An adults-only retreat fringed by swaying tussock grass on the edge of Lake Te Anau, Fiordland Lodge is the luxury choice for travelers visiting Fiordland National Park on the South Island. The lodge was designed to magnify the inspiring local environment; that means 36-foot tree trunks for beams in the main lodge, a floor-to-ceiling fireplace laid with river stones, and glass walls that frame Lake Te Anau and the oft snow-capped peaks of Mount Murchison and Kepler Track. The palette is neutral and understated, always putting the emphasis on the exceptional natural beauty of the area.
Surrounded by 47 acres of rolling grassland, the main lodge and two private cabins feel like a world unto themselves—a beautiful, comfortable, and relaxing world that is at the gateway to the Milford and Doubtful sounds and all the other Fiordland National Park wonders.
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Fiordland National Park is the New Zealand most people dream about. Dramatic mountains zigzag perfectly along glassy sounds, luring travelers for a boat cruise or kayaking adventure. Just when they think the scenery can’t get any better, a dolphin will jump out from the boat’s wake. The rocky ridges, hidden waterfalls, lupine-covered valleys, and rainforested riverbanks of the Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler tracks draw avid hikers from around the world. Lake Te Anau, where Fiordland Lodge is situated, is magical in its own right. There’s a set of glowworm caves nearby, accessible only by scrambling and then rafting through pitch-black crevices.
Need to Know
Rooms: 9 lodge rooms, 1 executive suite, 2 log cabins. From $515, all-inclusive. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: Fiordland Lodge partners with local farmers, cheese makers, and other artisans while also sourcing ingredients from the on-site garden and the surrounding hills and rivers to create a dining experience that exudes a sense of place. The menu changes daily, but guests would be lucky to taste the braised rabbit pie, the merino lamb rack, or the glazed Akaroa salmon. Spa and gym details: Fiordland doesn’toffer any spa or gym facilities. Luckily, lodge guests are staying in one of the most spectacular natural playgrounds in the world, home to majestic sounds, fly-fishing streams, and three of New Zealand’s most famous Great Walks: the Milford, the Routeburn, and the Kepler Tracks.
Who's it best for: Discerning travelers who let the great outdoors dictate their plans. Our favorite rooms: The two log cabins are the most private, built from sun-cured tree trunks on an elevated site offering some the property’s best views of Lake Te Anau to the mountains of Fiordland National Park. The wood logs are New Zealand–grown Douglas fir, and the floors, ceilings, and other accents were finished in recycled native timber. Cabins sleep four or five people with the help of a mezzanine level. Good to know: Rather than dealing with the tedious permit process required to hike the Routeburn, Milford, and Kepler tracks, guests can book a Great Walks accommodation package and the lodge will make arrangements for them.The Kepler experience starts with a scenic helicopter flight over the hidden lakes and beech forests surrounding Mount Luxmore to the Luxmore Hut. The rest of the day is spent with a knowledgeable guide who can take guests up to the Luxmore summit for a high-altitude afternoon tea. Those who fall in love with the Kepler Peninsula can make a donation toward protecting it from invasive predators. Those who spend at least $400 are rewarded with a helicopter flight and volunteer day on the track.