Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge
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.
Hotel and restaurant on the seafront. In the northeast corner of New Zealand’s North Island lies Helena Bay Lodge. This luxury lodge features three kilometres of pristine coastline, four private beaches and many intimate coves. Helena Bay has brought the celebrated Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of southern Italy to New Zealand. Under the direction and influence of Don Alfonso’s philosophy of respecting food culture, the kitchen incorporates the age-old traditions of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. The property offers a wide range of activities including kayaking, fishing, farm tours and bicycles. Its 800 acres combine a mix of forestry and open paddocks; and with miles of tracks there is plenty to explore. ... Learn moreless
On 6th February 1840, by signing the Waitangi Treaty, the Maori chiefs signed the official birth certificate of their nation. Now a memorial, Treaty House still holds a copy of the famous treaty. Each year, on the anniversary, a compact crowd gathers for great festivities, saluting the flag, songs and traditional dances, and the launching of the impressive pirogue Nga Toki Matawhaorua…
Bay of Islands is a name which amateur sailors of the southern hemisphere and Pacific dream about. In 1769, the navigator James Cook was the first European to sail through the middle of these dozens of rocky virgin islands. It was he who called it ‘Bay of Islands’. Two and a half centuries later, we still come from afar to tack through these turquoise waters, accompanied by dolphins, and admire a sky so famed for its great purity.
Hotel and restaurant in a park. Huka Lodge has enjoyed a location of great natural beauty, on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, since it was founded as a very simple trout fishing camp, in 1924. It nestles within a landscape of snow-capped peaks, wild tussock, lush forests and clear blue lakes and streams. This legendary retreat continues to define absolute style, while offering privacy and relaxation, with authentic outdoor adventure, for those who appreciate exquisite cuisine, personal service and unique experiences. Offering a truly exclusive experience, within 17-acres, Huka Lodge proudly taking its place amongst the world’s best retreats – with its reputation and awards all richly deserved. ... Learn moreless
Survey this unique and unspoiled landscape ringed by three active volcanoes including Mount Ngauruhoe’s near-perfect cone (similar to Mount Fiji). If your fitness level allows, the climb up to the crater is a fantastic experience. Due to the volcanic nature of the surroundings of Huka, there are many hot springs all over the national park. Enjoy the experience for yourself!
Lake Taupo is the perfect spot to leave the world behind. New Zealand's largest lake was formed almost 2,000 years ago during a massive volcanic eruption. You have two options: hire a small boat to explore the huge lake or go fly fishing on the mighty River Tongariro - one of the best spots in Oceania for large wild trout.
Hotel and restaurant in the country. In Maori, Wharekauhau means “place of knowledge”, as it was here where the wise men would come to learn their craft. The name has remained as a testament to the past. Nearly two centuries later, a large sheep station took its place here and finds itself still in activity today. In this farm setting, overlooking the Palliser Bay, the lodge cultivates a refined art de vivre, with a welcoming decor that mixes antiques with natural materials.It is surrounded by vast native gardens where the croquet lawn, flowers, orchard and vegetable garden stand alongside one another, with the latter two supplying the restaurant where a delicious revisited “Kiwi” cuisine is served. ... Learn moreless
Take the ferry to South Island through the superb Marlborough Sounds - and drive south from Picton via Kaikoura. Make sure you stop off often at the beaches south of Kekerengu (excellent café to stop off at) and view the seal and penguin colonies. Food trucks positioned along the seafront sell crayfish fresh off the grill (like lobster, but better). In Kaikoura, a whale watching trip is a must-do. Several species of whale migrate a stone’s throw from the coast in what is one of the ocean’s deepest trenches.
It is regarded as one of the most pleasant capital cities in the world! Wellington is famous for its blowing winds, kind and non-conformist locals and art gallery treasures (don’t miss the City Gallery Wellington in Civic Square). Wellington, is also a city for food lovers and coffee fans (Prefab, on Jessie Street). You’re in heaven...
Hotel and restaurant in the country. At the heart of a 19th century Victorian estate, Otahuna Lodge seamlessly knits past and present together: period woodwork, stained glass windows and fifteen working fireplaces combine with a host of modern comforts and a rich collection of contemporary New Zealand art. Outside, Otahuna, which is Maori for little hill among the hills, has striking views over the Canterbury Plains and the Banks Peninsula. The song of native bellbirds invites guests to discover hidden glades, ponds and more than 120 different kinds of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and mushrooms in the historic gardens. ... Learn moreless
Otahuna backs onto the volcanic Banks peninsula. The superb Summit Road follows the sides of the old crater and leads into the charming little town of Akaroa. This former French settlement continues to cultivate its different way of life and its blooming gardens. Vines and olive trees grow in stark contrast to this volcanic environment. In Otahuna, the Onuku Maori Marae is worth a short visit for its church and picturesque houses.
A little south-east of Christchurch lies the small town of Lyttelton that was extensively damaged in the 2011 earthquake. Perhaps more than anywhere else, the residents here have brilliantly improvised to revive their town. Could this be down to the Bohemian feel that prevailed here before the quake, and is now back again? Bars, cafés and restaurants have “naturally” re-established themselves. Lyttelton is still a happy, arty place...
The mountain with two names: Aoraki/Mount Cook. The highest summit in New Zealand has an elevation of 3,754m. Sacred to the Maori, Aoraki is still a national symbol. Trails are set out so you can take in the splendid surrounding glaciers. More experienced hikers can hire a professional guide to climb one of the mountain’s slopes.
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
Queenstown is the world’s top destination for extreme sports. People come here to leap into mid-air (paragliding, hang-gliding and sky diving), tear down the slopes on skis, conquer the white water rapids, bungee jump etc. Mountain bikers love Queenstown Trail and the unbelievable trails in Bike Park. Queenstown is a paradise for speed and height fanatics and thrill seekers …
Rippon is one of New Zealand’s most charming wine-growing regions and also home to the vineyard run by Nick and Jo Mills, a couple of enthusiasts who practise biodynamic agriculture. Near here you will find Two Paddocks vineyard owned by Sam Neill, New Zealand’s famous actor who starred in Jane Campion’s The Piano and Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. This quality vineyard produces excellent New Zealand Pinot Noir and Riesling wines...
An icon in the heart of the Fiordland National Park, Milford Track is described by every guidebook as one of the world’s most beautiful hiking trails! At a little over 50km long, it takes 3-4 days from start to finish, depending on your fitness. From October to May, advance booking of overnight stays in the huts is recommended to complete the walk.