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My Route du Bonheur

New Zealand from North to South

Julian Robertson
By Julian Robertson, Owners of three Relais et Châteaux hotels in New Zealand: The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers and Matakauri Lodge

Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge

+1 800 735 2478 * *Local charges apply
“Julian Robertson was born in North Carolina, in the United States. This American founded a veritable financial empire with Tiger Fund and fell in love with the landscapes of New Zealand, where he has built three of the most beautiful hotels in the Pacific. Demonstrating his love for the country, he recently presented fifteen masterpieces to the Auckland Art Gallery, including paintings by Picasso, Gauguin, Matisse and Mondrian, after having made a large donation following the earthquake which struck Christchurch in 2011. Julian Robertson has been named an Honorary Knight Companion of New Zealand, the country’s most important honour. It was in 1978 that I came to New Zealand for the very first time. My wife and I had decided to take a few months off to spend some time with our young children, and for me to write the great American Novel. We spent six months here and I loved every minute of it. In 1995, I finally returned here and embarked on the Kauri Cliffs project. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was only the first step of a personal and financial investment. Since then, I have been coming here several times a year to enjoy the incredible New Zealand landscapes, which are perhaps the most beautiful in the world. A lot of my friends think of me as part-Kiwi now…”
Suggestion of itinerary
  • 3 hotels
1
(720 km)
2
(1200 km)
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To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.


1 Matauri Bay — 3 Nights
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs

Matauri Bay - New Zealand

Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. Set on 6,000 acres near Matauri Bay, Northland, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs offers spectacular 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean, and overlooks a championship golf course. The beautiful panoramic view encompasses Cape Brett, and the Cavalli Islands. This splendid plantation lodge has a spacious living room, two private day rooms and a beautiful dining room with outdoor decks overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The magnificent spa facility is located in a native Totara forest, while the cottages are nestled on the edge of the forest and have been designed to offer the same stunning vista as the veranda of the main lodge. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
23 rooms
1 villa

Close to the property
Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

Built in 2001, the Kauri Cliffs golf course is considered to be the finest work of the late architect David Harman (who was a business partner of Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer). Within the space of two years, David made some 46 round trips between Florida and New Zealand, to transform the wild landscape into a unique golf course. The course offers 18 holes spread over 6,510 metres (par 72) in a breathtaking setting: 15 holes look out over the Pacific Ocean, and six of them are set right on the cliffs. One year after the course was completed, it was already ranked among the finest courses in the world. Former world number one Frederick Couples put it very simply: It’s the most beautiful place I have ever played.


Tane Mahuta

Tane Mahuta

Located in Waipoua Forest, Tane Mahuta is not just any tree. It belongs to the Kauri species, the oldest of which have enormous trunks and are actually considered gods by the Maori. Tane Mahuta means Lord of the Forest. The first time I came here, my companion, a man over six and a half feet tall, was reduced to childlike wonder at the sight of this tree. I remember that the sun set slowly, until a final ray of sunlight flickered through the branches. A magnificent spectacle.


A Northland Helicopter experience

A Northland Helicopter experience

It is here, off the coast of the northern point of the North Island, that the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean. From the helicopter, you can witness some of Nature’s greatest wonders, soaring over cliffs and a glorious coastline. With a bit of luck, you will see schools of fish, or even the sharks and whales that inhabit this corner of the earth, forgotten by man. This is my favourite out of the many flights we offer to our guests.

1
(720 km)
2
(1200 km)
2 Hawkes Bay — 3 Nights
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

Hawkes Bay - New Zealand

Hotel and restaurant on a golf course. This lodge is a golfer’s paradise but it also has a whole lot more to offer. The golf course meandering along the top of the green cliffs is just one of the many reasons to stay here. Nestled in a great wine region, it is an ideal base from which to discover the surrounding estates and find out more about the country’s wines. Some visitors may have the moving experience of getting up close and personal with the endangered Kiwi bird. Rafting and fishing in the rushing torrents, galloping along the immense beaches on horseback, relaxing in the spa, and embarking on helicopter and hot air balloon rides are just some of the many pleasurable ways to spend the days here. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
23 rooms
1 villa

Close to the property
A wild paradise

A wild paradise

The Farm at the Kidnappers seems to have its own ecosystem. In the area around the hotel, you can discover incredible bird species, including the almost 20,000 Northern Gannets that come to nest along the cliffs between September and April. There is also the kiwi, the wild bird which is the symbol of New Zealand. Kiwis cannot fly. During the day, they hide in burrows or under tree roots, and at night they look for food on the ground. You will also discover the tuatara, a lizard endemic to the island which seems straight out of the world of dinosaurs, and which wanders unfazed among the visitors ...


Hawkes Bay’s wines

Hawkes Bay’s wines

Since the mid 19th century, Hawkes Bay has been famous for producing some of the best wines in New Zealand. Missionaries from France planted and worked the first vines here. The region, it should be noted, is one of the country’s sunniest and also has a maritime climate conducive to the making of quality red and white wines. Its Merlot and Cabernet feature on the menus of the country’s best restaurants.


Cape Kidnappers Golf Course

Cape Kidnappers Golf Course

Here you can play in the midst of pastures, between greens, bunkers and sheep. The magnificent Pacific is within driving distance! The fifteenth hole is dubbed the pirate’s plank. The game continues between chalk cliffs, looking out over the little manukas, or tea trees, which in spring sport pretty red flowers. Designed by Tom Doak, the course has also been rated in the top hundred most beautiful courses in the world by the highly respected Golf Magazine. The course could be described as firm and fast (18 holes, 6,510 metres, par 71). One tip: watch out for the wind!

1
(720 km)
2
(1200 km)
3 Queenstown — 3 Nights
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

Matakauri Lodge

Queenstown - New Zealand

Hotel and restaurant on a lake. On splendid, mysterious Lake Wakatipu, the cradle of ancient Maori legends and one of the most serene landscapes in the world, Matakauri Lodge offers stunning views of the mountain ranges. Each of the beautiful suites has a private porch, bedroom with sitting area and open fireplace, a walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. Eight of them are outlying, the three other are housed in the main lodge, which also boasts a spacious lounge, dining and living areas with views of the lake. A magnificent spa with pool, sauna and fitness centre all combine to make this the ideal retreat, just seven minutes from Queenstown. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
13 rooms

Close to the property
Queenstown, a unique place

Queenstown, a unique place

I really like Queenstown. This little town with scarcely 10,000 inhabitants has some of the best dining in New Zealand. Located close to a beautiful lake and superb mountains, Queenstown is above all the adventure capital of the world. The scenery around the town has inspired my friend Peter Beadle, one of New Zealand’s foremost landscape painters. I like to lose myself in his paintings of Lake Wakatipu, the Southern Alps and the forests of Fiordland.


Discover Milford Sound

Discover Milford Sound

At over 12,100 km², Fiordland is New Zealand’s biggest national park. It is made up of many fjords, including the splendid Milford Sound. The nature here remains wild, and this part of the island is classed as a Unesco world heritage site (Te Wahipounamu). My son who manages our hotels often comes here to fish and brings home amazing catches. I went with him once, but I don’t think I caught a single fish!


Adventure and thrills

Adventure and thrills

The area around Queenstown is a dream come true for nature lovers and thrill seekers. No two days are the same here. Within the space of a few hours, you can go from bungee jumping to rafting, to paragliding, to a hike on a glacier. People come from all over the country to ski, jump and climb. I’m no longer of an age for that, but I love the town’s youthful and enthusiastic atmosphere. The scenery was an inspiration for director Peter Jackson, who shot many scenes of his Lord of the Rings trilogy here.

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