With over two miles of stunning coastline, four private beaches, and countless intimate coves, Helena Bay Lodge is the ultimate romantic escape.
Helena Bay Lodge is a delightfully intimate retreat located in the northeast corner of New Zealand’s North Island. Here, amidst the sound of crashing waves and stunning views over the South Pacific Ocean, guests will find a home away from home.
Guests will enjoy exploring the individual rooms of the main house decorated with eclectic artwork and treasures, which the owners have collected during their travels around the globe. These captivating and fascinating pieces complement the opulent interior design.
Helena Bay Lodge hosts a maximum of five individual couples accommodated in five luxury suites named after New Zealand native birds.
All the Suites have extensive balconies with views overlooking Helena Bay’s beaches and beyond to the South Pacific Ocean. Leica binoculars are provided for the opportunity to view bird-life, visiting whales and dolphins, and vessels tracking across the bay out to sea.
The inspiration for the architecture of the Lodge came from a desire to achieve timeless legitimacy in the region. Facilities are generous and include a gym, sauna, massage room, a 25-metre heated swimming pool, library, lounge areas, informal and formal dining areas, and an outdoor firepit.
Served on exquisite dinnerware by Villeroy & Boch, meals at Helena Bay Lodge are always a unique experience. Each night the choice of dining venue is yours; an elegant candlelit dinner in front of one of the many roaring log fires or on the terrace looking out to the South Pacific Ocean. These are just some of the fantastic options.
Helena Bay has followed the typical boom and bust cycles of farming in Northland. The property was cleared for farming around 1910 by Benjamin Le Clerc and his son Ben. The Le Clerc family were early settlers and contributed significantly to the development of the area.
The property was first used as a runoff for the main farm, but in 1931 when Ben married, it became his farm, and he moved there with half of his father’s stock – 80 cows in total. In 1960 Ben’s son Peter married, and as was the tradition, he took over the Helena Bay farm.
In the early 1970s, Peter amalgamated the two farms, moving the dairy operation to the original farm. Helena Bay was converted to a sheep farm which remained until the 1980s when the decision was made to revert it to a dry stock farm due to economic factors.
In 1987, after 27 years of farming the property, Peter Le Clerc retired. The stockbroker Mike Daniels purchased the property. He decided to retrench and gave up the lease on the Mohei block. Like many New Zealand farmers, he was drawn into the potential returns offered by plantation pines, and he planted 90ha of pines on the property, which remain today.
The poor returns of coastal farming limited the investment that could sensibly be made into the property. In 2007 Helena Bay was purchased by the current owners. A new lease was entered into with the owners of the Mohei block bringing the farm back to its original size of 304ha (750 acres), allowing for lower intensity farming.
A Wagyu beef breed programme was introduced in partnership with New Zealand’s leading Wagyu breeding co-operative Firstlight. The pine forest was assessed and registered for carbon consumption and took on a new role as a carbon sink rather than pine production. The property consumes 50,000 tons of carbon per annum, making Helena Bay very carbon negative.
ROOMS & SUITES
Each of the five luxury suites features a super king bed dressed with carefully chosen, sumptuous hand-made linens, hypoallergenic pillows and duvets, and luxurious towelling. The bathrooms showcase exquisite mosaic tiling, complemented with refined accessories and delightful guest robes.
Various eco-friendly and locally crafted amenities provide the finishing touches to ensure that every element of the experience at Helena Bay Lodge exudes sophistication and luxury. Leica binoculars are provided for the opportunity to view bird life, visiting whales and dolphins, and vessels tracking across the bay out to sea.
Our two 1,450 square-foot Villa Suites with exquisite sea views and full air conditioning. Each has a separate living room; these can be interconnected to accommodate a party of four travelling together. These suites also feature real log-burning, gas-ignited fireplaces.
Our three 700 square-foot Junior Suites – Hihi, Kea & Tui – have gorgeous ocean views and full air conditioning. Two of these suites can be twin configuration, subject to availability.
