The grand dame of New Zealand’s ‘super lodges’ is Huka Lodge in Taupo, on the country’s North Island. Downstream of the awe-inspiring Huka Falls, the property is geographically blessed, presenting a wealth of outdoor activities including white water rafting and golfing. Alan Pye, a supremely charming Irishman, was the founder of the property, and he quickly garnered an unrivalled reputation for offering the very best in hospitality, and the Lodge soon gained momentum in its popularity with anglers in search of the rumoured trophy-sized trout. Having started with humble beginnings as a fishing camp ninety years ago, Huka Lodge in present day regularly tops luxury travel lists as the most sought-after Lodge in the world, attracting members of the Royal Family, famous authors and Hollywood veterans like Michael Douglas. Outdoor living is ranked highly at Huka Lodge; discover a world of possibilities in the endless flora of the lodge gardens, which are deemed to be of regional importance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust and also named a ‘Garden of National Significance’.
Wake up to crisp clean air, joyful birdsong and dew on the forest floor if you opt to stay in a Junior Lodge Suite or Lodge Suite. Deliberately simple in approach, each Suite takes advantage of the surrounds, with French doors opening out onto a wooden terrace. Amid a bounty of foliage, and nearby to the captivating turquoise waters of the Waikato River, luxury fittings and fixtures provide ample opportunity to luxuriate following from a day of exploring, including a decadent deep bath, heated floors and a dressing room.
The Alan Pye Cottage encapsulates everything about elegant living and that rarely-accomplished ‘home away from home’ feel; the very finest in quality heritage materials, like cedar and stone, plus a concise colour palette of dark teal, lime and turquoise. A nod to the English Arts and Craft movement and also a concession to more local culture, the cottage is punctuated with purposely-eclectic furnishings, where rustic antiquities perfectly complement with museum-quality Maori artwork and textiles. Perfectly manicured gardens uphold Huka Lodge’s notion of pristine outdoor areas, and water from the banks of the Waitako River flows by soothingly. Two large Guest Suites each have a homely fireplace, and en suite bathrooms are blissful with under floor heating, limestone tiles and deep baths. Guests can continue to revel in this unhurried atmosphere outdoors, in the heated infinity pool, separate spa pool and a stone pavilion within a private courtyard garden.
The Owner’s Cottage is an enclave seductively secluded from the rest of the grounds. Purposely projecting a pared-down feel in the interior design, caramel and soft cream hues create a calm ambience. Four generous en suite guest rooms are anchored by a central living room, dining area kitchen and den. A privileged view can be observed from the Owner’s Cottage; cutting a striking sight against the landscape, the mighty Huka Falls are narrowed into a ten metre chasm, resulting in a forceful torrent slamming downwards. Entertaining its 1920s history, unique furniture pieces have been carefully selected, such as the beautiful French oak chairs in the living room. The Alan Pye Cottage is named after the man who discovered fly fishing in the 1920s, and is cradled by lush rolling green lawns and manicured gardens on the banks of the Waikato River, where the powerful and hypnotic turquoise green waters surge downstream on their way to Huka Falls.
Maintaining its note of excellence, Huka Lodge does not disappoint in its cuisine, keeping the most voracious of gourmands satisfied. Encouraging guests to dine together in a convivial style, at tables that are aglow by the warm roaring fire, the Lodge serves hearty New Zealand dishes like Southland lamb, as part of a daily-changing menu.
Huka Lodge is located in Taupo, in the central North Island of New Zealand. Scheduled domestic flights travel daily to Taupo from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.