Where to stay in Rotorua
Treetops Lodge & Estate
Nature rules in this private valley just a short drive from Rotorua. Tucked in amongst 10 sqkm of native forest and wetland, threaded by seven streams, Treetops Lodge is an unobtrusive building of timber and stone surrounded by a moat where fat trout swim. Inside the carved front door, the Great Room is warm, spacious and welcoming, with soft sofas, a huge open fire and a clubby décor dominated by taxidermied deer, trout and pheasants. Hunting and fishing are just two of the many outdoor activities on offer here, but first there is indoors to explore. The dining room has a long communal table for sociable gourmet dinners at the end of the day, there’s a full-size billiards table and a library (where more intimate dining is provided), and a conservatory for breakfast and views of the outdoors at any time.
Reopening in September 2015 after a program of significant refurbishment, the lodge offers accommodation within a wing of the main building; in rustic villas nearby; the Owner’s Retreat; and, away in the forest, Pheasant Cottage for the ultimate in seclusion. All continue the theme of effortless comfort and thoughtful touches in a décor that brings the outside inside. It’s a purpose-built sanctuary, both for people – children are welcome – and native wildlife, and it’s no wonder that Treetops has been included in Oscar nominee goodie bags. Which Signature Experience would Brad or Gwyneth choose? Wild food cooking? Estate to plate? M?ori indigenous food? Healing in the wilderness? No prizes for guessing. treetops.co.nz
Things to see and do at Treetops Lodge & Estate
So close to Rotorua, it’s an easy outing to tour the various geothermal wonders of this sulphurous city, with its bubbling mud, spectacular spouting geysers and steaming streams; and then to relax in a naturally heated mineral pool surrounded by lush ferns.
No-one can resist a waterfall, and the Treetops Estate has some beauties. Most picturesque is Bridal Veil falls, a multi-cataract tumble down layered rocks, surrounded by feathery tree ferns. Beware: more than one marriage proposal has taken place here.
Get out and active along the Estate’s 50km of tramping tracks through bush, past lakes and along streams. Or venture further out to the public tracks in the area, which include the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, regularly voted the best one-day walk in the country.
Fly-fishing can be easier than you think. Or harder. Certainly it’s worth a try on one of the Estate’s seven streams, and after a bit of coaching you could be netting your very own brown or rainbow trout.
Hop aboard one of Diddy’s well-mannered horses and let him guide you on a ride around the estate, creeping up close to the deer, elk and water buffalo, trip-trapping over the bridges and spotting an abudance of birds.
Other accommodation choices in New Zealand
Fly-fishing is the main focus of this purpose-built lodge near Taupo, but hunters and hikers will also enjoy the range of accommodation from elegant lodge to safari tent, all of it luxurious. poronui.com
Right on the Motueka River, the intimate Stonefly Lodge offers world-class fly-fishing and options to explore the nearby Abel Tasman National Park. The four-guest room property is hosted by John and Kate Kerr who are truly committed to sharing their special part of the world with their visitors. stoneflylodge.co.nz
Located on its own peninsula on Lake Tarawera, this lodge is dedicated to providing contemporary comfort in totally natural surroundings. Everything is here, just ask. solitairelodge.co.nz
Other regions to consider:
Milford Sound/Fiordland: fiordland.org.nz
Abel Tasman National Park/Nelson: nelsonnz.com
West coast of the South Island: westcoastnz.com