THE MAIN HOUSE
For this reason, styling ideas were taken from early European buildings such as the Treaty House in Waitangi, Pompallier Mission House in Russell, Te Waimate Mission House in Kaikohe, and the Stone Store in Kerikeri. Modern materials were used, but the appearance is of a building that could have been built a century ago.
The building’s base is clad in Northland sedimentary schist, sourced from a nearby quarry, that formed part of the ocean floor 30 million years ago. Fragments of ancient coral, crustacean, and mollusc shells have been captured within the stone. Construction of the Lodge began in 2010 and was completed in 2016.
Guests will enjoy exploring the individual rooms of the main house decorated with its eclectic artwork and treasures, which have been collected by the owners during their travels around the globe. These captivating and fascinating pieces complement the opulent interior design.
Each night the choice of dining venue is yours. An elegant candlelit dinner in front of one of the many roaring log fires or perhaps on the terrace looking out to the South Pacific Ocean. During the day, poolside lunches or a picnic on one of our private beaches are available. Whatever your mood, the chefs and Lodge staff are on hand to look after your every wish.
Helena Bay has brought the celebrated Michelin starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of southern Italy to New Zealand. Under the direction and the influence of Don Alfonso’s philosophy of respecting the local food culture while incorporating the age-old traditions of the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi Coast, fine dining defines the hospitality experience at Helena Bay.
Significant investment has been made at Helena Bay to offer guests ‘Estate to Plate’ cuisine. The menus, which change daily, are created following the Don Alfonso philosophy.
THE FORMAL LOUNGE LOGGIA
The Formal Lounge Loggia is set up for you outside, where you can admire the stunning sea views. Don’t worry about getting cold as your dining is set up next to our outside fire-place. With prior notice, we will have your exclusive evening arranged and tailored to suit your requirements.
The Den is our smallest, most intimate private dining area. Comfortably seating two, this intimate room hosts our library along with a log fire. You will also find a selection of board games to enjoy. The Den is a cosy space to spend a romantic evening with your loved one.
We invite you to indulge in an authentic and personalised massage therapy treatment. Our experienced and highly qualified massage therapists will tailor your massage therapy to offer a comprehensive and holistic approach. After a thorough consultation, our therapists will offer advice on the most beneficial personalised massage therapy to achieve optimal results,
THE SWIMMING POOL
The central courtyard of the lodge surrounds a spectacular 25-metre heated swimming pool which is kept at 28°C (82°F) and opens from 5.00am to 10.00pm. The outdoor pool is ideal for gentle morning exercise or to unwind after a busy day. Afterwards, why not enjoy the opportunity to lounge on our poolside terrace and soak up the sun.
The purpose of a sauna is to cleanse the body through perspiration. This involves opening the skin’s pores and flushing out the impurities in the body through the process of sweating.
The effects of the sauna are numerous and varied. Many people find that the sauna relieves the symptoms of minor illnesses such as colds, revives the muscles after tough physical exertion, and clears the complexion. The sauna experience will often leave you feeling very much alive. Your senses will be sharpened, and your tactile sensitivity heightened.
The benefits of a ‘hot sauna, cold plunge’ go way back to the Nordic cultures who originated the technique – a twenty-minute sauna session, followed by a cold water dip or cool shower.
Ideally, the hot/cold exposure is repeated until the body is completely relaxed. Sometimes referred to as the Nordic Cycle, the ‘hot sauna, cold plunge’ technique is intense. The combination of hot and cold triggers the blood vessels to constrict rapidly, elevating blood pressure. The benefits of this are both physical and psychological and immediately noticeable.
Looking for a way to start your day full of energy? Our gymnasium is open 24 hours a day and is fully equipped to include a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical cross trainer, upper body trainer, rowing machine as well as free weights and gymnasium accessories. We have complimentary water and soft drinks available and the Spa is just next door
This region has a long history of Māori and European habitation; there are thousands of archaeological sites in Northland. The coastline boasts many prominent pā sites (former Māori fortifications).
There are five pā sites on Helena Bay Estate. An archaeologist’s estimate suggests that up to 250 people may have called this land their home. With direct access to the ocean providing an abundant food source and the terrain affording excellent defences, this is not surprising.
