Escape Auckland

Need a bit of time to yourself to relax and recharge? We have 16 places to help you unwind and escape the big smoke.


1. Luxury Under Canvas Mercer


Canopy glamping at its Best. Get inspired by our luxury glam camping ideas for couples, families, weddings, retreats and corporate getaways. No more uncomfortable air mattresses, damp clothes, or leaking tents.

The hassle of erecting and packing away a tent is a thing of the past! Glam camping offers you all the joys of camping, the benefits of the great outdoors, sleeping under canvas, getting close to nature while at the same time offering you a fantastic restful break because everything is set up for your luxury stay.

Wooden floors, quality hotel linens and functioning kitchens give you an unparalleled glamping holiday experience.

For the ultimate relaxing getaway or vacation under canvas come canopy glamping and experience our boutique off-grid farmstay camping with a touch of glamour. Only 45 minutes south of Auckland this natural bush setting is close to the Waikato River on a working farm. Complete with flushing toilets, hot showers and outdoor baths, our luxury canvas safari tent sleeps up to six and our bell tent sleeps two adults.

Check out our five-star reviews on Google, Facebook, Airbnb and our 9.6 rating on Booking.com. We look forward to hosting you soon.


2. Bike It Now! / Central Otago

bikeitnow.co.nz 03 449 2228 0800 245 366  info@bikeitnow.co.nz  #bikeitnowclydenz

Bike It Now! has a vision of providing the highest quality bike retail, tour, hire and workshop service for those wanting to enjoy the cycling trails of the Central Otago and Southern Lakes as part of their next holiday, or if they are lucky enough, within their own surroundings.

We offer self-guided tours the Otago Central Rail Trail, Roxburgh Gorge, Clutha Gold Trail and also do itinerary planning and bike hire and transport.

Check out our One Day Wonders and Two Day Wedderburn to Clyde Fantastic Rides great for those weekend getaways and short trips—Queenstown airport is only an hour away.

We have Top Quality Scott, Trek and Merida bikes, we are the South Island’s leading electric bike specialist. Our shop is open seven days a week all year round because, “We are all about You.


3. Donkey Bay Inn Russell

donkeybayinn.co.nz  027 240 9109 — enquiries@donkeybayinn.co.nz

A spectacular setting overlooking the stunning Bay of Islands is home to Donkey Bay Inn.

Arrive to something quite unique. Enter through an intriguing garden tunnel to the inn’s private courtyard which leads to the sitting room and bar, featuring soaring ceilings, eclectic furnishings and spectacular artworks. In winter, gather round the over-sized fireplace, and in summer open up both sides of the room to the sea breeze.

Three exotically-styled rooms feature wide views of the bay, and balconies or terraces provide private spaces to relax. At the end of the day luxuriate in your four-poster bed. Your spacious ensuite features a tempting bathtub or take an invigorating shower—unwind and just take in those gorgeous views. 

Imagine full-height walls of glass opening to private views to the bays.

Wander out to the broad, sheltered, almond shaped terrace courtyard shaded by olive trees; a secluded and tranquil place to relax at any time of the day or night.  Experience afternoon tea served in the Library. Or plan a wine tasting—the owner’s family has been making wine for centuries.

Stroll down the garden path to two outdoor bathtubs – what a romantic way to end the day, a glass of champagne, spectacular views, and, as night falls the skies open to showcase the stars.

Wake to an enticing gourmet continental breakfast—enjoy indoors, or on the spacious decks.

A bush-lined path meanders past charming Italianate sculptures to the private beach or take a right turn to Long Beach.

A two-minute drive takes you to the pretty historic township of Russell, with its array of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants.

Fully energy efficient—totally off the grid and cooled under a huge living roof, this architectural masterpiece will take your breath way, with its cavernous rooms, imaginative angles and breathtaking views at every turn.


4. Plume Villa Matakana

plumevillas.co.nz  09 422 7915  contact@plumevillas.co.nz

“A wonderfully stylish complex. Well thought out, with everyone’s needs in mind!”

Plume Villas

We were booked into a Tui Suite, a one bedroom suite complete with a lounge/kitchenette.

I just loved the fact that every detail had been considered. Heavy wooden sliders divided the bedroom from the lounge and kitchen area.

Our accommodation was warm and so sunny with clever black-out curtains so one could sleep in. The linen was beautiful and our room was cleaned every day.

