New Zealand is blissfully aloof from the world’s troubles. On previous visits, I have played golf on some of the most dramatic courses on earth and passed happy hours in the country’s exceptionally hospitable wineries. This time I went fly-fishing for trout and discovered a sporting estate that was a leading candidate for my Hideaway of the Year.
Taupo, New Zealand
New Zealand has innumerable fly-fishing lodges, as the country boasts the best trout fishing in the world. However, in my experience Poronui is in a class of its own. Set on a 16,000-acre private estate, it comprises a main lodge with seven lavish cabins, Blake House (for exclusive use) and the Safari Camp with two tented suites. Guests may fish on the Taharua and Mohaka rivers, which flow through the grounds, or opt to be ferried by helicopter to remote streams high in the mountains. Aside from the superlative fishing, Poronui is distinguished by fine cuisine, extremely comfortable accommodations and an exceptionally professional and charming staff, organized with exemplary skill by the delightful manager, Eve Reilly.
Ngatimoti, Nelson, New Zealand
Edenhouse is an idyllic hideaway set amid 50 acres of gardens at the northern tip of New Zealand’s South Island. It comprises just two spacious suites in the main house and a separate two-bedroom garden cottage. Here, you feel like the private guests of Peter and Bobbie Martin, a worldly and amusing couple, whose residence this is. The entire staff at Edenhouse live in the neighboring valley and are clearly considered to be part of an extended family. As a result, the atmosphere is unusually relaxed and welcoming. The talented cook uses local ingredients whenever possible, and the food is memorably delicious. Guests may hike or kayak in nearby national parks, visit local wineries or, with advance notice, go heli-fishing for trout. Despite all these attractions, the principal reason to stay at Edenhouse is to experience the Martins’ extraordinary hospitality. They are consummate hosts.