There are two types of winter getaway: escaping altogether to warmer climes or embracing the cold by booking somewhere you can hunker down cosily. In lieu of chasing European summer, why not stay closer to home? Whether your taste skews towards the luxe side of life or you’re more drawn to a petite, off-the-grid cabin, our guide to bookable retreats up and down the country will have you feeling like you’ve left daily life behind.
Marua Retreat, Northland
Despite its location on a rural Hikurangi farm, this cabin is anything but hard work. Enjoy cosy morning sleep-ins in the king-size bed and board games by the fire. Then, if you get sick of being indoors, follow the path to the tropical-style hut for a soak in the woodfired outdoor bath – or to toast marshmallows in the firepit. Your backdrop will be native bush and sunsets in the evening – and while the vibe is back-to-nature, you’ll still have crucial amenities such as a hot shower, a fridge to chill your wine and well-stocked cooking facilities. This cabin also has great birdwatching potential, with binoculars provided to look out for kiwi – and its location in the “winterless north” means you might be in for milder weather.
Castaways Glamping, Auckland
Castaways’ various accommodation options include chalets and villas, as well as “glam camping” for a host of group sizes. If you book glamping as a couple, you’ll be able to stay in either a coastal setting overlooking Karioitahi Beach or among native totara trees in the forest nearby. While they’re billed as suitable year-round, we think a winter soak in an outdoor tub before you snuggle into the king bed is the stuff dreams are made of – dreams lulled by the sounds of the waves crashing below. Each “couples glam camp” includes an ensuite and kitchen set-up, as well as central heating. The bookings also all include dinner and breakfast packages with cooking instructions – as well as treats and wine.
Unyoked launched in Aotearoa from Australia just over a year ago, to offer Kiwis the chance to escape from the stresses of modern life, into nature. Currently, there are three cabins in the Raglan area, each set on a remote piece of land that’s between 300 and 750 metres from where you park your car. Suitable for two people, each cabin is comfortable and cosy, with a gas stove, hot showers, fridge, towels and bedding provided. There’s no wi-fi – but that’s the point.
Pipinui Point, Wellington
Only half an hour’s drive from central Wellington, this 65-square-metre retreat epitomises sustainable luxury. Able to sleep four in two bedrooms, it’s located on a clifftop with spectacular views over the Tasman Sea from the spacious deck – or the outdoor hot tub. While you’ll feel worlds away from the city, there are plenty of stylish amenities including wi-fi and phone reception, a TV and Bose sound system, fridge-freezer, Webber barbeque and more. Light the wood-burner, and tuck into a feast that’s been prepared for you by head chef Warren Maddox (who also works for wedding and events venue Boomrock, run by the same family). You can also explore the area by walking along the cliffside or doing a coastal safari farm tour.
Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses, Kaikōura
Located on a South Island deer breeding farm, this getaway is backed by the Kaikōura Seaward Mountain Range with the coast a kilometre away. It comprises varying accommodation, including lodges and suites, but we’d book one of the five tree houses perched at least 10 metres off the ground like the best version of a childhood hideout. Three of them sleep two, and the others sleep four, but every tree house has a deep-soaking tub and fireplace, cantilevered decks and huge windows that bring the outside in.
The Kite, Abel Tasman
Whether or not you’re embarking on the famous Great Walk, the Abel Tasman National Park is a natural playground – and this purpose-built one-bedroom villa is a contemporary, high-spec spot to relax. Explore the nearby Pemako Farm, warm up near the fire brazier, soak up some winter sunshine from the hammock, or the swing on the verandah. When you do finally want to settle in for the night, you can wind down in the indoor or outdoor bath, and then wake up to views of the garden from the king-size bed.
High Country Cabin, Twizel
You’ll get a back-country experience in this thoughtful abode – but also an extremely comfortable one. A well-designed take on a tramping hut, this cabin has a log burner and wooden interior that’ll encourage you to curl up with a hot chocolate and a book. It’s really the location that sets this cabin apart. Located in the heart of the Southern Alps, you have access to snowfields, national parks and glacial lakes. Exhaust yourself skiing, hiking or mountain bike riding all day, and come home to stay warm and wind down in luxury.
The Lindis Pods, Ahuriri Valley
Speaking of luxury, you’d be hard-pressed to find more sumptuous surroundings than The Lindis. There’s a main lodge with three Lodge suites and two Master suites, or you could opt for something more novel with the Pods. Each pod is a petite 18 square metres, and is fully heated with double-glazed glass walls, an outdoor bath, king bed and outdoor seating area that looks out over the valley, mountains and Ahuriri River. They’re located near the main lodge but in complete privacy, giving you a worlds-away feel.