wander walkways through the property, join a farm tour or ride horses over the farm trails. These trails wend their way through gentle farmland and native forest before dropping down to sea level. Here riders can let loose and ride along deserted beaches – sand and sea and wind.

Accommodation is in 22 luxury suites near the main lodge. Each suite has a private porch, well-appointed bedroom with sitting area and open stone fireplace, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. A two-suite Owners Cottage is the premium option. Set aside from the cottages it has a spectacular view opening across a private infinity pool to the sea beyond. A hot tub on the deck provides yet another option for total immersion.

Pirate's Plank on the golf course, Cape Kidnappers, New ZealandThe Lodge at Kauri Cliffs is probably best known for its world-class golf course. Designed by David Harman, the par-72 championship course has some of the best golf course views in the world. Six holes are perched on high cliffs above the sea and another nine have commanding ocean views. The remaining holes are set in farm land and near patches of native forest (called bush in New Zealand). There’s also an excellent practice range and chipping and putting greens. The course is 6510 metres (7119 yards) long and has five sets of tees, covering all skill levels. It is a very desirable course to play, and definitely one to add to your must-play list.

The Spa at the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand

The Kauri Cliffs Spa, another gem, is tucked away in totara forest near a ferny grove. The inviting spa menu features many holistic treatments and indigenous products. Local manuka honey, kiwifruit body polish and fine kiwi mud are just some of the products used. There’s a great selection of massages, facials, reflexology, mud masks, body cleansing, manicures and pedicures. The full-day Aotearoa Day treatment combines several of these treatments with a morning tea and gourmet lunch in the garden for a most luxurious day of pampering.

What’s not to like about this beautiful place? The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs offers world-class luxury, golf and activities in a glorious setting high above the sea.

Find out more here …..

(C)  Sue Farley  2014




Cruise to New Zealand

White Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

New Zealand is an island nation, as is neighbouring Australia. So there is no better way to appreciate the lengthy coastlines of these beautiful places than from the deck of a cruise ship.

It’s an idea well worth exploring as there are many options to choose from. If you’ve booked, or are thinking of booking, a holiday in the South Pacific you can choose to join a cruise ship in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia or from  Auckland in New Zealand, and take it from there. Mainstream cruise lines such as Carnival, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess and P&O all cruise to and around the South Pacific, as do more luxurious options like Seabourn, Compagnie du Ponant and Silversea.

So here’s how you might like to work a cruise in to a trip to New Zealand, or Australia. Fly to Auckland or Christchurch and take some time to explore the country following your favourite interests – be it fly fishing, golf, art and crafts, adventure or pure sightseeing. Plan to end your trip at Auckland, which is also New Zealand’s largest city and main port. Here you can join a cruise ship bound for Australia, or further afield. Some ships head straight to Australia from Auckland, but others will travel via the coastline of New Zealand, stopping at ports like Tauranga (which gives access to Rotorua), Wellington, Nelson, Picton and Christchurch (Akaroa) before cruising through the stunning waterways of Fiordland (there’s no port there). From there you’ll head across the Tasman Sea (it only takes a couple of days) before reaching Tasmania and southern Australia. Once there you can leave the ship to explore Australia or join another to cruise on up into the Pacific Ocean.

Or you may want to run the whole trip in reverse.

Beautiful Maori weaving at Waimarama

Onshore excursions at New Zealand ports give access to a wide variety of places and experiences. Stop at Tauranga to visit the rich cultural area around Rotorua, enjoy a visit to a Maori village or marae at Napier, check out New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington or explore the national parks around the Nelson area. While cruising the coast you’ll see the beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel, circle White Island in the Bay of Plenty, which is an active (and sometimes very active) volcano, and follow the beautiful Marlborough Sounds in to Picton. There is so much to see.

To make life easy we can coordinate all these bookings for you, or add in parts to your existing itinerary, and we will help you choose the most appropriate cruise for your interests and budget.  We are New Zealand experts, specialising in luxury travel and cruises throughout New Zealand.

For more info contact,

(C)  by Sue Farley  2014


Luxury Stay at Aoraki Mount Cook, The Cloud Piercer

 View from the Hermitage, Aoraki Mt Cook

We couldn’t believe our luck as we drove in towards the backbone of the Southern Alps along the access road to Aoraki Mt Cook, catching ever-enlarging glimpses of the mighty Cloud Piercer, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. At Pete’s Lookout, 20-odd kilometres from the road-end, we joined a chorus of campervans and tourist buses stopped in the gravel car park, their occupants out snapping countless pics of the snow-clad mountains framing Lake Pukaki’s brilliant blue headwaters.

