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JENNY EVANS channels her inner Tarzan to enjoy a remarkable tree house experience.

WHEN MOST people think of a tree house, they conjure up images of a small, rustic cabin hanging precariously from the branches of a tree.

However, the architecturally designed arboreal dwellings at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses defy such stereotypes.

Nestled on the northeast coast of New Zealand’s South Island, just a few kilometres north of Kaikoura, Hapuku Lodge is a serene sanctuary situated between rugged mountain ranges and the expansive Pacific Ocean.

Thirty-one steps lead up to the entrance of my tree house and each step is worth the effort.

The panoramic windows offer awe-inspiring views of snow-capped mountain ranges, extending over the hotel’s olive groves and all the way to the ocean – a natural spectacle you could spend an entire day appreciating.

The interior decor harmonises beautifully with the surrounding scenery, featuring locally sourced wood, handmade furniture and textiles that echo the colours and textures of the environment.

Flanked by comfortable chairs, a cosy fireplace offers a welcoming nook to relax and pass the time.

Meanwhile, the en-suite bathroom features floor-to-ceiling windows while maintaining privacy. The deep, freestanding bath aligns perfectly with flowering Kowhai trees filled with local birds.

Add to that a rainwater shower, intuitive lighting and an advanced toilet complete with a heated seat and you’ve got the ultimate in luxury.

State-of-the-art amenities have been thoughtfully provided, including fast internet, streaming services, an iPad concierge, high-quality bath products, freshly baked cookies and a complimentary mini bar.

Importantly, sustainability is not compromised, thanks to eco-friendly amenities, solar panels and a waste management system so efficient it goes almost unnoticed.

Beyond the room (should you manage to tear yourself away) you’ll find an outdoor pool, heated spa pool, sauna and gym. The on-site spa offers a range of massage treatments, ensuring you achieve the highest levels of relaxation during your stay.

The main lodge is home to a spacious, comfortable lounge featuring a roaring open fire – the ideal spot for a pre-dinner drink. Additionally, ground-level accommodation is available for those who prefer staying closer to Earth.

The restaurant prides itself on its farm-to-table cuisine, incorporating organic produce either grown on the property or sourced from local vendors.

My dinner experience was a culinary delight, featuring a four-course meal that included an amuse-bouche – a wafer-thin pastry ball filled with crème fraîche, tomato and olive tapenade, made from their own olives.


Breakfast was equally impressive, offering a comprehensive menu from which I was encouraged to order anything, or everything!

Set within a 200-hectare deer farm, the lodge offers additional activities to explore. Mangamaunu Bay is a mere 15-minute walk east through the farmland, while the 48-kilometre Kaikoura Cycle Trail lies just a few hundred metres on the other side of the Hapuku River.

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses is a remarkable destination, offering truly unique and sumptuous accommodations and delectable cuisine, all set in a tranquil and luxurious setting.