A stay at Mahu Whenua is magical and out of this world. It’s more than pampering, silver service and a luxurious bath robe. It’s exactly what luxury and comfort should be.
From the moment you step through the generous wooden doors the sumptuous and relaxed surroundings immediately ease you into a sense of serenity which is only intensified by the jaw dropping views from the front lawn which stretch out over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding majestic mountains.
Although it’s only a ten minute helicopter ride most guests choose to drive themselves, enjoying the country roads as they wind their way through the awe inspiring Central Otago countryside. (It’s 90 minutes from Queenstown airport).
The lodge itself is an attraction in its own right. It is luxurious, homey, charming, welcoming and paired with the most heart-warming hospitality. It is designed in the style of a high country homestead. Throughout the lodge there are so many spaces to hideaway and unwind.
Relax with a book, or if you are travelling as part of a group, socialize with friends in the great room enjoying fabulous wine and food, fun and uninterrupted alpine and lake views.
Enjoy dressing up for dinner to celebrate a special occasion or just stay as you are after a day lying by the pool, or enjoying some of our favourite lodge activities including e-biking, horse riding, yoga, skiing and hiking. The team of staff at the lodge make every part of your stay a truly exceptional indulgence.
The lodge offers five luxury suites. All the suites are individually styled and offer magnificent views, luxury linen and unparalleled service. And when you get there Wanaka township is only twenty minutes away which means that guests also get to enjoy everything this quaint lakeside town has to offer.
There are an unlimited number of activities to enjoy in this picturesque part of the world from strolls around the lake to golf and jetboating to sampling multi award winning wines and world class cuisine from local cellar doors.
And what cannot be done in town, Mahu Whenua more than caters for with their own range of activities which include hiking, biking, horse riding, riverside picnics, helicopter excursions or relaxing with a good book by the pool.
There is literally something for everyone. Although easily accessible Mahu Whenua still manages to exude total privacy and seclusion.
It’s as if it’s your own personal national park with a sprawling 136 000 acres (55 thousand hectares) of sustainable land made up of lush green valleys , forests and towering mountains covered with acres of native forest which is constantly being regenerated.
Honestly this eco sanctuary boasts some of the most dramatic natural alpine scenery you’ll ever see. Horse riding allows you to explore the miles of custom-made trails through dappled woodland and meandering rivers.
Or for the more curious, their informative four-wheel drive excursion takes you into the heartland of the property, where you will soak up the history of this iconic place, learning stories of the early settlers and prospectors and take a first-hand glimpse at the largest private conservation undertaking in New Zealand’s history.
Though the Lodge doesn’t allow hunting on the property after all Mahu Whenua literally means Healing the Land, their team are more than happy to set up hunting trips for you on neighbouring stations.
Then when you have finished a day’s exploration, this stunning lodge offers some exquisite five star cuisine pairing some of the regions finest produce and wines prepared by Mahu Whenua’s own private chef.
Relax with an aperitif beside one of the crackling open fires and watch the sun go down and the clear night sky explode with a thousand stars before you retire to one of Mahu Whenua’s sensuous suites.
And when your stay comes to an end you will be pining to return as soon as possible. Because Mahu Whenua truly nourishes the soul, because it’s out of this world. It’s simply magical.
From the moment you arrive at Mahu Whenua you’ll instantly know that you are somewhere special. The Ridgeline Homestead will be your haven as well as your base for the duration of your stay.
In complete privacy, the Homestead boasts captivating views of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. Behind the Homestead and stables extends an immense land of classic New Zealand scenery – grand mountains, alpine lakes, meandering rivers and winding valleys.
You may wish to stay in one of the five luxury Ridgeline Suites. Or you may prefer exclusive-use of Mahu Whenua which enables you to have up to 12 guests for your stay.
From the Homestead, you can relax, absorb the breathtaking views and be indulged by our attentive team. Inside, you’ll find a rustic design that incorporates locally sourced materials and modern features to ensure easy living.
There are endless spaces to unwind: a sprawling farmhouse kitchen, large open living room with uninterrupted views, dining room, library and numerous outdoor areas, which will allow you to simply sit and absorb the scenery, dine outside or lounge poolside.
The on-site helipad is perfect for easy helicopter transfers or heli-based activities. The Homestead and Cottages are the perfect base from which to explore and experience the many activities available on-site at Mahu Whenua, or nearby at Wanaka, Queenstown, Fiordland National Park or Mt Aspiring National Park.
Activities available on-site include horse riding, mountain biking, hiking, yoga, spa services, cooking courses and heli-skiing.
