The Covid-19 has changed travel. The idea of cramming into a crowded cruise ship or hotel no longer has the appeal it once had.
Many of us go on vacation to escape the daily grind, and as Covid-19 spreads across the country, escaping crowded vacation spots is likely to become more and more appealing.
Here are some of our favorite places where you can do just that.
Luxury for adults only
Wellington is home to a spectacular new adults-only retreat on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the Cook Strait.
Pipinui Point sits on the outer edge of a massive 1,600 acre coastal farmhouse, with stunning views of the South Island.
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The retreat is designed for a maximum of four adults, regardless of the weather.
On a big windy day, you can watch a storm unfold next to the fire. On a clear day, stroll along the cliff-edge trail to experience the majesty of this secluded coast.
However, regardless of the weather, you’ll want to press the mute button next to the TV.
This automatically fills the outdoor bath, which will be ready to submerge after a short walk.
A slice of the tropics
Tucked away at the southern end of Golden Bay, near Abel Tasman National Park, is Golden Bay Hideaway – a series of private eco-retreats nestled in the native bush.
There are five options to choose from, including the ‘Tiny Greenie’, an impressive little house with two queen-size beds on different levels. The Hippy House dates back 20 years when some of the region’s colorful figures began to build an elaborate place to call their home. It has been restored and now looks like a miniature mansion with rooms on several levels – perfect for a family reunion.
One of the most popular is known as Little Greenie. This is designed for couples, with stunning views of the coast through floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor soaking tub. But, the most remarkable thing is not immediately obvious. It’s one of the best eco-homes in the country, rated nine stars, which means it’s almost entirely self-sufficient.
Solar energy heats everything, including the floors. Advanced sliding doors conserve energy by sealing the home, and even the walls are made from special heat-absorbing bricks, meaning the retreat hovers at a constant temperature of 19 degrees – a welcome respite during the months. summer. There is also an advanced odorless compost toilet.
You can enter any of the retreats using an intercom, and each is separate in its own corner of the bush, meaning you won’t have any contact with the others.
Have you ever heard of Makarora? This little slice of mountainous paradise sits near the southern end of the Haast Pass between the West Coast and Wānaka.
The small community is bordered by Mount Aspiring National Park and provides a launching pad for great walks.
Settle into the Wild Earth Lodge, with spectacular views of the Wilkin Valley – and its looming mountains – right outside your front door. A night here is also a great stop on your way between Queenstown and the West Coast. Better yet, the only crowds in this part of the world are of the four-legged variety: cows and sheep.
The Thunderbirds are gone
There’s no better way to escape the crowds than to get underground, and you can do it – literally – in the Far North.
Crab Cove Cave sits north of the Bay of Islands, nestled in a private bay.
The cave is built into the side of the hill, like a miniature version of Thunderbirds, and full of surprises: you will find a bottle of wine on arrival, a sauna, a huge double shower, a private beach and a terrace overlooking a magnificent coastal view.
If you’ve ever been to the Greek island of Santorini – with its tiny cave hotels jutting out from the cliffs – this looks like a very Kiwi version.
One of Northland’s lesser-known boardwalks is also nearby. The Mahinepua Peninsula Trail is like walking on the spine of a dragon – lying in the ocean – with stairs taking you along the ridge line to discover a series of empty beaches.
Camp like kings
Nestled in one of New Zealand’s oldest working farms is a luxury glamping getaway worthy of royalty.
Clifton Glamping is located in Cape Kidnappers, less than half an hour from Napier.
You will receive a code to enter the gate and follow the treasure hunt type instructions to check in.
Luxurious touches include rattan chandeliers, a large cabinet to store your belongings, fresh flowers and plants inside the tent, and an indoor fire to keep you warm during the colder months.
It’s glamping for those who don’t want to sacrifice comfort; it has a flush toilet and you can even order a delicious food platter to make dinner effortlessly.
Four excellent wineries are a five minute drive away, but Clifton Glamping has done it all so well you won’t want to leave. And the local wine is just a few steps away in the fridge.
On track to relax
Just over an hour from Christchurch, nestled in a sprawling High Country farmhouse, is one of the South Island’s most unusual glamping getaways – an immaculately restored train car.
With views of the mountains and the constant stream of a nearby river to fall asleep to, The Carriage at Rockwood Station is a place to relax.
There is a pool for hot summer days and two outdoor baths for stargazing on a cool night in Canterbury. This getaway emphasizes the ‘glamor’ part of glamping – complete with a dishwasher, indoor tub, and hot shower, in addition to your usual flush toilet.
It’s also perfect for a family getaway, with another double room at the other end of the carriage.
Pipinui Point starts from $ 575 per night in low season (May to August) and from $ 775 per night in high season for two people. An additional couple can stay overnight in the second bedroom for an additional charge. See: pipinuipoint.co.nz
One night at The golden bay refuge ranges from $ 135 to $ 275, with a two-night minimum stay. goldenbayhideaway.co.nz
Lodge Terre Sauvage starting at $ 180 per night. See: wildearthlodge.co.nz
The Cave at Crab Cove ranges from $ 275 to $ 350 per night per couple including breakfast. See: crabcove.co.nz
Glamping in Clifton starts from $ 350 a night with a two night minimum stay. Grazing boards for dinner start from $ 120. See: cliftonglamping.co.nz
Rockwood Station The Horse Drawn Carriage is $ 295 a night. See: canopycamping.co.nz
Stay Safe: New Zealand is currently subject to restrictions related to Covid-19. The latest travel tips can be found at: covid19.govt.nz.
Carbon footprint: Flying generates carbon emissions. To offset your carbon emissions, head to airnewzealand.co.nz/sustainability-customer-carbon-offset
The author has been hosted by the various properties mentioned and does photography for Canopy Camping, although any inclusion is based on merit.