The Best Resort Hotels in Australia and New Zealand in 2016

Huka Lodge
Photo: Patrick Reynolds

As these resort hotels can attest, immersing yourself in jaw-dropping nature doesn’t have to mean sleeping in a tent. For outdoorsy folk heading to Australia and New Zealand, the region offers accommodations that encourage visitors to unwind in style. Some of these properties are perched on cliffs, with stunning views of the ocean; others are tucked inland and surrounded by wilderness. 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, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. In the hotels category, readers rated properties on their rooms and facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Hotels were categorized as resort properties based on their locations. Qualia (bordering the Great Barrier Reef) and the Southern Ocean Lodge were recognized as the best in Australia. Guests at Qualia have little reason to leave the resort, but those who do — for a round of golf, perhaps — can do so by helicopter. Kangaroo Island, home to Southern Ocean Lodge, is covered in nature reserves; guests are encouraged to venture out and encounter the local wildlife, like koalas and kangaroos. Over in New Zealand, guests at the Matakauri Lodge loved the fact that the property feels secluded despite being extremely close to Queenstown. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, one of Matakauri’s sister properties, sits on 6,000 acres of pastureland and is a fantastic destination for those who really love food. The culinary team aims to produce as much as possible on site, including homemade breads, jams, and chocolate chip cookies. Topping this year’s list is Huka Lodge in Taupo, roughly in the center of New Zealand. Guests are treated to rooms on the Waikato River and activities that range from hiking to skydiving. “It's the most expensive property in New Zealand,” said T+L reader Susan C. Hennessey. “It is also the most spectacular.”

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No. 5: Matakauri Lodge, Queenstown, New Zealand

Matakauri lodge
©Miz Watanabe/

Score: 93.74

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No 4: Qualia, Hamilton Island, Australia

Jason Loucas

Score: 94.89

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No. 3: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Cape Kidnappers
Courtesy of The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Score: 95.33

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No. 2: Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Southern Ocean Lodge
Courtesy of Southern Ocean Lodge

Score: 97.39

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No. 1: Huka Lodge, Taupo, New Zealand

Huka Lodge
Patrick Reynolds

Score: 97.65

If the secluded 17 acres of garden and landscaped grounds don’t hook you, the cuisine at Huka Lodgejust might. Executive chef Paul Froggatt uses seasonal ingredients for his five-course dinners, served at the property’s indoor and outdoor restaurants. During the day, guests can open their French doors for access to the Waikato River. Fishing for trout is thus a popular activity, but Huka also has tennis, croquet, and petanque courts, plus a pool complex. Those looking ot relax can opt for massages and beauty treatments in the comfort of their rooms.

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