The bathroom was spectacular, a wet shower with no shower door. The tiles were a rich, rusty brown and absolutely nothing was spared. For those who wish to use one, there is a fold-down stainless steel seat in the shower.*

Plume Villas offer the perfect spot for a family celebration, and it sprung to mind that these villas would be perfect for conferences and weddings too. The 12 villas are all different sizes, with the largest, the 3 bedroom villa, able to host up to 6 adults.

We loved the sparkling warm swimming pool—so pleasant to use no matter the weather.


Plume Restaurant and Plume Café

The staff ensure that the restaurant and café, both outstanding eateries, hum along with ease, and everyone is super friendly. The vibe at the café is unique, and if locals come in, they are recognised and loved by the staff.

The restaurant staff are also very attentive and considerate. The maître d’s in both the restaurant and café are the best, each with a wonderful sense of humour and always ready to chat.

There is also a children’s menu, with plenty to choose from, so everyone is taken care of, which pretty much sums up the overall feeling of our stay with Plume in Matakana.

A little teaser from the Plume Restaurant menu: the liver parfait with the Syrah jelly was outstanding. I even asked if I could buy a pot of the Syrah jelly to take home with me, it was so good.

Words: Judith Mitchell

*Note: We were in an accessible suite.  There are other suites that have shower doors in the bathroom, without the stainless steel seat.


5. The Beach House Kawau Island

kawaubeachhouse.co.nz   09 422 8850  info@kawaubeachhouse.co.nz

How many times have you slipped away into a daydream and escaped to a beautiful sandy beach on a remote island? Do you want to bring something unique to a romantic getaway, find that perfect place for a productive seminar or private event without the price of an international flight?

The Beach House, Kawau Island, offers the ideal “away from it all” venue.

Arrive in style via helicopter, seaplane, charter boat or only an hour drive north of Auckland CBD and minutes by ferry. The Beach House is a luxury boutique hotel nestled amongst the palms on the crystal-clear water’s edge of Vivian Bay.

They offer deluxe beachfront and junior suites with sea and tropical garden views and bush accommodation each with a private deck for you to soak in the quintessential natural New Zealand setting. No light pollution and no roads—the only sounds are from the lapping water and native birdlife.

The fully licensed restaurant, bar and lounge is the heart of The Beach House with sea views from every window in an intimate stylish setting. The private dining room upstairs offers a separate space to add even more intimacy to your entertainment experience.

Moreover, the food is location-inspired, ingredient-led and flavour-fuelled. Enjoy a gourmet breakfast included in your rate. Lunch is a casual affair with a choice of platters and drinks al fresco. The new Degustation Dinner menu offers a three- or five-course selection with carefully selected wines to showcase New Zealand’s produce.

This is the ideal location to sit back, unwind and leave all your stresses behind. Impeccable company, fabulous food and wine and an absorbing book are the essential ingredients for a relaxing stay whether you’re curled up in front of the fire in winter or stretched out on a sun-lounger in the summer.

At The Beach House, the team are passionate for the service they provide and how it reflects on you, their guests and patrons. It is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and your loved ones or for that intimate wedding venue, corporate event or personal celebration. It’s unlike any other place you’ll get to experience, let them make your daydream a reality.


6. 970 Lonely Bay LodgeWhitianga

970lonelybay.com — 07 866 5688 — enquiries@970lonelybay.com

Imagine, a boutique luxury lodge, nestled in New Zealand native bush yet just a few minutes’ walk to pristine beaches with white sand and clear blue waters.

Four luxurious suites are  each with a king bed draped with beautiful linen. Spacious ensuites with a bathtub and walk-in shower, entice one to simply unwind. The larger Estuary Suite offers a second bedroom, opens to spacious terraces with outdoor and indoor fireplaces, sun loungers and features beautiful views across the garden to Mercury Bay.

Each suite has a fridge, mini bar, complimentary wine, tea and plunger coffee. Unpack, relax on your private deck with a glass of wine and let the world go by.

The library, with a Bang and Olufsen sound system, the snug indoor/outdoor solarium with its opening roof and French doors leading to spacious decks,  offer private places to relax. Multiple fireplaces provide ambience and warmth through the winter.

Dine at local cafes in nearby Cooks Beach or take the passenger ferry to Whitianga for a choice of restaurants and bars.

Wake to a delicious cooked and continental breakfast, followed by an invigorating walk through Shakespeare Reserve; take in the beautiful views to Mercury Bay. Walk down the track to pristine Lonely Bay beach, relax by the lapping waves and return to the lodge over the little foot bridge to the garden.

