Whare Kea is a timeless retreat, providing luxury accommodation on the shores of Lake Wanaka, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Southern Alps. Located only ten minutes drive from Wanaka’s town centre, time seems to slow and opportunities unfold.
The experience at Whare Kea is bespoke and versatile – on the one hand a base for adventure big or small in the wilds of Wanaka and the wider Central Otago region, on the other a safe and peaceful haven.
Nestled above Lake Wanaka and secluded from view, guests have exclusive access to this piece of paradise. With timeless interior styling, the lodge is positioned to bask in the stunning vistas and the sun. Designed for relaxation, and with plenty of space, the lodge accommodates up to 12 guests.
The land on which Whare Kea is situated was originally a dairy farm belonging to the Norman family from the 1850’s, until the Myer purchased the land. Martyn and Louise Myer, the current guardians of the property, transformed it by planting scores of native trees. More on that story at In Harmony with the Environment.
Simple lines and floor to ceiling glass characterise the building, and borrow principles from Japanese architecture (one of Martyn’s many passions). The window walls bring vast landscape inside the lodge, providing constantly changing views in each and every room.
The Myers decided they wanted to share the beauty and uniqueness of this retreat to themselves, so over the past two decades they have successfully operated Whare Kea as a family holiday escape and as a boutique hotel.
Over time, travellers have begun to crave individual and private experiences – a detachment from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In response, Whare Kea has become an exclusive retreat for use by groups in search of adventure or relaxation.
The walls of the property, its décor, its owners – are all steeped in stories that go back decades. Whare Kea is a truly unique establishment that guards the stories of the past, and opens its doors for new ones to be written.
As often seems to be the case, Whare Kea’s guardians – Martyn and Louise Myer – began their soul-binding relationship with Wanaka as a holiday. They found the mountains provided them with both a physical and emotional renewal from the stresses of a hectic urban lifestyle – in a way that no other environment could.
An avid skier and hiker, Martyn found his way to Wānaka in search of the thrill of Heli-skiing. Thus, began his passion for Wānaka and the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
Equal in her love for the great outdoors, Louise also has a great eye and flair for design and is passionate about the world class wine and food abundant throughout the region.
It was this combination that kept drawing them back to Wanaka. Inevitably, they began a search for land to build on. The result is the lodge you see today. Wanaka, its big-hearted community and its spectacular environs have continued to bring enormous pleasure to the Myers.
They themselves stay at Whare Kea whenever they can, but also delight in sharing their slice of heaven and fondness for outdoor pursuits with friends and travellers from all over the globe, passionately encouraging guests to truly experience all that Wanaka offers.
OUR LOVE OF ART
Window walls display the ever-changing beauty of Wanaka’s landscapes, but the solid walls of the lodge also act as a canvas to Martyn and Louise’s lifelong passion for art. Decades spent collecting art works and sculptures by local New Zealand artists, have rendered Whare Kea as much a gallery space as it is a home.
In addition to celebrating artists by displaying their work, the Myers also donate Whare Kea in support of artists creating new work. As part of The Kenneth Myer Artist/Writer Retreat*, the retreat creates the opportunity for a talented writer, poet, visual artist, photographer or composer to step away from their day to day lives and experience the remoteness and magic of the Chalet.
* Established in 2012, to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of Martyn’s father, Kenneth Myer. Kenneth was long involved in the visual and performing arts and had a great affinity with the mountains much like the present generation of his family. We would love to welcome you to stay and enjoy the pieces yourself.
IN HARMONY WITH THE ENVIRONMENT
When the land was purchased by the Myers, 10,000 trees were planted (including silver birch, larch, Douglas fir, chestnut, oak and poplar). Since then, native breeds (such as Kowhai, flax, toi-toi’s and lancewoods), have been added.
The lodge has been designed to maintain as minimal a carbon footprint as possible. With high performance double glazed floor to ceiling windows, natural heat and light is maximized to reduce the need for heating.
