The Top Resort Hotels in Australia & New Zealand in 2017

Southern Ocean Lodge
Photo: Courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge

When you’re spending 14 hours on a plane just to get to your vacation spot of choice, expectations naturally run high. A disappointing weekend getaway can be written off as a lesson learned, but the stakes are higher when you’ve ventured all the way around the world. Your hotel has to bring its A-game. That’s why, in Australia and New Zealand, our readers chose properties that truly wow. These resorts not only check off all the basics for a five-star stay — a prime location, impeccable service, and well-appointed rooms are a given — but also bring something extra-special to the table. Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities. Collectively, the resort hotels on this year’s list offer a cross-section of Australia and New Zealand’s best offerings. For foodies, there’s wine tasting at the Louise, a low-lying stone lodge in South Australia’s vineyard-studded Barossa Valley, where guests can blend their own vintage, sample fresh produce at the area’s farmers’ market, or even do a picnic breakfast with a family of kangaroos. In New Zealand, outdoorsy types can bed down at Matakauri Lodge, in the adventure capital of Queenstown. Its fresh, modern interiors and cinematic views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains are an indulgent way to cap off a day of whitewater rafting or hang gliding. “Such an incredible hotel — spectacular views from every room,” said one fan. And, of course, there’s world-class golfing at the No. 1 property, the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs. It’s No. 4 on the best hotels worldwide list this year, and with its polished rusticity and wealth of activities (sailing in the Bay of Islands, quad-biking on 90-Mile Beach) and indulgences for golfers and non-golfers alike, it’s easy to see why readers can’t get enough. Read on for the complete list of this year’s winners.

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5. Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

Matakauri Lodge
Courtesy of Matakauri Lodge

Score: 94.97

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4. The Louise, Barossa Valley, Australia

The Louise
Courtesy of The Louise

Score: 96.22

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3. Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Southern Ocean Lodge
Courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge

Score: 96.30

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2. Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers
Courtesy of Cape Kidnappers

Score: 96.54

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1. Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, Matauri Bay, New Zealand

Lodge at Kauri Cliffs
Courtesy of Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

Score: 98.61

Set on a 6,000-acre property overlooking the sea, the 22-suite Lodge at Kauri Cliffs feels at once refined and remote. It’s on the eastern shore of the North Island (set up a predawn wake-up call and watch the sun rise from your cliff-top dwelling), and the estate itself encompasses three private beaches and dense native forest, along with one of the best golf courses in the world. There’s a fantastic spa, as well as plenty of spots for curling up with a book — the suites, which are done in a sleek, traditional style, have fireplaces and private porches, and the main lodge’s sunny veranda is particularly inviting. And should all that unwinding get to you, the lodge offers a full roster of activities, including watersports and adventure excursions. “This is a truly remarkable find at the end of the earth,” said one reader.

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