970 Lonely Bay Lodge is just a short drive to the world famous Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach.


7. Valley Vista / Kaiwaka

valleyvista.co.nz — 027 493 7801 — stay@valleyvista.co.nz

Imagine laying in an outdoor bath, listening to a serenade of native birds, from kiwi to kereru. The native bush around you gives you privacy, as well as a stunning, natural outlook. Next to you is a beautiful hand-crafted macrocarpa hut, your accommodation for the night. This is only a small taste of what is on offer at Valley Vista Eco Retreat.

As the name suggests, Valley Vista is situated on a hillside, overlooking a valley, next to the beautiful Baldrock, north of Kaiwaka. The views are stunning on any given day.

A small alcove in the native bush provides space for the Shepherd’s Hut, our glamping unit. As well as this, we have the Tiny House B&B, a Container Cottage, camping plots and so much more. The communal barbecue  area, complete with a wood-fired pizza oven, creates a great social area.

With a relaxed vibe, Valley Vista is a place to forget your troubles, worries and busy lifestyle. You can relax and truly enjoy the sights and sounds of our beautiful country.

All of this comes with an added bonus—we are totally off-grid. We have an advanced solar power system, which powers all of our units. As well as that, we have our own water supplies and waste systems. For example, our waste water goes through a natural purification process, eventually feeding our orchard. These systems allow us to live symbiotically with the land, so you can enjoy the stunning landscape, knowing we are keeping it clean and beautiful.

Words: LTWProuting | Creative Wordsmith ltwprouting@gmail.com


8. Two One Six / Muriwai

luxuryaccommodationauckland.com — 027 287 8680 — jeanette@216.co.nz

Two One Six is a stylish luxury accommodation looking out over Muriwai Beach on Auckland’s West Coast. Boasting two superbly appointed, self-contained suites, this stunning property offers absolute comfort and unforgettable views of the Tasman Sea. Each suite accommodates two guests, making it the perfect choice for couples seeking a romantic getaway. The elevated position of the suites allows for stunning views, while the floor-to-ceiling glass doors embrace natural light. This contemporary luxury retreat is also eco-friendly, with sustainable design principles featuring in the buildings with their green roofs and sound environmental practices such as organic gardening, composting and recycling around the property.


9. Abel Tasman Lodge / Abel Tasman

abeltasmanlodge.co.nz — 03 527 8250 — info@abeltasmanlodge.co.nz

Just 400 metres from the Abel Tasman National Park entrance, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks, sits Abel Tasman Lodge, the perfect spot to stay when exploring the national park. With private modern chalets nestled amongst the stunning native landscape of Marahau (the Abel Tasman Village) this is a peaceful escape combining simple luxury with the beauty of nature.

Ranked as the best hotel for service and the number two small hotel in New Zealand, guests staying at Abel Tasman Lodge can rest assured that everything will be taken care of, leaving more time to relax, unwind, and enjoy their surroundings. All chalets are equipped with air-conditioning, outdoor dining areas, some with fully kitted kitchens, access to the free spa , free internet, and of course the picturesque views of the Abel Tasman National Park.

For those wanting a bit of adventure to complement their unwinding, other than the national park itself, the lodge is situated conveniently in the ideal location for exploring and getting active. There are water taxis, kayaking, a range of walks suitable for all ages, canyoning, eco tours, horse riding, sailing, cafes and beautiful beaches all on offer all within easy walking distance. If you’re needing something a little calmer, then be sure to spend some time in their native gardens, taste some local wines, and check out the artisans in the region. Even better, the hosts at the lodge can take the hassle out of booking your itinerary and sort everything for you, leaving more time to unwind.


10. Te Koha Lodge / Northland

tekohalodge.com — 09 405 1611 — info@tekohalodge.com

A weekend getaway, an anniversary or special occasion; experience the unique beauty of Te Koha lodge – the breathtaking views to beaches, rocky promontories and beyond to the Pacific Ocean.

Spacious living areas open to decks with stunning views over native plantings to the ocean.  The contemporary décor has been designed to create a casual relaxed atmosphere. Gather round the bar in the evening, enjoy a glass of wine while Chef prepares a gourmet dinner. Award winning host  and chef, Wayne Olsen creates bespoke dinners sourcing produce from the kitchen garden, the fruit trees and local suppliers. The wine cellar is exceptional, boasting sought after wines from boutique vineyards throughout New Zealand.

In summer doors fold back to provide an outdoor dining experience. As night falls stars appear and the moon bathes a pathway across the sea.

Three  bedrooms in the main lodge feature Super King or Queen beds each opening to decks and sea views. Spacious ensuites offer underfloor heating, walk-in rainforest shower, organic toiletries, robes and slippers.

