New Zealand /njuːˈziːlənd/ (Māori: Aotearoa [aɔˈtɛaɾɔa]) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island (or Te Ika-a-Māui), and the South Island (or Te Waipounamu)—and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand’s capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.
Shane Green’s Top 10 New Zealand Hotels
Resort Rescue host and hospitality expert Shane Green shares his 10 favorite hotels in New Zealand. Here are the most amazing and romantic lodging experiences his home country has to offer.
Matakauri Lodge – Queenstown
Breathtaking water views greet you each morning as you savor the best food New Zealand has to offer. Matakauri gets it — they outshine most others with their stellar wines, amenities and staff. Close to many golfing, hiking and scenic adventures, this lodge is a treat for adventurous people who want to soak in the landscapes. Designed for travelers who want to unplug and unwind, Matakauri is truly a world-class experience.
Craggy Range Cottages – Hawkes Bay
Craggy Range is one of my favorite wineries in the country. The vineyard is spectacular, and the moody, foggy setting is perfect for a glass of wine that encompasses rich undertones and subtle flavors. My wife and I have enjoyed their food on several occasions, and we keep going back because of the unpretentious warmth and modesty of the setting and the staff.
Hapuku Lodge – Kaikoura
Who doesn’t love an adult-sized tree house? Hapuku Lodge is a collection of tree houses located in picturesque Kaikoura, which is home to some of the best whale watching in New Zealand. The view from each tree house is spectacular, and the experience is one to write home about. For those who like to spread out their road trips, this is also a perfect stopping point on the drive from Christchurch to Picton.
Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge – Kaponga
Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge is 15 minutes from the town where I grew up. It is in a great setting, located under one of the most picturesque mountains in the world—Mount Egmont (Taranaki). The lodge is also next to some great hiking trails and scenic waterfalls, which are great for families and adventurous couples. I like Dawson because it’s a taste of home, but the low-key setting is not for everyone.
Hilton – Auckland
The Hilton on the Auckland waterfront is a showcase for New Zealand’s passion for sailing. Home of the America’s Cup for 8 years, the waterfront is within walking distance of downtown Auckland, which is chock-full of great bars and restaurants. People choose Hilton Auckland for its interesting exterior, but the interior is just as aesthetically pleasing.
Kauri Cliffs – Bay of Islands
Kauri Cliffs is one of New Zealand’s most exclusive retreats. It’s located at the top of North Island, which affords spectacular views for guests who are wined and dined with the best New Zealand has to offer. Golfers will love this quiet retreat. The Bay of Islands is one of the must-see locations on North Island, and it’s only 4 hours from the international Auckland Airport.
Crowne Plaza – Queenstown
With some of the greatest views in the city, Crowne Plaza is a superb hotel for those who plan to go out late at night to soak up Queenstown. It might not be the most luxurious place in the world, but the setting makes up for it. If you want to enjoy the downtown district and wake up to glittering water views in the morning, the Crowne Plaza is a great choice.
The Classic Villa – Christchurch
The Classic Villa fulfills its name as the classic villa experience in the heart of Christchurch. I went to college in Christchurch and started my career in hospitality in this neighborhood, so it holds a lot of fond memories for me. The Classic Villa affords great personal service. If you go there, make sure you ask for Peter, and buy him a beer for me! For those who want a luxurious homestay travel experience, this place offers true insight into New Zealand hospitality.
Huka Lodge – Lake Taupo
Huka Lodge is the benchmark for all other New Zealand lodges. Because of its rare charm and ambiance, this resort has been ranked as one of the best hotels in the world since the 1980s. They have one of the greatest riverside settings of all time, fantastic food and an exceptional staff. Visitors are carried away by the rich, saturated hues of the waters and nature, as well as the interior paint selections and décor.
Mollies Hotel – Auckland
Mollies is truly a hotel with a lot of personality! Mollies is a genuine luxury boutique hotel, which has a style and flair that simply can’t be replicated elsewhere. Travelers get to experience a unique, intriguing insight into the local area through cuisine, smells, sights and sounds. They do a great job at Mollies of making each guest feel welcomed and appreciated.