KIWI: Matakauri Lodge, QueenstownArriving at Matakauri Lodge, the crisp weather indicated that autumn had duly arrived. Down on the lakeside trees had metamorphosed into yellow buttercup and apple cider hues, where blustery winds ruffled the feathers of a harrier hawk as it flew along the edge of Lake Wakatipu.
AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: ©Shane Boocock 2011
Sumptuous, sensual and with sensational views were my first impressions of my accommodation for the night. Underfoot small granules of shingle crunched with each footstep as I strode along the driveway to the steps leading to the lodge. It was about eight degrees and chilly outside but I was soon feeling the warmth of the lobby – a space decorated with antique wooden furniture and pale spatial colour tones that reflected highland heather, moorland grouse and earthy red lichen coloured bluestone.
Arriving at Matakauri Lodge, the crisp weather indicated that autumn had duly arrived. Down on the lakeside trees had metamorphosed into yellow buttercup and apple cider hues, where blustery winds ruffled the feathers of a harrier hawk as it flew along the edge of Lake Wakatipu. The only other movement was the TSS Earnslaw chugging across to Walter Peak Station with black smoke billowing from its pillar box red stack.
Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake dominates this region’s alpine scenery that includes the Remarkables, Walter Peak and Cecil Peak and beyond Glenorchy, Mt Aspiring National Park.
Matakauri Lodge is today part of a triumvirate of luxury pedigree lodges, Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers being the other two famous retreats in the group. The grand opening of Matakauri Lodge took place in August 2010. It is perched on an exclusive hidden bluff above the lake, with breathtaking views of lake and mountains – one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the Queenstown region.
I was in Queenstown to explore, experience and be enticed into the great outdoors for a week of adventures, yet what better way to begin a journey than from the lakeside luxury of Matakauri Lodge. The week I arrived, the globally respected magazine, Conde Nast Traveller had named Matakauri Lodge in its just released HOT LIST 2011 – it was one of just 65 hotels in over 31 countries from Argentina to Russia to New Zealand to make this year’s highly coveted international list. It is widely regarded as the definitive guide to the hottest new hotels in the world. The magazine assures the hotels on the final list all have one thing in common, “they’re clearly going to be the hottest places to stay in 2011”!
The lodge has just eleven luxurious suites and villas each with private terraces all designed by the acclaimed interior designer Virginia Fisher, plus a super stylish and spacious main lodge with plenty of dining and living areas to relax in, making Matakauri Lodge an enchanting alpine hideaway.
At Matakauri Lodge, they specialise in showcasing the finest local wines and produce. The Executive Chef, Dale Gartland’s modern European cuisine is focused on local seasonal produce with clean, fresh flavours. On the night I dined I chose Aoraki salmon with scallops, courgette noodles, herb oil with a Central Otago bisque for my starter. For my main dish I couldn’t go past the Northland snapper, spring onions, soba noodles, fried tofu, coriander and ginger vinaigrette.
After a long day of adventuring, it was a pleasure to experience new dishes from the daily changing lodge menu. I wasn’t lucky enough to take up the chefs offer from a day’s fishing, however he would have been delighted to turn my hard-won catch into a gourmet experience.
Also located near the villas on the edge of a pine forest is Matakauri Spa, with uninterrupted views to Lake Wakatipu and towering Cecil Peak. The spa offers a private experience in an unrivalled natural environment, including a range of holistic treatments such as massages, facials, hand and foot treatments as well as body care. The Spa team are committed to personalizing your treatment to meet your specific needs and their therapists will be happy to guide you in choosing a spa experience to suit your individual requirements.
There are two treatment rooms, each with shower, changing room and private deck surrounded by natural vegetation. For a complete wellness experience I concluded my spa treatment with relaxation time in the adjacent jacuzzi and sauna.
Staying at Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown is an ideal retreat to enjoy spectacular scenery and explore the region’s adventure activities such as white-water rafting, paragliding, bungee jumping, jet boating and heli-skiing, just to name a few. Or guests can experience endless leisure pastimes of a more passive nature, such as hiking, horse riding, vineyard tours, trout fishing or scenic flights to places like Milford Sound.
T: +64 3 441 1008
If you would like to read this article in full or licence it for your own publication, please click here to contact Shane.