Cosy Winter: Otahuna Lodge

A cosy winter escape at Otahuna Lodge in the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

Otahuna Lodge, Canterbury, New Zealand

Part of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux portfolio, Otahuna Lodge is New Zealand’s largest private historic residence. Built in 1895 for parliamentarian Sir Heaton Rhodes, the rambling property is in Tai Tapu, about 30 minutes from Christchurch’s CBD. Otahuna (which translates to “little hills among the hills” in Māori) is owned and run today by an expat American couple who have poured their hearts, souls and millions into every detail of the property, restoring original silk wallpaper, retaining beautiful original wood carving and stylishly and sensitively redecorating almost everything else. The property houses seven large and luxurious suites along with fifteen working fireplaces (some of them in the bedrooms), 30 acres of grounds that include sprawling lawns and gardens that are among the country’s most significant, lovingly restored and expanded, and has views of the Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury Plains. 

 

Settle in with a good book in the lodge's library | Otahuna Lodge

 

Dining: More than 120 different kinds of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and mushrooms grow in the historic gardens, meaning that guests can expect varied, seasonal and fresh fare when it comes to breakfast and dinner. At dinnertime, the fare is among New Zealand’s finest offering and consists of a five-course chef’s degustation menu that changes daily, paired with wines showcasing the Canterbury region. 

The lodge also runs a cooking class during winter alongside executive chef Jimmy McIntyre, which is limited to ten guests. This year’s series will focus on mastering recipes for entertaining and is priced from NZ$225 per lesson, including a 90-minute demonstration, four-course meal with wine, recipes from all dishes prepared during the lesson and a tour of the potager garden and orchard. 

What to do: New Zealand offers a plethora of outdoor activities and Otahuna Lodge is a great base from which to experience many of them. Guests can explore the seaside town of Akaroa, take a train through Arthur’s Pass, tour the estate’s expansive and meticulous gardens, golf in one of the 23 golf courses in the region, take a heli-tour exclusively developed for lodge guests (and departing and landing on the lodge’s grounds), hike or bike using the lodge’s complimentary bicycles or go horse riding along the Waimakariri River. An hour north of the lodge, guests can explore the Waipara wine region. However you might spend the day, guests are invited to join other guests for drinks in the lounge each evening where stories are exchanged. 

Rates: Suites start at NZ$1,200 (about A$1,125) per night twin share, excluding taxes. 

otahuna.co.nz

 

More than 120 different kinds of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and mushrooms grow in the historic gardens, meaning that guests can expect varied, seasonal and fresh fare when it comes to breakfast and dinner. 

 

Read about more New Zealand luxurious long weekends here:

Wellington

Auckland

Queenstown

Christchurch

 

 

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Weather to go

Christchurch has a dry, temperate climate with the least amount of rainfall for any of New Zealand's regions. Warm temperatures in summer are regulated by cool sea breezes which makes it the perfect destination for outdoor activities all year around. During summer the sun shines as late as 9.30pm and the days are an average temperature of 22°C. In winter the frosty mornings are often succeeded by bright, sunny days with little or no wind, however the nights can be extremely chilly. Snow fall usually occurs once or twice a year on the hill suburbs of Christchurch and every second year on the plains. 

 

 

 

 

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