There is clear evidence of cultivation on the property, with kumara pits and terraces still visible today. During the Lodge’s construction, two ko (Māori digging instruments) were unearthed and sent to the National Museum for preservation.
The first Europeans here were of Croatian descent. In the early days, Helena Bay had a first-class reputation for wine production. Focus on the farm soon moved to dairy and sheep, followed by establishing pine forestry and dry stock.
The Māori name for Helena Bay is Mimiha, named after a small black fish. The name Helena Bay came from the first European woman settler, Mrs Helena Hutchinson. She and her husband Charles had the first store at the bay.
Mrs Hutchinson was a kind woman who worked with local Māori, teaching and nursing. That the bay was eventually named after her shows the deep respect held for Helena Hutchinson.
The wide choice means it is up to you to decide how much – or how little – you would like to do each day of your stay at Helena Bay Lodge. For a slower pace, relax and unwind with a massage or facial treatment at our in-house spa, followed by an afternoon at the pool.
For those keen to explore the expanses of the Lodge take a tour of the farm and gardens with one of our staff, cruise the coast on a kayak or paddle-board or take to the sky for a bird’s eye view with a scenic flight in our very own Agusta Westland helicopter.
We have a specially designed day pavilion at one of our most beautiful private beaches, Mohei Bay. It houses a kitchenette, bathroom, shower, and sun loungers along with a fabulous outdoor area – perfect for a day escape within the property.
Mohei Pavilion is complimentary and available to book exclusively any time during your stay, or if you are feeling adventurous, you can choose to kayak there. Not only does the pavilion offer complimentary non-alcoholic beverages, we also have a fantastic take-away picnic menu which you can request to be set up at a pre-arranged time.
WALKS ON THE PROPERTY
We have many beautiful walking trails on the property. They are signposted, so don’t worry about getting lost. They showcase the beautiful fauna and flora that New Zealand has to offer. The flora is particularly unique in New Zealand as it has evolved in isolation for millions of years.
Our walking trails will take you through peaceful native bush where you will see varied plant and animal life, including the silver fern or ‘ponga’, New Zealand’s national symbol.
For those choosing a late-night stroll, glow worms can be seen amongst the vegetation in a valley on the property. These gnat larvae use their glowing lights to attract small flying insects into a snare of sticky threads. Their lights resemble a star-filled night sky. Māori call them titiwai, which refers to lights reflected in water.
The property abounds with a variety of bird life, both native and introduced. Many native species are flourishing, assisted by our comprehensive trapping programme to reduce predators, providing safe habitats for our avian friends.
Our trails aren’t just for walking; we also have mountain bikes and top-of-the-range electric bikes for you to use. From beginner to advanced, we have marked tracks for every level providing a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time and burn off some calories.
POLARIS 4WD RANGERS
We have electric 4WD Polaris Rangers comfortably seating two persons to use any time during your stay. With over 800 acres to explore, why not make your way to the highest point on our property (near the helipad) to watch the sunset or take a trip to one of our four private beaches.
Our tennis court is open to guests all year round and is floodlit for those who wish to play in the evening. If you don’t have a partner to practise your backhand with, we have a tennis ball machine which simulates playing, along with other various training modes to try. Alternatively, the AstroTurf can be arranged for football, volleyball or badminton.
FARM & GARDEN TOUR
Our Lodge is just as exciting outdoors as it is indoors. With numerous gardens and animals to visit over a diverse and varied landscape, a personalised farm and garden tour with our knowledgeable staff is a must-do whilst staying with us to learn more about the relationship between nature and our reliance on it.
Aim, fire, and experience the thrill of claybird shooting at our purpose-built shooting range. Claybird shooting is a great activity for those who enjoy shooting and want to harness their aim in a safe and cruelty-free environment.
Learn to safely handle a shotgun in the company of a professional instructor, and take aim at the flying orange targets. Follow your tutor’s advice carefully, and you’ll never forget the satisfaction of shattering your first clay!
