Twenty minutes from Wānaka, nestled among a sprawling 55,000 hectares of mountain ridges, green hills, lush valleys, native bush, forests and rivers, you’ll find an oasis of world-class luxury in which to unwind and reboot.
When one of the world’s most famous (and successful) record producers and songwriters decides to create the ultimate escape haven on the planet, you know it’s going to be magnificent. And magnificent it is.
Mutt Lange’s vision was to regenerate the land across four adjoining high-country sheep stations, introducing sustainable farming practices, and implementing an extensive plant regeneration and native bird breeding programme, which has been a huge success.
The name Mahu Whenua aptly translates to “healing the land”. But the land also provides a place for people to heal – to escape the frenetic pace of daily life, to reconnect with nature, indulge in exquisite food and wine, indulge in relaxing spa treatments or take part in outdoor activities. As a guest at Mahu Whenua you find yourself in New Zealand’s own paradise. Lange’s original Ridgeline Homestead has been transformed into a glorious hub for imbibing and relaxing, a base in which to dine and meet other guests when not ensconced in luxury in one of the four Ridgeline suites.
Each room is unique, yet all have outrageous views of the movie-set landscape, fabulous king beds and en suites with superb baths. The suite I was lucky enough to occupy has a magnificent beast of a bath with arguably the best outlook on the planet – the perfect place to soak after horse trekking, hiking, mountain biking or simply lazing around the pool.
Once restored, the lodge beckons with sensational food created by chef Kayleigh Kilbey, with delicious morsels such as Beetroot Cured Salmon with Green Goddess Dressing, Pickled Cucumber, Fennel Remoulade and Crostini followed by Beef Eye Fillet, Mushroom Ketchup with Buttermilk Fried Onions, Miso Butter Pomme Anna, Asparagus and Parsley Sauce.
Roasted Otago Peaches with Pistachio and Amaretti Mascarpone, Peach Jelly and Marmalade Sponge.
Chef Kilbey is skilled at presenting plates that make the most of produce at its peak, like the Roasted Otago Peaches with Pistachio and Amaretti Mascarpone, Peach Jelly and Marmalade Sponge. The staff on hand, led by the ultimate lodge host, Anna Ward, are poised to cater to your every whim, providing the impeccable, anticipatory style of service you’d expect from the finest luxury accommodation.
I stayed just two nights at Mahu Whenua, but in that time I felt I’d truly escaped the outside world, and would return in a heartbeat for a special escape for two, or even gathering friends and family to share the accommodation and celebrate a milestone occasion.