The hot pools at Wairakei Terraces, Taupo. Photo / Supplied
Sick of being continually asked what’s for dinner? Need some space away from changing nappies? Or just desperate for adult conversation in a grown-up establishment? Leave your kids – and anyone else’s – behind, while escaping to these child-free sanctuaries and adults-only dining options to refresh the mind, where the only person to look after is yourself.
Donkey Bay Inn near Russell is an adults-only boutique luxury lodge with buckets of personality. It’s full of artistic flair, fun, colour, and sumptuous views.
There are four suites on site. Each room is unique, from the poster beds to the bathtub.
Enjoy the lively Art Deco decor, an eclectic mix of plush furniture and fabulous lampshades, bathrooms with mosaic bathtubs and gorgeous settees that are far too good to let a child anywhere near. This is not an airy-fairy luxury lodge – it’s a retreat for those who love indulgence with charisma and character.
For the eco-conscious couple who want a sustainable, but luxurious getaway, book an escape at Te Arai Lodge. The Te Arai community is on the east coast of northern Auckland, about a 75-minute drive from the city, with a great surfing and swimming beach.
The lodge itself sits on 20 acres of land, covered in ancient podocarp forest and native bush, with expansive views to the Mangawhai Coast and the Brynderwyn Ranges. The lodge has a full bar, heated swimming pool and cedar hot tub, yoga studio and gym, and an infra-red sauna, to ensure you are truly focused on your wellbeing during your stay.
If you’re after a high-class adults-only experience in central Auckland, experience an evening at Pasture. The award-winning restaurant has a set menu, where guests are seated at the chef’s counter rather than a table, so you can watch the preparation of each dish. The menu is carefully curated depending on the season, with meals prepared through wood-fire, fermentation and time.
The Coromandel is known for being a natural geothermal area, so how do you choose a spot where you can relax in privacy?
The Lost Spring in Whitianga is considered New Zealand’s premier geothermal experience, with a number of packages available to indulge and be pampered. The waters in these natural thermal pools rise from nearly 700m below the surface through a crack in the bedrock. The spring was only rediscovered in 1989. Pool temperatures range from 32C to 41C.
If you want a group getaway to the Coromandel, stay at the villa at Orokawa Bay Retreat. This beautiful, tranquil home has four luxury bedrooms all with ensuite bathrooms, with a dining area in the middle. The sliding doors open up to expansive views over the gardens and the endless ocean. You’ll feel a million miles away from any child, or adults acting like a child.
Soak up the views of Lake Rotorua with a glass of wine in hand at the Volcanic Hills tasting room. The room is situated at the top of the Skyline Gondola, with the winery itself at the base of Mount Ngongotahā, where the gondola begins.
Take the romance up a notch and with a lakeside picnic package with Volcanic Air. Start the journey with a scenic floatplane tour over Lake Rotorua and Mokoia Island, then disembark at a secluded beach at Lake Rotoiti for a private picnic.
Māori have long believed in the healing powers of the waters and clays at Wairakei. Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa is a series of hot thermal pools, which are said to be rich in minerals.
The thermal springs are only open to people over 14, as they want to keep the area relaxing and free from noise and splashing.
Considered one of the leading luxury lodges in New Zealand, Cape Kidnappers does allow children to stay – but they’re banished from the dining room after 7pm. That’s when it’s time for the grown-ups to have their fun.
There is a strict dress code, with dinner jackets required for the gentlemen. Even if you’re not a golfer, you can still enjoy the lodge and its surroundings, and of course the magnificent views of Hawke’s Bay.
Enjoy a sunrise breakfast at Black Reef or a private beach picnic at Rangaika. Travelling in Can-Am off-roader, you’ll discover places inaccessible to most normal vehicles.
Tongariro Springs offers private boutique Ruapehu accommodation, minutes away from Ohakune. The suites are not suitable for children, which means it’s an ideal spot for a romantic couples getaway. Guests have access to two private hot pools that can be used at any time of day or night.
Swim at sunrise in the heated spring water swimming pool, or unwind under the stars in the spa pool, heated between 37 and 40 degrees, looking out to native bush in the Tongariro National Park.
The suites are set on one hectare of native gardens. The rooms don’t have any kitchen or dining facilities, other than tea, coffee and hot chocolate, but there is a guest fridge-freezer to keep any beverages or snacks chilled.
Ideal for an indulgent stay for a couple, or with a group of adult friends or family members, unwind at St George’s by the Sea. The luxury beachfront villa is styled on traditional Caribbean architecture, with a U-shaped design, and an invisible edge pool in the middle of the courtyard.
Guests will get both coastal views and glimpses of mighty Mt Taranaki throughout the house. The house has three wings and six rooms, as well as a gymnasium, tennis court, laundry and garage.
For a more casual affair, head to Japanese cocktail bar Snug, in New Plymouth. The menu is a contemporary take on Japanese cuisine and yakitori, as well as making the most of seasonal New Zealand produce.