Helena Bay Lodge owns and operates RURU – a 14.2m (46.5ft) luxury cruising and fishing vessel. Designed from the keel up with safety and comfort in mind, it comes fully equipped with two bathrooms and a hot freshwater shower.
Spacious indoor and outdoor spaces ensure no matter what the weather, enjoyment with comfort and shelter from the elements is available. Our friendly crew can take care of up to twelve guests at a time.
Ruru is the perfect vessel for fishing the local waters and we have all the equipment required no matter which type of fishing you enjoy. For those wishing to explore the nearby coastline, the Bay of Islands or Poor Knights Islands are a must-do experience.
We also have stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkeling gear for added close-up enjoyment of marine life. Both full and half-day charters are available and can be customized to ensure everyone makes the most of their stay.
Keen on fishing but don’t want to venture out too far? Then why not enjoy an afternoon by the water on our very own pontoon. We have an extensive range of top-quality fishing equipment and can put down burley to attract plenty of fish from the reef waters of Helena Bay where you can find an abundance and vast variety of fish.
Snapper is one of New Zealand’s highly prized eating fish and is often caught off our jetty or surrounding rocks. Bring back any ‘keepers’ and our chefs will prepare and cook it for you – it doesn’t get much fresher than that!
Please be aware that New Zealand has strict marine conservation laws, including the size and quantity of catch. We will provide you with all necessary measuring equipment and will advise you of your catch limit for each species.
KAYAKS & STAND-UP
We have a beautiful and fascinating natural coastline waiting for you to explore. We have top-of-the-range Barracuda kayaks to try, including fishing kayaks and our incredibly lightweight sea kayaks. Not only is it a great way to explore our property from the water, it is also a great way to improve your fitness and strength.
We also have multiple Stand-up paddleboards, a great activity to perfect your balance and get great views as you surf along the sea. Dip beneath the waves and discover a coastal under-water world by making use of our complimentary snorkeling equipment. Spot fish, coral, crustaceans and kelp forests.
If you enjoy golf, then look no further. We have some world-renowned courses nearby, just waiting for you to try. Boasting some of the most majestic views in the golfing world, let us organise a bespoke golf tour you won’t forget! We can even arrange a helicopter pick up and drop off for those special courses a little further afield. Fit for a president!
Kauri Cliffs was designed and built by David Harman of Golf Course Consultants Orlando, Florida. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside the cliffs which plunge to the sea. One hour 40-minute road transfer or a 21-minute helicopter flight.
Waitangi Golf Club is a local public golf course providing exciting and ever-changing challenges to the golfer and a tremendous panorama of sea and island views. One hour 10-minute road transfer or 12-minute helicopter flight.
WAITANGI TREATY GROUNDS
Learn New Zealand’s history of how two peoples came together as one under the Treaty of Waitangi, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This is an absolute must-do for anyone visiting New Zealand. Your tour will take you through native forest with stunning views of the Bay of Islands.
See the intricate carvings, traditional waka (canoe) and experience the hāngi. Not only will you enjoy inspiring Māori cultural performances, you will also discover the momentous events that shaped our nation in 1840.
Horse trekking is a wonderful way to see the stunning Tutukaka coastline, with expansive views stretching north and out to the Poor Knights Islands.
We work with a boutique provider who will take complete care of you while you enjoy a comfortable ride with their beautiful, well-loved horses through scenic farmland with stunning ocean views and secluded beaches. There is also the added opportunity to swim with the horses in the ocean. Confident beginner, intermediate and advanced riders only.
Another fabulous way to see the Bay of Islands is by catamaran. Whether you relax in the spacious saloon or sit up forward and lounge on beanbags, you will be able to take in a little slice of paradise.
With protected marine life all around in the pristine, calm waters you will explore some of the 144 islands that the Bay of Islands has to offer. There are four kayaks, one stand-up paddleboard, as well as snorkel gear and fins for you to enjoy.
HOLE IN THE ROCK’ DOLPHIN CRUISE
Set off on a three-hour Bay of Islands cruise in search of dolphins and other marine life. Enjoy views from a catamaran Dolphin Seeker and journey right to the end of Cape Brett Peninsula, to the famous Hole in the Rock on Motu Kōkako Island.