The Upper House features two ensuite bedrooms rooms; the Cavalli Deluxe and the spacious Motueka Suite. Enter to an airy open plan living/dining area and fully equipped kitchen. Bedroom and living spaces open to decks and ocean views;  or retreat to your private garden patio.  Ensuites feature underfloor heating,  an infinity bathtub,  walk-in rainforest shower, organic toiletries, robes and slippers.

A 35-minute drive from Kerikeri and just 10-minutes from renowned Kauri Cliffs Golf Course. Take a heli-flight over this marine playground, enjoy big-game fishing, try sea-kayaking, or simply a walk along a remote beach – RELAX.


11. Mahana Lodge / Marlborough

mahanalodge.co.nz — 03 579 8373 — info@mahanalodge.co.nz

In Maori, the word ‘Mahana’ is synonymous with warmth and that is the welcome awaiting you in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

Mahana offers boutique lodge accommodation on the water’s edge in Endeavour Inlet, Queen Charlotte Sound, with four ensuite rooms all opening to sea or bush views as well as a separate quaint studio unit. All are set in a secluded sun-drenched spot just behind the charming 100-year-old Mahana Homestead.

Enjoy a swim before breakfast, lie in a hammock, read a book, gather shells on the beach, go for a mountain bike ride or explore the coastline by kayak. Relax at the end of the day with a glass of wine watching the sun go down. After dinner a visit to the glow worm grotto is a must. This is the way life should be!

Mahana is the perfect place to spend night two of your Queen Charlotte Track experience. This popular 70km track, able to be both walked and biked, is in the running to be one of New Zealand’s newest Great Walks and with good reason!

The Queen Charlotte Track is the finest and most diverse coastal track in New Zealand. Access is by boat from Picton, normally via Ship Cove which is a scenic and historic reserve frequented by Captain James Cook in the 1770s. You can either book to walk or bike the track yourself or go through a package provider like Wilderness Guides in Picton.

Either way, the warm hospitality of Mahana will ensure that your stay is a memorable one—and your peace will be broken only by the sounds of the bellbirds.


12. Lake Tekapo / Tekapo

tekaposprings.co.nz — 0800 2353 8283 — tekapostargazing.co.nz

Located in Lake Tekapo in the beautiful South Island, Tekapo Springs is the perfect place to relax and unwind 364 days per year! Soak in the stunning lake and mountain views from our three hot pools or chill out in the cooler pools with Aqua Play Area. Temperatures range from 28–39 degrees Celsius. Detox in the steam and sauna rooms then cool off in our cold plunge pool! Soak up some ‘me time’ at our Glacial Day Spa; we’ve got everything you need to revitalise and recharge, from hot stone massages to botanical facials. Our onsite Tahr Bar & Café offers a wide range of good food as well as South Island wines. You can cosy up by our open fire in winter or take in the gorgeous views from the outdoor balcony in summer.

By night, experience the wonder of the dazzling night skies with Tekapo Star Gazing! Operating from Tekapo Springs in the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, this is the only guided star gazing and hot pools tour in New Zealand. The tour is two hours long: the first half is a guided introduction to our amazing night skies with a unique combination of astronomy, storytelling and Maori myths and legends. The second half of the tour takes place in a 38-degree hot pool; relax on a floating hammock and feel like you’re soaking in the stars as you explore the beauty of the universe.


13. The Lost Spring / Whitianga

thelostspring.co.nz — 07 866 0456 — magic@thelostspring.co.nz

The Lost Spring is a natural geo-thermal pool, day spa and restaurant complex nestled in the beautiful township of Whitianga. Only two-and-a-half drive from Auckland, Tauranga or Hamilton makes this a definite must-do on your New Zealand bucket list.

Created to restore magic to adults’ lives, this stunning complex sits amid lush tropical gardens and you could easily think that you have discovered a secret South Pacific Island if you weren’t right in the middle of suburban Whitianga.

The geo-thermal pools are man-made and well thought out. With little seat steps to take in the picturesque layout, you can sit, swim or soak the day away. Waiters come around frequently to take orders of cocktails, fresh juices or serve you complimentary fruit infused water. With a 14-years-and-older age limit to the pools there is a peaceful tranquility that you didn’t realise you needed. Until now.

Onsite is a fully licensed restaurant with visual delights of anti-pasto platters, seafood platters, pork belly and spiced duck breast to name a few. There is ample space to dine, whether it’s on the beach deck, sky deck or sitting in the restaurant overlooking the lagoon and their Friday night happy hour with live music is a delightful way to kick off your weekend away.