Our mountain Chalet has been designed to maximise the opportunities of its incredible and unique location whilst minimising it’s impact on the environment; the building’s roof holds snow for insulation and solar panels for power, contributing to Whare Kea Chalet’s green credentials.
The lodge is a 6 bedroom residence of a unique design; with floor to ceiling windows giving guests the impression of sleeping and living among nature, but with the comfort and warmth of a high-end retreat.
All bedrooms have super king beds (which can be split to twin beds if required), walk-in wardrobes, premium furnishings (including a writing desk), access to outdoor decking with comfortable seating.
Each bedroom is also equipped with an en-suite bathroom, which features under-floor heating, walk-in showers, and deep baths positioned with views of the surrounding landscapes.
WHARE KEA CHALET
Nestled amongst the peaks of the Southern Alps, at 1750 metres (5700ft) in the Albert Burn Saddle, our Chalet sits on the edge of the Mount Aspiring National Park with astounding views of Mt. Cook and Mt. Aspiring with its tumbling glaciers.
Just a twenty minute scenic helicopter flight from our lodge on the edge of Lake Wanaka, James and Alex Ford of Aspiring Helicopters can create your unique Chalet experience with options including, but not limited to:
- Day trips
- Scenic flights with hosted Chalet lunch
- Guided Heli-hiking to and from the chalet
- Overnight hosted retreats
- Celebrations for your wedding, honeymoon or special event
Not to be confused with New Zealand’s typical alpine huts, Whare Kea Chalet offers an elevated experience – where comfort is paramount, without detracting from the rugged wilderness, the chalet provides:
- Two double bedrooms
- Spacious loft
- Staff bunkroom
- Central heating
- Hot shower
- Large windows framing incomparable views.
Designed to maximise the opportunities of the incredible location whilst minimising the impact on the environment, the building’s roof holds snow for insulation and solar cells for power, contributing to Whare Kea Chalet’s green credentials.
We also have webcams and a weather station installed at the Chalet. These feed up-to-the-minute video of weather conditions, showing a 3 day time lapse which is used by local businesses and specialist adventurers.
Exceptional experience is in the detail. Which is why additional services to compliment your stay are extensive and unlimited, creating exclusive retreat packages to provide you with unparalleled comfort and service. Staffing options include, but are not limited to:
- Private chef
- Professional wait staff
- Stocking of the pantry
- Welcome platters
- Nanny service
- Massage therapy
We offer tailor made itineraries, access to expert guides and local insight for tours and adventures. We recommend this is organised prior to arrival, so your stay becomes solely about the adventure or relaxation you need.
Our lodge manager lives on site in a neighbouring cottage, ensuring all concierge services are highly personalised and available throughout your stay at Whare Kea. We quote on request, according to each group’s requirements.
Spoiled for choice, Wanaka boasts far more options for wining and dining than is usually expected from a town this size. A private chef in the comfort of Whare Kea Lodge or a dine out option ranging from a fine dining experience to a more relaxed bistro atmosphere, there is something for any occasion and all tastes.
Our neighbouring vineyards are world renowned for their wine production – most famously Pinot Noir. Our region also boasts a number of award-winning craft breweries, and an artisan spirit distillery.
The cool but sunny and dry climate in the region is ideal for growing quality grapes – the perfect excuse to enjoy a relaxing day sampling the region’s finest wines. Visit small boutique wineries, or one of the oldest and highly regarded vineyards in the Central Otago region.
Guided tours are available year-round, a full-day tour will take you on a tasting adventure through the immediate Wanaka region, and into neighbouring Central Otago.
Taste a wide range of wines from the celebrated Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer to the lesser known Gamay Noir and Osteiner varieties. Many of the vineyards also have wonderful restaurants for lunch opportunities.
We are spoiled for choice with a diverse selection of dining options. From extraordinary fine dining, small elegant restaurants serving contemporary cuisine, through to casual eateries, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to dining out in Wanaka.