THE CREAM TRIP CRUISE
Take a cruise through the Bay of Islands, following the original cream delivery route from 1927. This is the perfect cruise for nature lovers and is the most extensive historical cruise around.
Enjoy sights such as the impressive Black Rocks, experience the famous Hole in the Rock, and explore Urupukapuka Island during the island stopover. For a duration of seven hours – this guided tour really is the cream of the crop.
Poor Knights Marine Reserve is a must-do destination for any diver visiting New Zealand and the South Pacific. We can arrange trips to suit every level of experience so anyone can enjoy these world-renowned waters. Why not try our day trip with your own private dive boat picking you up from our pontoon?
Helena Bay Lodge owns the only AgustaWestland 109s Grand in New Zealand. It is a premium, new-generation, light twin-engine helicopter enhanced with the latest global navigation satellite system for all-weather operations.
Under instrument flight rules (IFR), our helicopter can reach speeds of up to 290km/h (155kts) and is flown by navigational reference to instruments and radio or satellite aids. Pilots must be specially trained, endorsed, and regularly checked for application of these skills.
This allows our clients to relax in the knowledge their flight can continue in poor weather or at night. This VIP aircraft features an air-conditioned interior with leather seats, a spacious cabin, high strength airframe, and crash-resistant systems for passenger comfort and safety.
This scenic flight showcases New Zealand’s nearby stunning scenery from the air. Your very own experienced and knowledgeable pilot will be your tour guide and take you over breathtaking views that are not to be missed.
We are happy to tailor-make your day for you. Why not fly right up to the tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga, or be dropped off in Paihia and met by a boat so that you can experience New Zealand from the air and the ocean all in the same day!
WAIHEKE ISLAND WINE TASTING
Sit back and relax as you enjoy the scenic helicopter flight over the Hauraki Gulf to the stunning Waiheke Island. Let your taste buds come alive as you sample some of the best wines on offer and then sit down to enjoy a delicious lunch at a fabulous island vineyard.
WAITOMO & HOBBITON HELI TRIP
Travel by helicopter and tick off two amazing attractions New Zealand has to offer in one day! Experience Waitomo and see the thousands of other-worldly glow worms in majestic caves with your own eyes.
The next stop is Hobbiton, where you will have a two-hour private tour of the famous movie set. For an optional add-on, stop off at beautiful Waiheke Island to savour a glass of vino at one of the top wineries the island has to offer.
Allow us to organise a rock fishing adventure to remember! Experience a completely private fishing retreat in the rich and diverse marine habitat that New Zealand has to offer.
Not only will you have a bird’s eye view of the stunning scenery making up the land and seascape below, but you might also be lucky enough to see dolphins, whales, and stingrays. The trip duration is roughly six hours and a picnic lunch is included for you to enjoy while waiting for the big one to bite.
HELI TOUR OF CAPE REINGA
This option is for our adventure seekers! You will take flight in our helicopter to Cape Reinga for a tour of the far north, enjoying an aerial view of the famous lighthouse, 90 Mile Beach, and the stunning coastline.
Dune surf your way down the Te Paki sand dunes and get your adrenaline pumping. A short helicopter ride later and you will find yourself in Henderson Bay exploring the remote beaches and scenery on quad bikes. This action-packed day will not disappoint!
Take a flight and soak up the spectacular views of the 144 islands that make up the Bay of Islands. Taking off from the Bay of Islands (Kerikeri) airport, experience up to 60 seconds of a free-fall tandem dive, something you’ll never forget. Choose a photo or video package to keepsake the memory, and we guarantee you will be buzzing for the rest of your stay!
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful and peaceful scenery of the Bay of Islands parasailing from 1,300ft in the air. You have the option of flying solo, flying tandem, or as a double or triple.
Departing from Paihia, the heart of the area, take the opportunity to feel like a bird and get some great shots from the sky for 10 minutes. Private chartered trips are also available. This trip lasts about 1 hour 30 minutes and can hold up to 12 people on the boat taking turns to parasail.