Not forgetting the Tree Top day spa, set high amongst the palm trees overlooking the resort which is breathtaking. A deluxe spa menu of Pure Fiji warm oil infused massages or Osmosis personalised facials and a team of internationally trained therapists, this day spa is one to visit.


14. Cloud 9 Luxury Villa / Russell

cloud9.co.nz — 09 403 7188

Sweeping views across the Bay of Islands near the pretty historic township of Russell.

Accessed through a securely gated entry and surrounded by native bush, this luxurious villa provides total privacy. Crashing waves can be heard from 100 metres below, whilst at night, kiwi can be heard foraging in the bush—how special!

The elegant and contemporary interior creates a feeling of sophisticated simplicity and spacious luxury. Open-plan living, dining and kitchen spaces open through French doors to decks and spectacular sea views. The designer kitchen is equipped to the highest standards and gas log fires are comforting in the cooler evenings. The villa is fully air conditioned for the summer months. State-of-the-art  entertainment systems, including flat screen televisions, Sky TV and complimentary wireless internet, all integrated into the home.

The villa sleeps up to six persons in three bedrooms. The master bedroom opens to a private deck with beautiful sea views, a spacious ensuite offers a walk-in shower, double basis and luxurious toiletries. Two further bedrooms share a bathroom with walk-in shower and separate bathtub. Luxurious bathrobes, slippers, towels and toiletries entice guests to unwind and relax.

Surrounded on three sides by cedar decking and terracing, giving stunning sea and coastal views from sunrise to sunset. Outdoor sofas. a barbecue, table and chairs entice guests to dine outdoors on a starry evening—perfect!

Explore the historic waterfront villas of Russell and choose to dine in the many cafes and restaurants. Take a 10-minute ferry ride across to Paihia and visit Waitangi where New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed. Play golf at the Waitangi Golf course. Or explore the beautiful Bay of Islands—take a cruise, a fishing trip, view dolphins and whales. Swim at Long Beach and just relax.


15. Bethells Beach Cottages / Bethells

bethellsbeach.com — 09 810 9581 — info@bethellsbeach.com

Pamper yourself during your stay. Book a therapeutic massage, seaweed body wrap, gift wrapped champagne, floral bouquet, gift basket, portable outdoor hot tub, (with rain water and scented flowers for the romantic). POA.

Create your wedding ceremony and reception or a second honeymoon here. Trude is a registered marriage/civil union celebrant.


16. Alpine Wine Tours / Queenstown

alpinewinetours.co.nz0508 queenstown — info@alpinewinetours.co.nz

Spring in Queenstown brings all the clichés you’d expect, from new-born lambs and blossoming wildflowers to vibrant pastures and snow-capped peaks.

But did you know it’s also the best time for wine touring?

Beat the summertime crowds, enjoy longer days and see the vines spring to life after their winter slumber, this is the ultimate season to explore the 200-plus wineries surrounding Queenstown.

Launching just in time for spring, Alpine Wine Tours is Queenstown’s newest wine experience offering unique, personalised and ‘adult-only’ adventures for every wine-lover.

Experience New Zealand’s largest wine cave, taste award-winning cheese and wines or learn about the spirit-making process, from grain to glass, at a local family-owned distillery. Whatever your preference, there’s a palate pleaser for everyone during spring in Central Otago.

Kiwi couple Emma Chisholm and Lee Saunders are bringing their unique wine and food tours to Queenstown and say their adults only tours are already receiving rave reviews.

“People love it,” enthuses Lee. “There’s over 15 wine tour companies in Queenstown and almost all of them allow kids on their group tours.

“We wanted to give adults a chance to kick back and relax. We love kids, we have one of our own, but we all know that sometimes you just want a day to yourself.”

Emma is the third generation of her family to work in Queenstown’s tourism industry. Her parent’s famed ‘flying pub crawl’ of the 1980s, fuelled her passion for creating truly unforgettable adventures.

“It was called Henry’s Backcountry Flying Pub Crawl, and the name pretty much sums it up. It was fun, it was rowdy, and it was unique,” she says.

“Like Mum and Dad, we create memorable experiences and provide good old-fashioned Kiwi hospitality. I think that really resonates with people.”

Alpine Wine Tours operates daily group, private and customisable experiences from Queenstown designed to showcase the best-kept secrets of the region. Check out alpinewinetours.co.nz for more information.


Sunset over Central Otago’s picturesque Mt Rosa Wines – Credit: Mt Rosa Wines