Fresh local produce, brilliant wines sourced from the surrounding vineyards, along with well-crafted local beers will provide a taste of what the Wanaka region has to offer.
Kiwi style food to Mexican, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Korean, Asian fusion and rustic pub meals, Wanaka restaurants provide endless variety and consistently high quality.
Many of the restaurants overlook beautiful Lake Wanaka, while there are also great dining options scattered throughout the region, in Makarora, Lake Hawea, Cardrona and Luggate.
Relax in the comfort of Whare Kea Lodge and allow one of our private chefs to bring delicious food to your table whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Our trusted, acclaimed local chefs use seasonal, locally-sourced produce.
Your private chef will work with you to create a bespoke mouth-watering experience catered to your requirements and tastes. All menus priced on request.
With uninterrupted views of the spectacular mountainous surrounds, Whare Kea is an unmatched venue for intimate, luxury weddings – as well as the perfect retreat to return to in between celebrations.
The property offers a multitude of exclusive and picturesque indoor and outdoor locations for the ceremony, for the reception or for wedding photography.
In addition, our front lawn is a registered helipad, from which couples can be whisked away into the mountains for unique spectacular photographs against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and glaciers.
If the wedding has been planned for elsewhere in the Wānaka region, Whare Kea can also be an exclusive home away from home; the perfect setting to bring family and friends together.
Please note: Whare Kea can accommodate a maximum of 25 guests for weddings, with up to 12 guests permitted to stay on the premises.
Escape the busy pace of urban life and retreat to Whare Kea, where the only distractions are the expansive and incomparable lake and mountain views. There is no shortage of local team-building adventures available just outside the door.
And with a number of intimate meeting spaces indoors and out, you can work together in tranquil, private settings and benefit from a boardroom like no other. Whether as an incentive for high performers, or a small executive retreat, see your team united by the rewards of an unforgettable experience at Whare Kea.
A picturesque town, populated by kind souls, nestled in the vastness of the Southern Alps – Wanaka is like no other.
Whare Kea is located on the shores of Lake Wanaka, the fourth largest lake in New Zealand and the nucleus of a multitude of trails, the township and mountain ranges. It is an adventurer’s paradise, and a nature lover’s idyll.
IN THE MOUNTAINS
Whare Kea Lodge is situated within unrivaled alpine surrounds. Getting into the mountains is a perfect way to immerse yourself in the landscape.
Whether it’s exploring Mt. Aspiring National park, enjoying one of the many incredible day hikes; overnight hikes from the Whare Kea Chalet, rock climbing; ice climbing or summiting a challenging peak with a local guide – there is something for everyone.
Hunting season, between April and July, also provides an alternative way to explore the Southern Alps.
A multifaceted and compelling playground for beginners and rock obsessives alike, Wanaka is home to New Zealand’s most concentrated sport climbing area. With almost 1000 routes, ranging from bouldering on the lake front to multi-pitch adventures on the fringes of Mount Aspiring National Park.
Progress your skills with a local guide or hire equipment from our local outdoor store. Alternatively, conquer the highest waterfall cable climb in the world with the legendary guides at Wildwire Wanaka.
Hunting season, between April and July, provides an alternative way to explore the Southern Alps. For those seeking game in the hinterland of Wanaka, red deer and chamois are in abundance and can be hunted year-round.
Slightly further afield, tahr is the ultimate target, with New Zealand being the only place this magnificent beast can be freely hunted. Native to the Himalayas, tahr were introduced by early European settlers and flourished.
Hunting in our region takes place on both private and public land, depending on the hunting guide, and hunting grounds are accessed by four-wheel drive or helicopter.
We have an abundance of beautiful day walks in Whare Kea’s Lodges immediate surrounds. The Millennium Track can be accessed directly from the lodge, which follows the edge of the Lake, either to the town of Wanaka or towards the mountains and onwards to the beautiful Glendhu Bay.
