New Zealand’s Birds-Eye View
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Treetop retreats, increasingly popular in the Pacific Northwest and South America, have hit New Zealand. The Hapuku Lodge, a South Island eco-resort near the town of Kaikoura, is drawing raves for its five new tree houses, perched 30 feet off the ground in a native tea tree grove. And while amenities like solar-heated showers offer guilt-free luxury, we’re most interested in the 360-degree views. To the west, the 8,500-foot Seaward Kaikoura Range looms; to the east, sperm whales breach off the Kaikoura coast. “I joke with guests that over breakfast you can decide whether you want to go surfing or skiing,” says H. Justin Stafford-Wilson, whose father opened the lodge in 2002. In fact, the Wilson family chose Hapuku’s location for the surf: The lodge is minutes from Mangamaunu’s point break, where the South Island International Longboard Pro-Am is held every March. The rest of the season, make do with riding chest-high barrels within sight of fur seals and five native species of albatross. Tree houses from $290; hapukulodge.com