Mike and I returned to Queenstown to tour a number of hotels in town and had a great lunch at Madame Woos prior to making the 45 minute scenic drive to Blanket Bay Lodge.
Situated on Lake Wakatipu near the eclectic town of Glenorchy, sits the magnificent Blanket Bay Lodge. Mike visited the lodge shortly after it opened 15 years ago for a brief tour and we are extremely pleased that it remains one of the finest lodge retreats in New Zealand.
Construction of the lodge began in 1997. The beams used in the construction are Australian hardwood called jarra brought to New Zealand in the mid 1800’s reclaimed from an assortment of old railway bridges on the South Island. Additional timber came from a wharf on the Brisbane River, the Walter Peak Steamer Wharf and New Zealand hardwood from old wool sheds. After a 2 1/2 year construction period with 12 stonemasons crafting 2,000 tons of local schist, the lodge emerged as an architectural masterpiece and has widely been regarded as one of the top luxury lodges for many years.
The five lodge rooms and seven lodge and chalet suites all have private bathrooms, super king beds, sumptuous sofas and chairs and each have spectacular lake views. Other on property amenities include a spa, whirlpool with glass doors opening to spectacular views of the Remarkables Mountains, an outdoor pool, game room, gym, on property hiking trails, horse riding on the adjacent Wyuna Station and a new boat soon to be launched.
There is a helicopter based next door and many of our clients enjoy scenic heli-excursions to Milford Sound, backcountry fly fishing, or a wine tour of central Otago. Heli-skiing is also available in the winter. Other popular activities include a jet boat trip on the Dart River, a high country hike with a naturalist or trekking on the Routeburn Track, one of the most popular scenic hikes in the country.
Mike and I enjoyed a nice dinner on the outdoor terrace in front of the fireplace with Brent and his bride, Caroline. With the nightfall arriving early in the autumn season, heaters and wraps are also available to chase off an evening chill if required. For a truly intimate dining experience, request a table in the property’s wine cellar.
When in Glenorchy, be sure to grab a bite for lunch at the Glenorchy Cafe and visit The General Store.
We are pleased to have Brent Hyde back in New Zealand after seven years in Bhutan now managing Blanket Bay Lodge. We had worked with Brent previously at another South Island lodge and he has always been a close friend of Frontiers. With the proliferation of new high end properties in New Zealand, Brent and his team have recommitted themselves to making Blanket Bay Lodge the best in the business. We look forward to seeing the improvements to come.
Even though you can easily reach Blanket Bay Lodge within an hour of the Queenstown center, this is a destination that we suggest you consider as a complement to your stay in town. With so much to offer, you can easily spend a few days here, as well as in town, offering two very distinct experiences.
By Kristene Fitzgerald, New Zealand Destination Specialist