After a day discovering nature’s finest, a little bit of luxury goes down a real treat. Check out these five superb 5-star West Coast stays in take-your-breath-away locations.
Luxe out on nature and design at the West Coast’s newest luxury destination — a one of a kind hideaway in the trees.
BIV Punakaiki is an award-winning architectural project inspired by historic bush huts and the owners’ childhood holidays. With its simple lines, pitched black roof, lone chimney and tin cladding, the BIV (from ‘bivouac’) recalls the rudimentary shelters built by 19th century gold miners.
Fortunately, this time round, the BIV comes with stylish modern comforts; great beds, cosy soft furnishings, a log burner, modern kitchenette, a big bath to lounge in, windows into the bush and skylights to admire the night sky. With a master bedroom downstairs and a mezzanine sleeping area upstairs, there’s room for 2 couples or a small family. It’s self-catering but close to several Punakaiki eateries.
Sitting just above the forest floor and nestled in the trees, BIV invites rest and relaxation — a place to unwind, detach and luxuriate in nature. It’s located at Punakaiki but hidden from view, and is within easy walking distance of Truman Beach, the spectacular Pancake Rocks and Pororari River Track.
TRAVEL TIPS: BIV Punakaiki is just off the Great Coast Road (SH6), at Punakaiki — halfway between Greymouth and Westport.
For a seaside sojourn, Awatuna Sunset Lodge has the best: magnificent sea views, deserted sandy beach and fabulous sunsets.
Small — just three suites (maximum 5 guests) — this adults-only owner-operated retreat knows how to charm guests with fine hospitality and all the little luxuries. Think big comfy beds, fine linens, luxury bathroom amenities, and beautiful gardens. Hosts Selwyn and Elizabeth offer personalised attention that includes sumptuous breakfasts (with eggs from the happy hens at the end of the garden), drinks and canapés each evening, and garden-to-table Mediterranean-style dining focused on home-grown, home-made goodness.
Take a long walk along the beach or a sunset tour in the amphibious craft. See the the kororā (little blue penguin) in their nesting season (May to November), kayak in the creek, pan for gold, fossick for pounamu (greenstone) or do nothing at all — sipping champagne, watching the waves roll in from the spa pool in the garden.
Two suites have French doors opening onto the sun-filled deck with stunning sea views. House guests have access to a guest dining and lounge area. There are also several powered motor home sites with sea views.
TRAVEL TIPS: Awatuna Sunset Lodge (1209A Kumara Junction Highway Awatuna) is just off SH6, 10 minutes north of Hokitika, 20 minutes south of Greymouth.
With elevated rural views of the Hokitika River below, native forest and the majestic tips of the Southern Alps beyond, Rimu Lodge sits pretty in a prime location — a slice of West Coast paradise.
Fine effortless hospitality comes easily at this elegant luxury accommodation where hands-on owner host Sue-Ellen has created a tranquil haven of carefully curated comfort. Breakfast from the gardens, relax in front of the roaring fire or on the expansive deck, and enjoy pre-dinner drinks and canapés with the other guests.
Lie in bed and watch the sun rise over the Alps, listen to the birds singing in the surrounding bush — each of the four spacious suites is named after a native bird. When the lights go out, marvel at the Milky Way in the glorious night sky. No light pollution anywhere near here!
Perfectly placed for exploring the West Coast, the lodge is a short drive from the arty distractions and eateries of Hokitika, the popular West Coast Wilderness Trail, Hokitika Gorge Walkway and lovely lakes Kaniere and Mahinapua. Enjoy trout fishing, hiking in the rainforest and biking the trails, or discover the glowworms in a nearby grotto. It’s also well located for day trips to the glaciers, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and other West Coast attractions.
TRAVEL TIPS: Rimu Lodge (33 Seddons Terrace Road, Rimu) is a 10-minute drive east of Hokitika.
Discover wild New Zealand in comfort and style at Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, a luxury eco-destination within the boundaries of UNESCO-acclaimed World Heritage Area Te Wahipounamu - South West New Zealand.
Wilderness Lodge is an immersive wildlife destination developed and run by a family of prominent conservationists. Anne Saunders and Dr. Gerry McSweeney were instrumental in the 1980s rainforest campaign that directly influenced the creation of the UNESCO park — and they’re still there today actively protecting the rare and precious wildlife found around Lake Moeraki.
The rainforest, waterways and beaches surrounding Wilderness Lodge provide a sanctuary notably for tawaki / Fiordland crested penguins, tiny Hector’s dolphins, NZ fur seals, forest and marine birdlife. Rarely seen and only found in New Zealand, a colony of tawaki penguins nests in the coastal rainforest near Wilderness Lodge; a highlight of the nature programme includes small group tours to a beach to view these wonderful sea birds. Under the expert guidance of the lodge guides, visitors are able to get close to the penguins without disturbing their lives and activity.
Set on the shores of Lake Moeraki, this unique lodge experience combines quality accommodation, superb food, gracious hospitality and nature adventures. Guests can participate in a series of daily expeditions and nature talks, hike in the forest, kayak in the lake and participate in conservation efforts.
TRAVEL TIPS: Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki is on SH6, 90 km south of Fox Glacier township, 30 km north of Haast.
Take a deep breath and embrace nature. A rainforest in Franz Josef hides the West Coast’s ultimate wellness destination, the 5-star luxury spa Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
The hotel is immersed in dense rainforest that was carefully preserved during the building of this luxurious eco accommodation — a verdant forest that’s thick enough to hide one wing from another.
Te Waonui is a thoughtful eco retreat, 5-star in services plus a fine example of sustainable accommodation. Designed to minimise environmental impact, the retreat’s carbon footprint is limited with energy efficient design, abundant natural lighting and a focus on natural and recycled materials. The natural colour schemes, timber details, wool carpets and organic cotton bed linen reflect the untamed natural wilderness of the forest and glaciers.
In the treetops, Canopy Bar & Restaurant provides a fine dining experience featuring fresh, local produce. Choose from a la carte or a 5-course degustation menu. Splash out with some ultimate relaxation at the Amaia Luxury Spa offering a superior range of treatments, including a ‘top-to-toe’ relaxing and rejuvenating package. Leave feeling refreshed and revitalised.
Located in Franz Josef, there’s easy access to the many natural wonders of the South West World Heritage Area — mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, coastline, native flora and fauna.
TRAVEL TIPS: Te Waonui Forest Retreat and Amaia Spa is at 3 Wallace Street, in Franz Josef township.