Surrounded by spectacular peaks, beech forests, and serene lakes, this sophisticated back-to-nature lodge shares 2,400 hectares (6,000 acres) with its own high-country merino sheep station and nature reserve in a valley called Te Ko Awa a Aniwaniwa (Valley of the Mother of Rainbows). Rooms have balcony views of this incredible area. Full-day guided trips can take you to limestone caves, a tranquil lake, a glacier basin, or to spots where you might glimpse rare alpine plants
and kea (native mountain parrot); you'll soon share the owners' passion for preserving this environment. There is a sister lodge at Lake Moeraki on the West Coast.