Mahu Whenua is also an eco-sanctuary, so you’ll have the opportunity to take conservation tours to learn about the native plant and bird projects underway and sustainable farming practices being undertaken on the property.
All stays are hosted with a dedicated concierge team and creative and innovative chefs to cater exceptional cuisine and premium cellar selection wines.
THE RIDGELINE SUITES
Five luxurious Ridgeline Suites offer incredible views and supreme privacy. Sleeping up to two people each they feature a king or king-split bed and ensuite with bath, and are equipped with WiFi, television and a telephone.
The Komako Family Suite also has an adjoining bunk room which can accommodate 2 additional children <16 years old.
With each suite stay you’ll have access to all of the Homestead facilities including two open fireplaces, a large open living area with expansive views and a fully equipped farmhouse kitchen. Inside the Homestead you’ll also enjoy two dining areas, library, as well as plenty of storage.
Outside, there are several spots to unwind – two dining areas, a spa pool (hot tub), sheltered swimming pool and large decking area to make the most of the incredible views and location.
Three of the five Suites are located inside the Homestead and boast uninterrupted views of the mountains and Lake Wanaka.
- Tui Master Suite: king bed and ensuite with bath (sleeps 2)
- Kereru Guest Suite: king or king-split bed and ensuite with bath (sleeps 2)
- Komako Family Suite: king or king-split bed and ensuite with bath (sleeps 2) – adjoining bunk room available for max 2 additional children <16 years.
The two Cottage Suites are adjacent to the Homestead and nestled privately amongst native beech forest with fabulous views of the Motatapu Valley, mountains and stables.
- Weka Cottage Suite: king-split bed and ensuite with bath (sleeps 2)
- Pukeko Cottage Suite: king-split bed and ensuite with bath (sleeps 2)
Accommodation includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, pre-dinner canapés, refreshments and picnics, as well as one complimentary premium wine or beverage served with canapés.
Exclusive-use stays are an additional cost and include all five luxury suites as well as the family bunkroom. To find out more about exclusive-use stays, click here. Or you may wish to see our Rates & Inclusions or make a Booking.
FOOD & WINE
The cuisine at Mahu Whenua will be an integral and memorable part of your stay. A creative and innovative Mahu Whenua chef will tailor the menu to your specific requirements and source the freshest local produce (some having been produced at Mahu Whenua itself).
To ensure your stay is as relaxing as possible, all meals are included – breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon teas, refreshments and picnics. Pre-dinner canapés are also included, as well as a complimentary premium wine or beverage of your choice served with canapés.
Whether you’re looking for a totally unique and exclusive venue for a corporate retreat, an intimate wedding location or a family reunion, the Homestead and stables at Mahu Whenua provide the perfect secluded location just 20 minutes drive from central Wanaka, 60 minutes drive from Queenstown or a 10 minute helicopter transfer from Queenstown Airport to the local helipad.
You may prefer cocktails on the lawn terrace in front of the Homestead overlooking Lake Wanaka and the mountains, or a small private ceremony with a backdrop of native New Zealand bush or forest.
The impressive open air horse stables provide another location at Mahu Whenua in close proximity to your accommodation at the Ridgeline Suites. A truly special idea for your wedding ceremony would be to have helicopters pick your party up from the front lawn of the Homestead and transport you up to a mountain ridge.
On-site activities provide the perfect complement to your event – horse riding, helicopter adventures, 4WD excursions, heli-biking and hiking, just to name a few. Staying at Mahu Whenua you’ll also be well situated to explore Mt Aspiring National Park, Fiordland National Park, Wanaka or Queenstown with ease.
On-site Mahu Whenua chef, staff and concierge will allow you to relax, enjoy your special occasion and make this a truly memorable experience.
The team at Mahu Whenua can organise a spa experience with professional therapists to suit your individual requirements. A selection of holistic treatments is available including massages, facials, hand and foot treatments and body care.
For a complete wellness experience, finish off your spa treatment with a relaxing time in the hot tub or swimming pool.
Yoga / Pilates
You may wish to have a personal yoga and/or pilates instructor on-site. Imagine doing your morning flow overlooking Mt Aspiring National Park and Lake Wanaka or beside the pool surrounded by native flax and the valley mountains!
Mahu Whenua consists of four high country sheep stations – Motatapu, Mt Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak – stretching between Wanaka and Queenstown over 55,000 hectares.
Since purchasing the property in 2005, the owner’s vision has been to regenerate the land after a history of extensive high country farming on the property. While introducing sustainable farming practices, the owner has also started a native plant regeneration programme.
Approximately 1.36 million native trees, flaxes, shrubs and grasses have been planted, which, combined with natural regeneration due to destocking, has already resulted in native birdlife returning to the land.
