Locations don’t get more dramatic than this. On New Zealand’s rugged South Island lies Mahu Whenua against a backdrop of vast, jagged mountains. The sanctuary’s estate is made up of four sheep stations stretching 50 kilometres all the way to Queenstown.
Mahu Whenua means “heal the land” in Maori. An apt name for a resort that prioritises the environment and inspires immersion in nature. Since 2005 the owners have planted more than one million native trees and shrubs, and native birds are returning to the land.
Exploring the estate on foot is a must, and you’ll be given a radio, so you don’t get lost in the wilderness. Other ways to experience the landscape include horse riding, heli-biking and four-wheel drive.
The lodge itself is run on solar power. Contemporary art on stone walls complements the huge windows framing ever-changing views of Lake Wanaka. Open fires and sheepskin rugs make it cosy whatever the weather outside. There’s also a heated outdoor pool and deck, large living room, dining room and library.
All food and drink are complimentary, including an extensive wine collection. Talented resident chefs make use of fresh, local produce in dishes such as native salmon with seared scallops or roast lamb. When night falls, there are five luxurious suite rooms, one with a connecting bunkhouse for children.