A short drive away is the Diamond Lake Conservation Area, where a gentle walk will take you to the picturesque Diamond Lake, with options to continue above for spectacular views of Lake Wanaka.
Further afield, a 45-minute drive brings you to the Rob Roy Valley and a walk by the Matukituki River, rising through an old Beech forest to an alpine meadow just beneath the Rob Roy Glacier. Kea can be spotted on this hike- endemic to New Zealand our namesake is the world’s only alpine parrot!
Day hikes from the Whare Kea Chalet can with private guide and a hosted lunch can be arranged or as well as more challenging multi-day options.
Many routes await and can be recommended based on your preferences and experience. Whatever that me be, it is guaranteed that you will be taken to utterly beautiful and breath-taking places.
ON THE WATER
The crystal-clear water of Lake Wanaka and the adjoining rivers provide reason alone to visit. With the lakes, rivers, beaches, islands and waterfalls just calling to be explored. Lake cruises, jetboating, island excursions, rafting, paddle boarding and kayaking are just some of the ways to enjoy the water.
Or for those a little more daring, our region is NZ’s premier canyoning destination and we even have man-made wave on the river for those in pursuit of some surfing. These pristine waters are also a fisherman’s paradise with the lakes and rivers around Wanaka brimming with New Zealand trout and salmon.
You don’t have to travel far from Whare Kea to find your own piece of paradise in which to fish, with the lake, rivers and streams around Wanaka full of salmon and trout.
From lake cruising with a dropped line aboard an 8m luxury launch, to world class fly fishing with expert guides, these waters offer a range of exhilarating and beautifully scenic options for everyone.
For those more experienced, our trusted expert guides offer a range of tailor-made fly-fishing packages, starting from hourly lessons to full day excursions with the option of Heli-fishing to access spectacular remote spots. The best months for fly fishing are from October-March.
Get picked up from the beach directly below Whare Kea and cruise for 35 minutes to the magical Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve. The island is a unique glacial remnant of the last ice age and is situated in the middle of Lake Wanaka and surrounded by stunning alpine vistas.
Take an optional 40-minute guided walk through native bush to the serene Arethusa Pool for the amazing lake and alpine views. A unique chance to see a lake – on an island – on a lake.
The Matukituki River flows in to Lake Wanaka and is one of New Zealand’s most powerful, pristine jet boating rivers, fed by glaciers and surrounded by the peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park.
Experience the speed and exhilaration of shallow water jet boating through the braided river, spectacular scenery and adventure unfolding at every turn.
The Wanaka River Journeys experience also includes a 40min wilderness walk – options to add an unforgettable Helicopter scenic flight over the glaciers and Southern Alps for ultimate adventure.
IN THE SKY
Experience the overwhelming beauty of the region’s latticed rivers, lakes, glaciers and mountains from a vantage point like no other.
Scenic flights in vintage tiger moths; helicopter flights straight from the Whare Kea Lodge helipad to the Whare Kea Chalet (link to page) and fixed wing flights into the remote Siberia Valley are just some examples.
With Mt. Aspiring National Park and Milford Sound flights also guest favorites. If you seek more of a thrill, world class skydiving and bungee jumping are also on offer. The only limit to the adventures around Whare Kea is your imagination.
A four-hour wilderness experience, the trip into the Siberia Valley is an incredible combination of activities. The trip includes a scenic fixed wing flight into the remote Siberia Valley, a grounding 3-hour hike on a well-marked track amidst native trees and stunning alpine scenery.
All finished with an exhilarating jet boat ride through the icy blue water of the Wilkin and Makarora Rivers.
HELICOPTER SCENIC FLIGHT
Lift off from the Whare Kea Lodge helipad, located on the front lawn, to explore our stunning region and beyond. Whether you want to land on a glacier, lunch by an alpine lake, explore the beauty of Milford and Doubtful Sounds, the options are endless.
