Guide to glamping in New Zealand: Here are the best places to stay – Stuff.co.nz

Posted: January 9, 2022 at 4:15 pm

New Zealand has seen an explosion in glamping escapes as Kiwis embrace exploring their backyard like never before.

We've stayed in dozens and here are our best picks from around the country.

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Tui Hilltop is in Maungakaramea.

One of the most popular spots in Bali is Ubud, where luxury villas line the hilly hinterland.

A trip to Bali is off the cards at the moment, but the next best thing is found less than two hours drive north of Auckland where youll find our very own version of Ubud.

READ MORE:* Pacific Coast Highway: A road trip of secret spots most have never heard of* Matai Peak: a secret slice of heaven above the clouds* Pukeiti Piwakawaka Family Hut, Taranaki: New Zealand's cheapest treehouse for families* Pepin Island: Experience one of New Zealands pristine private islands for $190 a night

Tui Hilltop is an off-grid series of huts perched on the side of a mountain, where Greg Hall has spent 20 years meticulously landscaping the grounds.

The retreat comprises three huts; a kitchen and dining area, a glass-lined bedroom, and a separate shower block with composting toilet.

You'll be surrounded by the sounds of birds and may even wake up above the clouds as we did. On those mornings, you really do feel like you're in heaven.

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Moonlight Peak is reached via a steep 4WD track youll be driven to the top.

On a towering hilltop overlooking the Wairarapa is adults-only retreat Moonlight Peak, which feels a bit like spending a night in a luxurious lair overlooking your kingdom below.

This isn't glamping in the traditional sense of the word it's more like a designer off-grid solar-powered cabin but it does have a few rustic elements. One of those is the journey there: you'll be met by the hosts and transported up a steep off-road track to the retreat.

From there, you will be a prisoner of the peak and won't be able to leave until you're picked up. But not to worry; you'll have a hot tub with magnificent views to help soak up the time.

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The bath tub at Rocky Point Hut on Pepin Island.

Need a little alone time? How does a $13.5 million island sound? Pepin Island is just 30 minutes from Nelson, and you can drive right onto the island thanks to a causeway. Once you arrive, you'll find a hilly 518-hectare sheep and beef farm with three eco-chalets dotted around the island.

One of the chalets, known as the Rocky Point Hut, is on the far side of the island, so unless you want a sweaty start to your romantic break I'd suggest taking the farm transport and paying a little extra. This hut has an incredible outdoor bath overlooking the sea.

Once you're there, not even the International Space Station will have a clue what you get up to both the Rocky Point and Passage Huts overlook the ocean. And they're under $200 a night, which is exceptional value.

They're basic but you get to enjoy one of the most underrated feelings in 2022: peace.

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Nest Tree Houses is so popular, its hard to get a spot.

Who doesn't want to relive their childhood and spend the night in a tree house?

Nestled near the mountains in Kurow, which is just over half an hour drive from marama, you'll find Nest Tree Houses.

The cosy cabin, with an indoor bathroom and outdoor kitchen, is on stilts up in the trees and has a suite of little luxuries. One of them is a Netflix-enabled TV that folds down from the ceiling for those bad weather days when you want to stay in bed all day.

But there is more, after all, good things come in trees. Take a little walk through the forest, and you'll find what looks like a submarine suspended in the air.

Ascend a boardwalk, and you'll discover its a tree house sauna, with a transparent dome at one end overlooking the forest.

The tree house is proving so popular, construction of a second is under way.

Growing up in New Zealand, many of our favourite memories are school camps. You can now recreate that with family or friends at an escape an hour from Auckland.

Glam Camping at Castaways is found on the hills above the wild Karioitahi Beach. It's most famous for its coastal tents, designed as a romantic escape for couples.

However, the resort is also home to a separate glamping village, which has 12 tents and 24 bedrooms making a capacity of up to 48.

On top of that, there's a massive central marquee, dining room and outdoor firepit and pizza oven.

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Wai Ora is between a river and lake.

If you've ever been lucky enough to explore Hawke's Bay, most people first take a look at Napier, Hastings and Havelock North.

However, a visit to Central Hawke's Bay gets you right off the beaten track, with Wai Ora glamping an ideal place to catch up with friends.

This retreat is at the luxury end, with three main cabins.

There is a large central kitchen and lounge with leather couches around a roaring fire.

There are also two rustic cabins; one overlooks a river, the other a lake. There's also a large hot tub.

It's an ideal location for two couples to catch up in a place so good, you won't want to leave.

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Indo Kiwi is 15 minutes from Charleston and an excellent place to stargaze.

On a remote stretch of the West Coast, just over an hour north of Hokitika, you'll find a little Bali-inspired oasis.

Indo Kiwi has a small hut with an outdoor kitchen and bath but the real attraction here is the view: you're overlooking the raw beauty of the Tasman Sea.

With no light pollution, it's also one of the best places to tuck up next to the outdoor heater and watch the stars.

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The Pwakawaka Family Hut is reached by an hour-long walk.

If your kids love the idea of staying in a tree house, one of the cheapest places to do that is at Taranaki's Pukeit an enormous 360-hectare rainforest that sits adjacent to Egmont National Park.

It's also home to one of the world's largest collections of rhododendrons.

To reach the tree house, you and the family need to walk about an hour after which you'll reach the 12-person basic tree hut, with bunk beds.

From the expansive deck, you'll enjoy views of Mt Taranaki, and in the opposite direction, you can even see down to the coast. It costs $150 a night for up to 12 people.

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Clifton Glamping is full of luxury touches, although it still has an outdoor shower.

Cape Kidnappers is a playground for the rich and famous, with a night at the eponymous resort setting you back many of thousands a night.

However, on a separate farm, right at the base of the peninsula, is a chance to experience a night of luxury for a fraction of the price.

Clifton Glamping is tucked away on one of the oldest working farms in New Zealand, with an uber-comfy bed in a luxury setting there's even an indoor fire making it perfect for winter.

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Kokowhai Bay Glamping is a three-hour drive from Blenheim.

In one of the most remote corners of the Marlborough Sounds, you'll find a luxury glamping tent tucked away in its own bay.

It's called Kokowhai Bay Glamping, and combines all the magic ingredients: a luxury tent, hot tub, absolute privacy, and you're just a few steps from the water.

It's quite the adventure getting to this place: you'll need to drive the breathtaking Croisilles HarbourFrench Pass Road, which is a narrow windy road where extreme caution is needed: fatal car crashes have recently occurred there.

But take it extremely slow, and you'll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful places to unwind in total solitude.

Moonlight Peak: $450 a night, Wai Ora: From $310 a night for two, Tui Hilltop: $290 a night, Indo Kiwi: $290 a night. Bookable via canopycamping.co.nz

Castaways Village: From $140 per person. See: castaways.co.nz/glamping

Pepin Island: $110 to $190 a night. See: pepinislandfarm.co.nz

Nest Tree Houses: $490 a night. See: nesttreehouses.com

Pwakawaka Family Hut: $150 a night. See: trc.govt.nz/piwakawaka-family-hut

Clifton Glamping: From $350. See: cliftonglamping.co.nz

Kokowhai Glamping: From $220 a night. See: kokowhaibayglamping.co.nz

Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Face coverings are mandatory on all flights and public transport. Proof of vaccination or vaccine exemption may be required in some public venues under the traffic light system. Follow the instructions at covid19.govt.nz.

The author does photography for Canopy Camping, but inclusions in this article are based on merit.

Excerpt from:

Guide to glamping in New Zealand: Here are the best places to stay - Stuff.co.nz

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