Settled stealthily in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, luxury lodge The Lindis blends seamlessly into the landscape; its undulating roof echoes the Huxley mountain range backdrop and floor-to-ceiling windows frame dramatic views. You’ll have few neighbours at this off-the-grid eight-room stay, where it’s easy to imagine you’re the only two to have ever explored the area. Trekking trails criss-cross the surrounding station, there’s a stable of ready-to-ride horses on-site and all manner of day-out adventures can be arranged on request (helicopter tours, anyone?). Decadent breakfasts and multi-course dinners are included with each stay and stress-melting spa treatments and private cookery lessons are on offer, too. Now which Otago wine will we toast with first?
Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from £1313.58 (NZ$2,600), including tax at 15 per cent.
Rates include daily buffet breakfast, pre-dinner drinks and charcuterie, self-guided activities and multi-course dinners.
In-room spa treatments can be arranged on request – relaxing massages, hydrating facials, beautifying mani-pedis or combinations of the lot.
The Lindis is closed from 1 June to 5 July every year.
At the hotel
Free WiFi. In rooms: TV with Netflix, Bose speakers, minibar (with included goodies), free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making kit, air-conditioning and Ashley & Co bath products.
Our favourite rooms
For peak seclusion, go for one of the self-contained Pods; each is covered in mirror-like panels and has a private terrace with an alfresco hot tub – now that’s how we like to do our star-gazing.
There’s a communal hot tub every guest can use – just tell the staff so they can heat it up for you four to five hours in advance.
Bring your hiking boots and your favourite adventuring outerwear – you won’t want to miss an opportunity to explore your surroundings.
There are no stairs at the hotel and the dining room has a bathroom that’s accessible for wheelchair users; guest rooms are not wheelchair accessible.
Over-sevens are welcome (or any age if the entire lodge is booked). Extra beds (NZ$600 a night) can be added to suites on request.
Solar panels and geothermal energy provide the heating, rainwater is collected and undergoes UV filtration, all food waste is composted, and eco-friendly cleaning and bath products are used. The restaurant uses grown-on-site produce, line-caught fish and free-range meat; the water bottles provided in guest rooms are made of plant-based plastic alternatives and sent back to the supplier to be recycled.
On pleasant days, claim a table on the terrace. Chilly or wet out? Settle for seats by the floor-to-ceiling windows to soak in the dramatic views.
Go for laid-back luxe in butter-soft merino wool.
We’d settle in for evenings in the restaurant even if no food was served – the view’s just that good. Interiors are stylish, too: bluestone walls, halo-like hanging lights and floor-to-ceiling windows. Happily though, the food is as good as the spectacular view. The menu is constantly changing, and always showcases the freshest regional ingredients. For lunch, choose from made-in-house pastas, warming soups or hearty fillet steaks. At each multi-course dinner (included with your stay), look forward to the likes of hand-made kumara (that’s sweet potato to non-Kiwis) gnocchi served with Lindis Pass cheese sauce, or Mana lamb rack with chicory and grilled aubergine. Save room for panna cotta drizzled with wild-thyme honey or local cheeses with house-made chutney.
Breakfast (also included with your stay) is a leisurely affair. Fuel your days of adventure with fluffy berry pancakes, fruit-topped açaí bowls, breakfast hash with dukkah or home-made sourdough muffins with Aoraki salmon. Rich coffees and eye-opening teas are on offer, too.
The cosy bar is stocked with, you guessed it, the country’s best wines (a whole wall of them and more). Take a tip on which bottle to try next and settle into the sofa – or take up a sporting session of billiards. There’s also an impressive selection of whiskies, gins and cocktails – try the signature Lindis cocktail: a thyme-infused shaken vodka number with Manuka honey syrup and a hit of limoncello.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am (timings are flexible, on request) and pre-dinner platters and drinks appear at 6pm.
The Lindis is in the Ahuriri Valley on Ben Avon station, a 6,000-acre dramatic plot of land two-and-a-half hours from Queenstown.
Queenstown Airport is two hours away by car; the hotel can arrange transfers in a Mercedes sedan for up to four people for NZ$1,100 each way.
Driving in New Zealand’s a breeze; to get to the hotel from Queenstown, follow State Highway 6 to State Highway 8, then turn left onto Birchwood Road. Your journey will take around two hours, plus a little time to ooooh and ahhhh over the landscape.
If you’re making your way down from the North Island, a ferry can transport you (and your car) across the Cook Strait.
Worth getting out of bed for
Take your pick from the plentiful array of walking trails that wind around the station; there’s a gentle 75-minute loop track that starts from the lodge entrance, then follows the river before looping back into the main gate. Remember to ask for a radio and tell the staff your plans before you go. More comfortable on two wheels? Self-guided e-biking tours can be arranged. The Lindis is also home to 16 horses and a cute-as-a-button miniature pony; beginner equestrians can go for an easy ride by the lagoon and more experienced riders can trek through the beech forest.
Resident guide Andy Clay offers private target-shooting sessions for both beginners and seasoned shooters. For guided fly-fishing, you’ll need to book far in advance (at least nine months before arrival); there’s a desk in the lobby where guests can DIY their own snazzy fly bait.
If your interests are more on the culinary side, join chef Cesare for a tour of the property’s eco-farm or a private pasta-making class. Wanaka’s vineyards and cellar doors are an hour-and-a-half’s drive from the estate, and The Lindis can arrange private helicopter tours to Cloudy Bay Vineyard.
Spend your evening star-gazing – thanks to zero light pollution, the Milky Way is clearly visible to the naked eye – while you polish off your newly acquired bottle of Otago’s finest.
Ahuriri Valley tracks are within the same reserve – ask for a private guide or someone to drop you off and pick you up if you’d prefer a more romantic hike. You can also explore the 49,000-hectare Ahuriri Conservation Park by 4x4 or get a bird’s-eye-view (and a true slice of silence) in a glider with local outfitter Glide Omarama, which operates out of Omarama airport.
Walk in Sir Edmund Hillary’s footsteps with a visit to Aoraki (Mount Cook); Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park is an hour away by car. Fancy a speedier journey? Helicopter transfers can be arranged on request.
You’ll be well fed at this sumptuously secluded stay, so there’s no need to venture out on a sustenance-sourcing mission. There’s not much in the way of eateries in the area (although you’ll have your fill of dramatic scenery); Omarama, the closest town, is about a 30-minute drive from the lodge.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this eco-friendly luxury hotel in New Zealand’s South Island and unpacked their bottles of pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, a full account of their boutique break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside The Lindis in North Otago’s Ahuriri Valley…
Tucked into a dramatic landscape of rugged mountain country, tussock lands, wetlands and beech forest, luxury lodge The Lindis blends seamlessly into its surroundings. The curved roof echoes the undulations of the neighbouring mountain range and cherry-hued woods and blue sandstone are used throughout. A perfectly secluded boutique hotel, The Lindis is extremely eco-friendly – vegetables are grown on site, electricity is solar-powered, the list goes on – and home to a stable of noble steeds and one very jaunty miniature pony.
Spend your days exploring the area, but arrive back at the lodge in time for a leisurely soak in your freestanding bath tub before decadent multi-course dinners (all included with your stay) with a seriously striking view. After dinner? That’s when the stars (and a fresh bottle of wine) come out…