While progress has been made in a lot of areas, the biggest challenge to the whole programme is the fast rate at which wilding conifer trees grow on the property. This exotic forest grows at much higher altitudes than native flora invading tussock land and destroying the existing bio-diversity.
The wilding conifers can ultimately dominate and over-come all species of native bush. A robust programme keeps wilding conifers in check so that the natural ecosystem can regenerate and the destruction of existing natural habitat is diminished.
The programme has been an enormous success. To ensure it continues, more than 90% of the land was placed under protective covenants in 2015 (Queen Elizabeth the Second Trust), making it the largest conservation undertaking on private land in New Zealand’s history. Mahu Whenua aptly translates to “healing the land”.
Guests are encouraged to watch or engage in conservation practices such as replanting areas with native trees and learning about the native state of the landscape and the research that is undertaken on site.
An area rich in Maori legends, gold-mining history and high country farming is now also a sanctuary for native tree and bush regeneration and seeing increasing numbers of native wildlife returning.
Mahu Whenua consists of four high country sheep stations – Motatapu, Mt Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak – stretching between Wanaka and Queenstown over 55,000 hectares of some of the most iconic and dramatic natural alpine scenery in New Zealand.
As a Mahu Whenua guest you have a myriad of exclusive high quality activities on your doorstep, both passive and adventurous, all easily accessible and set amongst spectacular scenery.
Ridgeline Peak Picnic
From the on-site helipad, you’ll take a short helicopter ride to a mountain top nearby. The helicopter will land and shut off while you enjoy a glass of Central Otago wine and soak in the stunning alpine surroundings. Last flight time is 5.30pm pick up from the Homestead.
Luxury Winery Lunch Flight
Your helicopter taxi will pick you up directly from the on-site helipad at Mahu Whenua to begin this exceptional wine lovers experience.
Enjoy a scenic flight to a privately owned vineyard to enjoy 6-8 tastings before moving on to Bannockburn to enjoy a platter lunch at Mt Difficulty. Following lunch, the heli will drop into the beautiful Cardrona Distillery for a final tasting before your return by scenic flight back to the Homestead.
Mt Aspiring National Park and Glaciers Scenic Flight – local exploration
Be whisked away for a scenic flight up the Matukituki Valley to Dragonfly Peak where you’ll enjoy an alpine landing.
After you’ve had time to take some photos, you’ll lift off again and fly around Mt Aspiring (one of New Zealand’s highest mountains) where you can soak in closeup views of impressive glaciers, magnificent ice formations and crevasses.
From here in the middle of the Southern Alps you can view the rainforests and ocean of the wild West Coast in the distance. Another two landings will find you high on the Isobel Glacier and then back in the Mahu Whenua alpine where you can relax with champagne and canapés before returning to the Homestead.
Milford Southern Alps Highlights – the ultimate heli-adventure!
Explore the best of Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks on this day trip. Visit three alpine lakes, Sutherland Falls, Milford Sound and West Coast beaches.
Fly through the Olivine Ice Plateau, land on a glacier, fly around Mt Aspiring, and land on Dragonfly Peak before returning to the Homestead. There are five landings along the way, so plenty of time to stretch your legs and grab some photos. You’ll also enjoy a picnic lunch on location.
Exploring by horse back is an incredibly special experience at Mahu Whenua. From the exclusive on-site stables, be led through the purpose-built trails, rivers, beech forest and up the valleys of this special place, stopping half way for morning or afternoon tea.
Or if you’d just like an introduction to horses, wander down to the stables from the Homestead to give them a pat and have your guide lead you and your horse around the arena.
The horses of Mahu Whenua are traditional New Zealand high country horses with long manes and tails in a variety of different breeds and colours. These horses are mostly all barefoot and are not rugged in winter, therefore acclimated, and so can be ridden all year round.
The Mahu Whenua horses specialise in trail riding, with a series of wonderful custom built horse trails around the property. However, clinics and private dressage lessons are available upon request with alternative horses available to suit the session.
STATION ORIENTATION FARM TOUR
A guided 4WD safari from the Ridgeline Homestead is a great introduction to Mahu Whenua and the conservation work that takes place on site.
Your private guide will show you around the high country station by 4WD and explain the eco-sanctuary and the history of this land, so that you can really experience first hand the magical story behind the lodge.
This tour is a great option to start your stay with us to enable you to get your bearings on the property and see the scale of the land.
HIKING / HELI-HIKING
Half-day Scenic Eco Walk
This leisurely walk begins at the Homestead and includes an introduction to the regeneration programmes being undertaken on this land. Meander through beautiful native forest, along the grand Motatapu River, visit some old huts – you might even reach the bird enclosures!
