The kitchen churns out hearty breakfasts (have an omelet with eggs from the lodge’s chicken coop) and world-class five-course degustation dinners, with most ingredients sourced on site—try dishes like sweet corn soup with avocado, lime, and prawns, followed by pan-seared local venison with quince jus and estate vegetables, all paired with fine New Zealand wines.Guests can sign up to harvest their own produce, or for private cooking classes.On bluffs perched above the Pacific Ocean, the 6,000-acre Kauri Cliffs lodge (a 2011 Fodor’s 100 Hotel Award winner) overlooks the beachfront landscape from the lounge, dining hall, and verandahs.

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Tag along on her travels through Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, and Latin America—and on the high seas in between—as she reports back to on captivating cruises, hot hotels, and timely travel trends.

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Across the country, a smattering of sophisticated "super-lodges" have cropped up, intimate high-end (and high-priced) retreats basking in international accolades for their high service standards, superb cuisine, and stunning settings.

Just back from a month on the ground there, I’ve vetted picks for five ultimate, uber-, ultra-luxury hideaways, each cradled by nature and oozing high design.

Activities like fishing, guided bird-watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, and clay pigeon shooting can also be arranged (some at an extra fee).

For golfers, the par 72 championship golf course trumps all, with a cliff-top course overlooking the sea, plus a practice range, putting and chipping greens, and golf shop on site.

With 25 well-appointed units granting access to the lush riverbanks, the lodge’s greatest allure is its welcoming lobby space, where blazing log fires, antique furnishings, and well-to-do guests converge nightly for cocktails and five-course dinners.

Choose communal dining or retreat to one of more than 20 private dining nooks scattered around the property, like the cozy library (Her Majesty’s preference), romantic underground wine cellar, trophy room, riverfront jetty pavilion, and more.

Established as a sheep station in the 1840s, the estate turns over a mesmerizing array of landscapes from lake-speckled forests to verdant pastures, and the windswept coastline of Palliser Bay.

Head out hiking, or sign up for mountain biking, horseback riding, or ATV quad bike adventures (for an additional fee) to take it all in.

The Queenstown area invites adventure, from the more casual hiking and biking (the resort offers complimentary loaners), to high-octane white-water rafting and bungee jumping.