The Best Resort Hotels in Australia & New Zealand in 2018

Exterior of the Alan Pye cottage at Huka Lodge
Photo: Courtesy of Huka Lodge

Australia and New Zealand offer an embarrassment of riches when it comes to outdoor pursuits, from diving on the Great Barrier Reef to hiking in the rugged terrain of New Zealand’s North Island. And thanks to an abundance of world-class resorts in the region, conquering these wild landscapes and sleeping in high style are not mutually exclusive. 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. Related: The 2018 World's Best Awards This year’s runner-up, Southern Ocean Lodge, epitomizes the idea of a remote getaway. Perched high above the crashing waves on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, the 21-suite property allows guests to immerse themselves in the destination’s awe-inspiring scenery— all limestone cliffs, scrub-covered dunes, and unspoiled beaches. Said one effusive reader of the property: “It’s one of the most spectacular places we have ever stayed. Rooms, food, views, service — it’s all amazing!” Over in New Zealand, natural beauty of a different sort can be found at Farm at Cape Kidnappers, which tied with Australia’s Qualia hotel for third place. The former is set on a working sheep-and-cattle farm on New Zealand’s North Island, and features 22 suites and a Tom Doak–designed golf course. Qualia, on the small island of Hamilton, is just as picturesque, owing to its unbeatable location at the tip of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef. “My favorite part is that they give each guest a golf cart to navigate the island,” said one reader. “Hope to return some day!” Curious to see which resort claimed the top spot? Read on to find out.

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3. (tie) Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia

Luxury bathroom at the Qualia resort on Hamilton Island
Courtesy of Qualia

Score: 94.67

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3. (tie) Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Interior of a suite at the Farm at Cape Kidnappers
Courtesy of The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Score: 94.67

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2. Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Couple enjoying drinks on the terrace of Southern Ocean Lodge, in Australia
Julian Kingsma/Courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge

Score: 95.58

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1. Huka Lodge, Taupo, New Zealand

View of the river from the dining area at Huka Lodge
Courtesy of Huka Lodge

Score: 96.20

Located on 17 acres of manicured gardens along the Waikato River, Huka Lodge feels like a grand country estate. “Exceptional in every way,” wrote in one fan of this luxe resort hotel, which also won top honors in 2007 and 2006. Its 25 suites are outfitted with antiques, oil paintings, and French doors that open onto private terraces, while the on-site amenities run the gamut from swimming pools and croquet lawns to tennis and pétanque courts. Off the property, the area is a nature and adventure-lover’s dream, with everything from whitewater rafting to trout fishing and horseback riding. After a long day of exploring, treat yourself to a glass of New Zealand Pinot Noir in the main lounge before tucking in to a feast of spanner crab and Southland lamb loin.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.

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