At the edge of the earth
Dolphins often ride the gentle waves at Helena Bay, home to New Zealand’s super-lodge nestled in the North Island’s north-east corner. Here, five spacious luxe villa suites overlook the turquoise waters of the protected cove where stunning sunrises and sunsets are too good to miss.
The elegant suites with mosaic-tiled bathrooms, spacious lounge rooms and waterfront balconies with awesome views are a few steps from the grand three-winged lodge, home to an eclectic art collection, sprawling dining and lounge areas, library, spa, gym, sauna and a 25-metre heated infinity pool.
Surrounded by manicured gardens and striking outdoor sculpture including a raging bull and a King Kong look-alike perched in the greenery, Helena Bay Lodge is a secluded haven on a 323-hectare property. The UNESCO-shortlisted Poor Knights Islands lie 20 kilometres offshore.
Dining is an adventure with head chef Michele Martino, who prepares fabulous dishes from the Michelin- starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of Southern Italy along with Mediterranean-inspired estate-to-plate cuisine. It’s served in the dining room, the library or on the terrace, after sunset drinks around the outdoor fire pit. Fresh vegetables and herbs are plucked from established vegetable gardens and if you land a fish, it can be on your plate for dinner.
The impressive cellar has more than 1000 bottles of rare and interesting vintages, naturally including some of New Zealand’s best drops. Water sports, hiking and mountain biking are offered, along with cultural and farm tours where you can spot donkeys, alpacas and wagyu cattle grazing contentedly.
It’s been worth the trip to this grand country retreat with four private beaches, pristine coastline and those showstopper views.
Book with Helena Bay Lodge, helenabay.com (NZ$1175-$3850)