Full-day Adventure Walk
Explore with your private Mahu Whenua guide who will introduce you to the stunning natural environment and explain the conservation practices, sustainable farming and the impressive flora and fauna that make Mahu Whenua’s story so special. Refreshments and picnic included.
This adventure requires a medium level of fitness but there are various routes available. Your guide will choose the exact route depending on your preferences, the conditions and weather forecast. Mountains, rivers, valleys, formed tracks or off the beaten track – there’s endless options!
MOUNTAIN BIKING / HELI-BIKING
Guided Mountain Biking – Half Day
Our local experts are on hand to guide you through our property. You will enjoy cycling along our farm track, perhaps spotting our native bird population, and crossing a river before reaching one of our shepherds huts – the perfect spot to enjoy a gourmet picnic.
When required, call on the assistance of your E-bike for the boost you need to make your way back up to the lodge without breaking a sweat! Our walks are easily tailored to your needs. You may prefer a gentle two hour walk and to enjoy a picnic along the way or, if you’re feeling energetic, you may walk for a full three hours.
Mahu Whenua to Arrowtown Guided E-Bikes
Set off on a full day adventure along the famous Motatapu trail – this is an awe-inspiring journey, covering 42km available exclusively to our guests.
While taking in the spectacular high-country landscape you will cross several rivers and with the help of your E-bike, reach elevations of up to 950m for spectacular views. There are a few steep descents involved, with your guide on hand to ensure your journey is seamless.
Enjoy a picnic deep within the valley, before continuing on to reach the quaint old gold mining settlement of Arrowtown, where we encourage you to enjoy a refreshing well-deserved drink in the local historic pub before meeting the vehicle for your road transfer back to the lodge.
Heli Wine Tour
Your helicopter taxi will pick you up directly from the on-site helipad at Mahu Whenua to begin this exceptional wine lovers experience.
Enjoy a scenic flight to a privately owned vineyard to enjoy 6-8 tastings before moving on to Bannockburn to enjoy a gourmet platter lunch at Mt Difficulty. Following lunch, the heli will drop into the beautiful Cardrona Distillery for a final tasting before your return by scenic flight back to the Homestead.
Central Otago Wine & Craft Brewery Tour
Central Otago is known the world over for it’s wonderful wines. Explore four of our favourite boutique Central Otago vineyards and craft breweries in the Wanaka area from the comfort of a luxury vehicle.
Our expert guide will also bring the history and heritage of this incredible region to life for you on this relaxing afternoon adventure. All tastings are included, with lunch available at one of the vineyards, or ask our friendly hosts to pack you a picnic to enjoy a lovely al fresco lunch along the way.
Ski Resorts (June-October)
The border of Mahu Whenua touches on three ski resorts – Treble Cone, Cardrona and Coronet Peak. Treble Cone is 25 minutes drive from the Homestead and Cardrona is 50 minutes drive away (we can arrange transfers if you wish).
Alternatively, a very short helicopter transfer will find you on the slopes in no time! All ski areas have options to take lessons with experienced instructors and have great facilities for families. We can arrange for rental equipment and clothing to be fitted for you at the Homestead.
Via Ferrata Rock Climbing
The Via Ferrata rock climbing tours are located close to Mahu Whenua and are perfect for beginners and families.
You’ll climb alongside one of Wanaka’s most iconic waterfalls using a ladder fixed into the rock, surrounded by breathtaking views of the mountains and lake around you. There’s even an exclusive option to be picked up from the top of your climb by helicopter and taken back to the Homestead!
We can design fly or spin fishing trips as you wish. There are some fantastic fishing spots nearby where you can fly or drive in with your guide. Enjoy a delicious packed lunch prepared by Mahu Whenua chef as you break on the river’s edge.
Art & Photography
Mahu Whenua is the epitome of dramatic New Zealand alpine scenery. Whether you think you have artistic flare or not, our guided photography tours and art classes are a great opportunity to relax amongst beautiful landscapes, away from the crowds, and learn something new – maybe even take away your own creation in memory of this special place.
Photographing sunrise is a really popular option for the early birds amongst us, with some beautiful views of the sunrise lighting up Lake Wanaka.
Guided Paddle Boarding or Kayaking
Enjoy a half day guided standup paddle boarding (SUP) or kayaking adventure on Lake Wanaka. There are several areas around the Lake that can be explored by SUP or kayak.
To explore the grand rivers that feed into Lake Wanaka by jet boat is a classic Wanaka experience and definitely incorporates some “thrill factor”. Wind your way up the beautiful rivers as you soak in views of native beech forest, glaciers and waterfalls.