Fly to the majestic peak of Mt. Aspiring and see the stunning ice blue glaciers up close, with views across the national park and experience a privately hosted lunch up at the Whare Kea Chalet.
The South Island is your playground with numerous incredible landing options and endless photo opportunities. We can also arrange for a hunting or alpine guide to accompany you should you wish to venture into the wilderness from remote locations.
Step back in time with Classic Flights and experience a Vintage Tiger Moth or Waco Scenic Flight over some of the most stunning scenery in the world.
Prepare to feel the excitement of the early flyers – donning the old-style leather flying helmet, complete with goggles and silk scarf. Your pilot will fly over Lake Wanaka, with views of Mount Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps.
Other flight route options include the Ultimate Barnstormer, a 30-minute aerobatic trip taking you dipping and soaring above the Matukituki Valley and the Freedom of Romance- a 2hour flight seeing excursion which takes you for a romantic lakeside picnic in a secret location.
ON THE SNOW
During the winter months Wanaka is a skier’s dream. With easy access to three world class ski fields – Treble Cone, Cardrona and the Snow Farm – with long uncrowded slopes, wide open trails through to expert shoots, terrain parks to cross country skiing – there is something for all abilities.
Heliskiing opens up more possibilities, with runs varying between 2000 to 4000 vertical feet. Skiing in sheltered basins, bowls and wide rolling mountain flanks through to steep and challenging chutes. Best of all, your Heli ski trip will begin from your garden, Whare Kea Lodges front lawn.
Add a helicopter to the mix and take off from Whare Kea Lodges front lawn and escape into the heart of the Southern Alps which boasts the largest heli-skiing terrain in the Southern Hemisphere.
Vast and diverse terrain spans the mountain ranges in and around Mt Aspiring National Park, as well as further afield in the Mount Cook region, offering superb conditions suitable for intermediate to advanced skiers.
Treble Cone is the South Island’s largest ski area, famous for long uncrowded runs, legendary off-piste terrain and stunning views over Lake Wanaka. An extraordinary place to ski or ride.
For beginner skiers and snowboarders, Treble Cone’s learner area is the perfect place to take your first turns; Intermediates will revel Treble Cone’s massive 700m of vertical and of course, Treble Cone’s famous off-piste terrain.
ON THE LAND
There are endless ways to explore the land around Whare Kea Lodge. Horse Trekking through historic gold mining valleys or through the vines of Rippon Vineyard to the lake front are two examples.
Or perhaps explore private High-Country Stations on a 4wd safari and see farm life, hike for a day, go mountain biking, or simply marvel at the views.
If golf is your passion, Wanaka boasts a picturesque 18-hole golf course overlooking both the lake and the mountains, while Queenstown offers another four courses with outstanding views.
Horse Trekking – Climb aboard your trusty steed and explore the various routes available throughout the Wanaka region. From historic gold mining valleys and high-country farms to meandering through the vines of Rippon Vineyard to the lake front.
Wanaka has three riding companies to choose from, depending on the terrain you would like to explore and all offer a range or horse rides and horse treks depending on your equestrian skills.
A four-wheel drive trip in the Wanaka region is a wonderful way to take in the scenery and discover the history of Central Otago. Skippers Canyon is a popular 4WD trip: a spectacular gorge through which the Shotover River flows, and it is now famous as a location in The Lord of the Rings.
With over 750kms of mountain biking tracks to enjoy around Wanaka, the region offers mountain bike enthusiasts, from beginners to expert, an ideal track to get the most out of your ride.
Cruise along the lakeside tracks in Wanaka or Hawea, tackle the banks and berms of Deans Bank or explore the undulating Minaret Burn or Dingle Burn.
Private Guided trips, incredible Heli-biking options, e-bike hire and now an even bigger range of terrain at the new mountain bike park at Bike Glendhu, just a 5 minute drive from Whare Kea, the possibilities are unlimited. There is something for every energy level and experience.