Editors' Picks

Huka Lodge

Intimate, cozy fishing lodge with impeccable service

Huka Lodge Huka Falls Road, Wairakei, Taupō, New Zealand


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Indagare Adored

At a Glance

In 1924, Irishman Alan Pye established Huka Lodge as a fisherman’s camp along the banks of the Waikato River. Just shy of a century later, the legendary property is one of New Zealand’s premier lodges, now located just upstream from Huka Falls, amid pine forest and verdant grounds about a 3.5- hour drive from Auckland. The lodge comprises 20 junior lodge suites and two owners’ cottages, which all have small private terraces and river views. Fittingly, the interiors—navy tartan rugs, forest-green leather couches, gilt-framed oil paintings and blazing fires—call to mind a British gentleman’s club. In fact, it’s easy to imagine the royal family gathering here (Queen Elizabeth was once a guest). The two cottages are ideal for multigenerational families (with children 10 and older) traveling together. Fly-fishing, white-water rafting, mountain biking, jet boating, tennis, golf and Maori cultural experiences can all be arranged. And while active adventures, including helicopter trips over the volcanic fields of Tongariro National Park, are in the offing, many guests are content to spend their days unwinding in this delightful setting.

The Standout: The gorgeous Owner’s and Alan Pye Cottages, which feel like private homes Don’t Miss: A day of fly-fishing in the region with an expert fishing guide (for all skill levels)

Indagare Loves

  • The setting on the Waikato River, making the lodge a dream for those who love to fly-fish
  • The warm staff, who make guests feel well cared for and indulged
  • The locally sourced produce and top-notch food at every meal in private locations throughout the resort


This intimate lodge is set in a pine forest on the banks of Taupo’s Waikato River, amid lush, manicured grounds landscaped with clipped boxwood, ferns and willow trees. Inside, the bold, dark colors evoke a British men’s club: navy tartan rugs, forest green leather couches, red wingbacks, gilt-framed oil paintings of fish and stags, blazing fires. This is where Queen Elizabeth often stayed when visiting New Zealand, and you can see why she would feel at home here.

The service is high-touch but more formal than that at most of the other lodges, with an extremely high staff-to-guest ratio. Cuisine is equally lavish, with five-course dinners that can be eaten in a variety of private dining rooms: perhaps the Trophy Room, upstairs, which can seat 20; the cozy Library, with its dark green walls; or, on warm summer evenings, the Jetty Pavilion, right on the river.

A string of cottages leading out from the main lodge holds the guest rooms, which are done in a palette of celadon, cream and stone. Each has glass doors that fold open on to  a small private terrace, with the lawn sloping down to the turquoise river just beyond. In keeping with the peaceful atmosphere, there are no televisions or phones in the rooms (although they are available on request).

Who Should Stay

Fishermen and women, couples and families with older or well-behaved children. Huka is one of New Zealand's more refined lodges, and even though common spaces are supremely comfortable, a formal vibe prevails.

Written by Eliza Harris

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