It’s enough to make you wonder why anyone stays anywhere else. Hapuku Lodge, near Kaikoura on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, is that most rare of lodges: splendidly located, stunningly designed, small, personable, and yet still quite affordable. It seems there must be a catch somewhere, but if there is, we can’t seem to find it.
Here you’ll find none of the 19th-century faux-Britishness that weighs down many a New Zealand luxury lodge. Hapuku is owned by a family of architects and builders, and it shows: the Olive House Apartment and the Lodge rooms are simple and contemporary, and the tree houses (yes, they’re literally tree houses, ten meters off the ground) are as modern as can be, clad in copper shingles and unfinished-looking local woods.
In these inspiring surroundings many of us would be content with a sleeping bag for a bed and a garden hose for a shower. Of course we don’t have to be. Like any New Zealand lodge worth its salt, Hapuku is exceptionally comfortable; beds are custom-made, bathrooms border on the decadent, and rooms are supplied with all the technological gadgetry the contemporary luxury traveler is accustomed to. The food, as is the Kiwi custom these days, is simple, organic, and locally sourced, and served communally — though private dining is available if you’re shy.
Don’t get us wrong, if you’re staying in any one of New Zealand’s countless luxury lodges, you’re doing something right. But given a choice between taking out a second mortgage to sip tea in some Edwardian sitting room and actually saving money at Hapuku — and did we mention the treehouse’s indoor-outdoor shower? — we know which one we’d choose.
Hapuku Lodge is approximately a 2 1/2 hour drive from Christchurch International Airport or from the Interislander Ferry in Picton. It is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Nelson. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for directions.
Station Road, Kaikoura
643 319 6559 NZ / 31