The 20-minute helicopter flight to this backcountry outpost in the Southern Alps takes you over the deep-blue waters of Lake Wanaka, across tussock grasslands and forests of beech, and up to the head of a glacier-carved valley where New Zealandâ€™s firstÂ luxury tented lodge sits above a braided alpine stream.
Why you’ll want to go:Â Accessible only by chopper, the Minaret Station Alpine LodgeÂ is quintessential South Island high countryâ€”rugged, hushed, elemental. The lodge, established by the Wallis brothers in 2011 on the highest reaches of their familyâ€™s 26,000-hectare sheep and deer station, is an escapistâ€™s dream.
Rooms:Â There are only fourÂ tented suites in total, arranged around a central restaurant and library, all with sheepskin carpets, under-floor heating, and hot tubs on their terraces.
Things you can do:Â When not soaking up the Tolkienesque splendor of the setting, guests can go on hiking adventures, tour Minaret Station’s farmâ€”home to some 10,000 deer, 7,000 sheep, and 1,000 cattleâ€”picnic on mountaintops, or hop back in the helicopter for fly-fishing outings or way-off-piste skiing, depending on the season.
For more information, visit Minaret Station.