Viva Magazine scout out small New Zealand huts and cabins in the rugged high country, deep in the bush and at the beach — ideal for recharging, relaxing and reconnecting.
Greystone PurePod, Waipara Valley
Head for the hills, high above Greystone Vineyard in the Waipara Valley, to Greystone PurePod. The exact location of this private paradise will not be revealed until booking is confirmed, but it involves a drive along a gravel road and a walk through regenerating native bush. From the luxury of your tiny glass hut (walls, ceiling, and floor), enjoy views of the Teviotdale Hills, across vines to the Waipara Valley, and up to the stars.
Welcome Rock Mud Hut, Garston
Sitting 9km into a 27km mountain biking and hiking trail on 1000ha of private conservation land on a high-country station, the Welcome Rock Mud Hut is the only building of its type that you can stay in overnight. Originally built by Chinese gold miners in the 1890s and reconstructed in 1990, it’s rustic, with bunk beds, an open fireplace and an outdoor bath. Located in Garston, 45 minutes south of Queenstown, this is a unique place to spend the night soaking in all that the backcountry offers.
High-Country Cabin, Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve
The High-Country Cabin, 15 minutes out of Twizel in the Aoraki Mackenzie dark sky reserve is beautifully designed and appointed. In a region that has so much to offer — Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, Lake Pukaki, Lake Ohau, skiing, fishing, hiking — you’ll find yourself wanting to stay in by the fire, gazing at the mountains while dinner bubbles away on the stove in the hand-crafted kitchen. One queen bedroom plus a loft that sleeps three allows you to share this luxurious experience under star-studded skies with friends.
Mahaanui River, The Hangaroa River
Fancy a cabin in the bush beside a river? Mahaanui River Cabin is all of that and cute as a button. Built from recycled and sustainable materials, it’s completely off grid and secluded in a stand of old totara on the bank of the Hangaroa River at the bottom of Mahaanui Farm — an hour out of Gisborne or Wairoa. This romantic retreat for two has luxury linens and a wood-burning stove inside, a hot tub outside and yours-to-keep hand-knitted slippers to settle you right in.
Makoura Lodge Riverside Retreat Cabin, Apiti
Further south (one hour north of Palmerston North and two hours north of Wellington), the Makoura Lodge Riverside Retreat Cabin is also secluded, restorative and designed for two. Cook on the gas barbecue or campfire, enjoy a hot shower or outdoor bath and relax the world away in the hammock. It’s dinner by candlelight here.
Little Greenie, Nelson Tasman
Anyone with an interest in passive housing will enjoy a stay at Golden Bay’s Little Greenie. It was the first home in New Zealand to receive a 9-star rating from EECA in 2009 and was built to demonstrate how practical, comfortable and cost-effective an eco-home can be. The owners also achieved their desire to create a hideaway where couples could find space to be together without the interruptions of daily life. The setting, at the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park on Wainui Bay, provides one “wow” moment after another.
The Huts, Ahipara
If you like your turf with a little surf Ahipara’s The Huts nestle into a hill overlooking one of New Zealand’s best surf breaks at Shipwreck Bay. Huts Tahi and Rua each have cooking facilities, indulgent showers, are furnished with locally made furniture, ceramics and organic linens, and can sleep three. Behind the huts is a deck for yoga or gins, and greens and herbs can be picked fresh from the garden.
Ruru Room, Coromandel Peninsula
Ruru Room is a little darling nestled into pohutukawa and other established trees on a small point near Port Charles in the more remote part of the Coromandel. Bring everything you need for the length of your stay at this out-of-the-way spot because you won’t want to leave once immersed in the endless sea views and birdsong. A meander to the beach for a swim or a fish is as taxing as it gets.
Pipinui Point, Wellington
Pipinui Point will have you enjoying some peace and quiet within a half-hour drive of Wellington’s CBD. Pipinui Station’s clifftop farmland provides the ideal location for this purpose-built retreat where you can watch the sun set over the Tasman Sea. Architecturally designed with all the mod cons, a wood burner and an outdoor bath, Pipinui Point is a comfy break away from the big city. Breakfast provisions are provided and there are options to include dinner and lunch prepared by the neighbouring Boomrock chefs.
By Jo Elwin, NZ Herald Viva