This is lip-smacking, drooling, outrageously opulent luxury - and it's an adventure!
Over 50 years ago, Alan Pye, an Irishman, heard about an angler's paradise and headed for Taupo in the centre of New Zealand's north island. He was overwhelmed by the bounty of the lake and river and purchased land on the banks of the Waikato. He built four canvas-clad huts on a river bend right above the Huka Falls. His lodge was soon well-known for fine food and hospitality amongst natural beauty and tranquility.
Alex van Heeren purchased Huka Lodge in 1984 and has added luxury to Alan Pye's dream, creating one of the world's most-famous retreats.
Entry to the seven-hectare property is along a manicured driveway to the main building, which has reception, library and conservatory where guests gather in front of log fires to share a drink or two. Upstairs is the Hunting Lodge, decorated as its name suggests.
Floors are rich and warm and country furniture is complemented by wool fabrics, with specially-woven carpets to blend with the décor. The deep blues and greens of the river and forest, touched with the red of sunsets, complete the picture.
The five-course degustation menu is served at a long dining table, the trophy room, the terrace, riverbank or garden, in the orchard, at a table for two or in the cellar, which is under the orchard.
Lodge rooms are a short walk to a separate building which runs along the river, giving each room an uninterrupted view of the Waikato.
There is complete privacy. Each of the 20 suites is different, but all are decorated in the New England style. They are light, spacious and peaceful, have walk-in robes and fully stocked mini-bar.
There is a tennis court and spa and a petanque court tucked away. If you wish to venture further, there is a great range of recreational pursuits and adventures.
Lake Taupo has wonderful trout fishing and swimming and you can venture to isolated coves and bays around its edges. Waikato River offers excellent fishing. If you want to venture into hard-to-get-to places, heli-fishing is the way to go.
Chris Jolly Outdoors has been operating in the area for over 25 years. His business includes five large charter boats, a five-seat AS 350 Squirrel turbine helicopter and a Bell 47 helicopter and offers fly fishing, hunting, guided walking tours and excellent catering. They also have a watersports division, including waterskiing, wakeboarding, jetskis and self-drive boats.
Their helicopters have opened up the rivers of the Kaweka, Kaimanawa and Urewera ranges to the fly fishermen. Such rivers as the Ngaruroro, Rangitikei, Mohaka, Raukituri and Waiau, to name just a few, produce brown and rainbow trout of trophy size.
The Waikato is New Zealand's longest flowing river and Huka Jet can give you the ride of your life for 30 minutes in their jet boat. The boat skims along just centimetres from the cliffs, tipping up on the rapids and 360º spins.
Three hours south of Auckland in New Zealand
Huka Lodge rooms start at around $750 per person a night and include dinner, breakfast and transfers from Taupo Airport. Activities can be organised by the lodge.
Qantas flies daily to Auckland or Christchurch, with connections to Taupo, North Island, operated by Air New Zealand. Return economy airfares start at $877 from Sydney, $928 from Brisbane, $929 from Melbourne, $1241 from Adelaide, $1321 from Perth and $1568 from Darwin, per person. Prices include charges/taxes and are current at time of writing, but may vary at time of booking. Seasonal surcharges and conditions apply.
Huka Falls Road,
Taupo New Zealand
Ph: 64 7 378 5791
Fax: 64 7 378 firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Jolly Outdoors
PO Box 1020 Lake Taupo
Ph: 64 7 378 0623
Fax: 64 7 378 email@example.com
PO Box 563 Taupo
Ph: 64 7 374 8572 F: 64 7 374 firstname.lastname@example.org
Qantas: 13 13 13