Minaret Station, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
The wild and beautiful Southern Alps of New Zealand are home to soaring glaciers, snowcapped mountains and startlingly blue, glacier-fed lakes. Minaret Station is located on Minaret Bay and is a 20-minute helicopter flight from Queenstown International Airport. In fact, helicopter is the only way to access this utterly secluded hotel.
It sits 3,000 ft high in a dazzling glacier valley, and you’re unlikely to see another soul in the station’s 50,000 acres, except for deer, sheep and cattle — there’s a working farm on the land. It’s not just the location that’s off-grid — the electricity and water are powered by a nearby waterfall, and beef comes from the Station’s farm. It is family owned and operated, so expect a warm, welcoming reception and a home-away-from-home vibe.
There are just four alpine chalets and only eight guests at any one time, so you can be sure of total and utter privacy, or you could rent the whole place out for yourself. Each chalet is cozy and understated, with a king-sized bed, fluffy sheepskin rugs, en-suite bathroom and a hot tub outside on the deck. Each chalet also comes with its own private guide for hiking on and around the property. The chalets are connected to the Mountain Kitchen by wooden walkways, and it’s here you will gather for fine dining followed by a nightcap next to the roaring fire.
There is a great deal to see and do; tours are operated by helicopter, and you can choose from heli-skiing, mountain biking, fishing, boating or hiking.
Fiordland National Park is an extremely remote, nearly inaccessible Unesco World Heritage Site. Fly by helicopter to land directly onto a private charter vessel, then glide along the crystal waters through this imitable landscape. Try diving or fishing — the on-board chef can prepare your catch of the day.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Elite Traveler