As we wound slowly higher, past Glentanner Station and its attendant outdoor activities centre, the mountains became larger and began to creep around behind us, enfolding us in their icy claws. Shadows lengthened and the gullys and ravines high above took on a dark foreboding presence. I could almost picture Gandalf riding out of the distance on his white horse, across the stony riverbed feeding into Lake Pukaki – you get the picture.

One more corner, and there it was. More cars stopped beside the road – long lenses propped on car doors and big rocks, trained onto the proud form of the mountain before us. Its jagged outline carved into the blue sky behind, the shiny white snow drawing a stark contrast to the vertical black rock it clung to. Many photo-stops later we crawled up to the Hermitage, completely photographed out, having only just arrived at our destination.

The Hermitage, Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Hermitage is a very handsome building built to take full advantage of its world-class alpine setting. As the porter unloaded the car we commented on the fine view of Aoraki Mt Cook we had photographed all the way up the final miles. “That’s not Mt Cook”, he said, “that is!” and pointed to an even more impressive mountain slightly around the corner from where we were looking. “You’ve been looking at Mt Sefton.” Slightly mortified, we thanked him, wandered through the impressive number of tour-bus passengers checking in at the group counter, and rode the elevator to our room.

Now, one of the perks of this job is that we get to stay in some rather nice places. But nothing had prepared me for this one. Outside the huge picture window, which takes up all of one wall, Aoraki Mt Cook, Mt Sefton and several other equally impressive mountains completely filled the view. We sat there for hours, drinking most of the complimentary hot and cold drinks provided, watching the mountains change from bright white to silver, to orange, then pink to grey, before finally disappearing into the soft alpine gloom of a summer evening.

We felt we had definitely already had our money’s worth and we hadn’t yet left our room. And at this point we didn’t know that waking in the morning, curtains wide open, we would see a complete re-run in reverse as the rising sun hit the soft, pearly peaks at six o’clock. We were in a Premium Plus room but other less ambitious budgets are equally catered for as the Hermitage has a selection of rooms, chalets and family units – most with mountain views, others with garden views – and the restaurants and bars all have great views as well.

A stay at the Hermitage will be governed to a degree by the weather. Some days the cloud stays firmly on the ground, others the sun shines all day. In winter it can snow in considerable volumes, which adds another fantastic dimension to the trip. There are a number of excellent day-walks that take in the terminal lakes of two glaciers, alpine plants and flowers, unbelievable views and some serious mountain terrain. These walks range from ten minutes return to several days. There are scenic flights – both fixed wing and helicopter – and in winter there’s heli-skiing on the higher snowfields. Add in the nearby lake and river fishing and you’ve pretty well filled several days.

And if the weather is bad you can fill your time without leaving the hotel, enjoying all those bars and restaurants with their huge picture windows.

For more info contact

(C)  by Sue Farley


Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge is new on 5 Star New Zealand

Arthur's Pass Wilderness Lodge, New Zealand

We’ve started listing some new lodges for the coming season. First up is the Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge, tucked under the Southern Alps in inland Canterbury on New Zealand’s South Island.

The lodge is run by the McSweeney family, who have a strong history in the conservation movement in New Zealand. Their huge 2400 hectare property is part nature reserve and part working farm. During your stay you will get to experience both worlds with lots of hiking and exploring on offer, as well as farm tours and demonstrations of various rural tasks like sheep shearing and mustering. There are 3000 sheep on the property so there’s plenty to be done. In winter there are several ski areas nearby as well.

Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge is also close to the Arthur’s Pass National Park, with its unique alpine environment. Mountaineering and alpine walking, waterfall and wild flower tours, and kayaking and mountain biking are just some of the activities on offer in the area. There’s also some excellent fly fishing for trout. The daily rate includes up to 1 1/2 hours of guided activities including nature walks and farm tours. Longer guided activities have a charge.

Arthur's Pass Wilderness  Lodge hiking

Accommodation at the lodge is essentially 4 star, but very comfortable. There are also several 5 star suites with luxurious beds, full bathrooms with spa baths and a private deck. All the rooms have amazing mountain and valley views. The lodge overlooks Mt Rolleston, the Waimakariri River valley and surrounding native forest. The 4-course dinner has a set menu with two choices nightly, plus options for vegetarians.

Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge is a full immersion experience. If you want to experience New Zealand wilderness then this is a great place to start. Staff are knowledgeable and caring about the environment and impart a lot of information to guests during their day.  We recommend a minimum 2 night stay, and more if possible.

Joint stays can be arranged with sister lodge, Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, down on the coast in South Westland.

Email us here to find out more –

(C)  by Sue Farley  2013


Arthur's Pass Wilderness Lodge mountaineering