If you love the idea of a rural retreat, a stay at Makoura Lodge will provide genuine Kiwi hospitality and a remote getaway. This farm stay is in the northern high country of Manawatū, on the McIntyre family’s fifth-generation farm.
Makoura has a peaceful and secluded Riverside Retreat cabin perfect for couples looking for a quiet off-grid escape, where you’ll be immersed in nature while listening to the native birdlife, and enjoy the evenings by candlelight.
Peak View Retreat is an adults-only sanctuary set in native bush in the mountains, overlooking Delaware Bay. Guests have exclusive use of the villa, with two bedrooms sleeping up to four adults, and both Nelson Tasman and Marlborough regions accessible.
Watch the sunrise over the Richmond Ranges, or relax in the wood-fired hot tub on the deck at night. The retreat has a strong focus on sustainability and provides natural New Zealand-made toiletries for guests.
East of Motueka, The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge is a child-free wilderness resort. Set among 50 acres of native rainforest, there’s a pool, sauna and hot tub available for guests, as well as massage, yoga and a gym, and 5km of private walking and biking trails.
The resort was named one of the world’s top 25 eco-lodges by National Geographic. The owners plant a native tree on the property for every couple who stays.
With 1500 kilometres of coastline in the Marlborough Sounds, it’s easy to find a secluded spot away from others. The Bay of Many Coves is an award-winning luxury 5-star boutique resort in Queen Charlotte Sound. Arrive by boat or helicopter and stay in a one- two- or three-bedroom self-contained apartment.
While not strictly adults-only, the apartments are private and peaceful, like the entire resort. Families with children are asked specifically to be mindful of other guests, and the resort provides alternative dining options for those with young children.
Purepods are the back country five-star luxury experiences in New Zealand’s most remote and pure landscapes. The Kahutara PurePod is about 20 minutes inland from Kaikōura.
From the carpark you still have to hike to the glass pod, about a 10- to 15-minute walk through native trees and bush. Once at your secluded destination, you’ll be in awe of the views across the river out to the Seaward Kaikōura Mountain range.
The PurePods are designed to make guests feel they are completely away from civilisation, so that means there is no cellphone signal to allow you to indulge in total privacy.
Lake Tekapo Lodge is a no-kids zone to allow guests to indulge in fine food, wine and art, right on the shores of the lake. There is a maximum occupancy of six adults in this high-end bed and breakfast, to allow for privacy and dedicated hospitality from the hosts, who live in a separate wing.
Three of the four rooms have lake and mountain views, with a stylish dining room for socialising, with impressive views from the large window. Rooms have striking wallpaper designs and there are unique New Zealand artworks featured throughout the property.
Lakestone Lodge is an adults-only resort on shores of the stunning blue Lake Pukaki, with guest rooms featuring large windows to make the most of the lake and mountain views at every moment.
Escape to the South Island high country for a luxury getaway with your loved one at The Lindis. The lodge overlooks the Ahuriri Valley, which was carved out of millions of years by the waters of the Ahuriri River.
Choose one of the cosy Master or Lodge suites, or escape into one of the secluded pods with mirrored glass walls on three sides for a full nature immersion.
The adventurous can go horse trekking or fly fishing, while the relaxers can indulge in the views, and make the most of the games room and billiards room.
Mt Michael Lodge is a boutique bed and breakfast overlooking Lake Dunstan. Set on a vineyard producing pinot noir, the lodge is a beautiful spot for a romantic getaway or special occasion.
There are four rooms available, each with spacious ensuite bathrooms, and spectacular mountain, lake and vineyard views. Each room opens up onto a private courtyard area.
Two of the rooms have access to a private outdoor spa, where you can soak up the surrounding views of the Pisa, Dunstan and Carrick ranges.
If you like the idea of staying at a grand hunting lodge, then book a retreat at Queenstown’s Blanket Bay Lodge. It’s best suited for couples or adults who love the alpine life. If you’re keen to experience the best adventures of the region, golf, hiking, fly-fishing, wine tasting and horseback riding are all available options on request.
The estate is part of a working sheep and cattle farm, Wyuna Station. Guests can stay at any of the rooms in the main lodge, the private chalets or for ultimate privacy, the Blanket Bay Villa.
Four hundred metres above sea level, Beresford Heights is a boutique romantic retreat for an off-grid getaway. At the top of Table Hill, the self-contained lodge sleeps up to four people, with a seating area opening up to panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Unwind in the hot tub while overlooking the Catlins, or relax on the sweeping deck. There are plenty of scenic walks nearby and guided hunting trips are also available on request.
Church Hill is an iconic destination in Stewart Island, with a restaurant and accommodation on site. The restaurant aims to showcase the region’s food and the menu focuses on using local produce as much as possible, and producing as much “homemade” cuisine as possible.
Named after the hill it sits on, next to a church, diner numbers are limited each night to ensure bespoke service in an intimate setting.
The boutique lodge is a stand-alone suite set within the bush and looks out to Halfmoon Bay.