Editors' Picks

Blanket Bay

Remote, exclusive, fly fishing/outdoorsy activities

Rapid 4191, Glenorchy Queenstown Road, Glenorchy 09372


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At a Glance

A 45-minute drive from Queenstown, this lodge sits in a breathtaking spot on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, looking towards the Humboldt Mountains.

Indagare Loves

  • The "excursion room" where guests can plot out itineraries to remote locales
  • The beautiful lakeview dining room
  • The remote Glenorchy location, in the midst of incredible hiking, fishing and hunting possibilities


In the 1970s, when an American couple bought the Blanket Bay property, it abutted a 65,000-acre working sheep station, and sheep still graze on the hillside. Back in the 1970s, Tom and Pauline Tusher figured that one day they might build a cabin so they could fly-fish on vacation, but after Tom retired from running Levi Strauss, their simple cabin grew into a grand lodge with 13 guest rooms. (Soon after Blanket Bay opened as a hotel, in the late ’90s, its reputation for exquisite scenery, fine service and gorgeous rooms reportedly enticed Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston to come for their honeymoon.)

The design of the lodge, inside and out, owes less to New Zealand influences than to the Tushers’ time in the American West. Astonishing mountain views as well as an enormous rock fireplace, an imposing antler chandelier and log beams dominate the great room. Salvaged wood floors and railroad ties give the lodge an antique patina, and whimsical fabrics printed with fishing ties and duck decoys add to the feeling that you’re in someone’s home.

My favorite touch was the “excursion” room, downstairs, where guests can plot the following day’s activities on the giant map of the area on one wall. A helicopter jaunt to an obscure stretch of river for fly-fishing and a picnic, perhaps? Or a drop-off somewhere along the Milford Trek for hiking the least touristed bit? Horses can be saddled up, kayaks launched. Satisfying any adventurous urge seems so easy and pleasurable when you know that a wine cellar and spa await you on your return. And when the guests gather in the den to have cocktails and trade tales of the day’s exploits, the conviviality is infectious.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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