Christchurch, Canterbury and the West Coast, New Zealand
At a Glance
Nowhere else will you get such a strong sense of history - Sir Heaton and Jessie Rhodes' memory is very much alive in the house that they built and the refined traditions that continue here
The menu celebrates fresh New Zealand produce with an emphasis on estate-grown offerings
Otahuna Lodge is the ideal place from which to explore Canterbury and the Banks Peninsula
Each of the Suites is individually designed with a distinct feel and personality
The gardens of Otahuna are a delight, particularly in spring when the millions of daffodils carpet the meadow
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The climate in New Zealand is incredibly pleasant, with warm and balmy summers and cold crisp winter months with wonderful clear, blue skies. The warmer high-season months of November to April are perfect for outdoor exploration. The colder months of June to August are the best time to ski.
Both North and South Islands are drier on the east coast, rather than on the west, where mountain ranges act as a trap for the moisture-rich winds from the Tasman Sea. It is also worth remembering that it is usually a few degrees cooler on the South Island than the North Island and as New Zealand has a maritime climate, the weather can change rapidly.
Hop aboard and enjoy this incredibly famous train journey between Christchurch and Greymouth. You will cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as you travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. You will traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular view will take your breath away.
To start planning your holiday to Otahuna Lodge
Otahuna is an elegant, opulent lodge set at the heart of a rolling country estate. With commanding views of its landscaped gardens and far beyond to the surrounding plains, the views take you to the foot of New Zealand's Southern Alps.
Otahuna is the largest private historic residence in New Zealand and dating back to 1895, is regarded as the best example of Queen Anne architecture in Australasia. Distinctive features such as a hand-carved Kauri staircase, Rimu panelling, original lead lights and fifteen working wood-burning fireplaces have brought Otahuna Lodge the honour of a Category 1 listing with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and make this one of the most luxury homesteads there is.
Each guest suite retains architectural features from the nineteenth century such as ornate original fireplaces, carved inglenooks and stained glass windows whilst boasting modern décor that is sensitive to Otahuna's historic past. The suites all differ so much in style, size and shape but all are styled in character with their original use. It is easy to imagine the lady of the house, Jessie Rhodes, and other fine ladies of the Canterbury region taking their morning tea at 11 o'clock sharp in the Botanical Suite (originally the Morning Room) overlooking the manicured gardens. Similarly, the Veranda Suite epitomises a 'room with a view' with a huge veranda with cane furniture provoking strong images of times past.
The 30 acres of manicured gardens and rambling, semi-wild woodlands include an orchard with a variety of fruit and nut trees, a one-acre vegetable garden, a mushroom garden, a rose garden and a field that blooms with millions of daffodils in the spring.
At dinner, you can eat communally in the formal dining room or alternatively, you may retreat to a private table for two in the sunken wine cellar, the intimate library, the drawing room turret or another location of your choosing. Aside from formal dining, you can pursue many culinary experiences on the property, including cooking classes and even seasonal mushroom foraging.
Beyond Otahuna, hiking, cycling, horse riding, golf and fishing are all easily arranged and the vineyards and cellar doors of the Waipara wine region and the fascinating city of Christchurch are easily explored in a day trip.
Otahuna has five Suites and two Master Suites. Among them is the Polo Suite, decorated in leathers and houndstooth fabrics, the wood panelled Garret Suite perched at the top of house and tucked in the eaves and the classic English Clark Suite with stained glass windows and country estate ambience. The voluminous Master Suites both consist of a series of rooms and the Veranda Suite has four doors opening onto a huge arched veranda and the palatial Rhodes Suite embodies the building's gracious history. All suites feature: artwork from some of New Zealand's finest artists, super king beds, fine custom-made linens, deep soaking bathtubs and separate showers, and luxury toiletries by Pehanligon's.
Children under 13 not accepted at Otahuna. It is an historical and traditional property with a strong emphasis on fine dining and fine wines and families may find it a little 'grown up' and therefore restrictive for younger children.
Opulent dinners take place communally in Otahuna Lodge's dining room surrounded by original wallpaper, crackling fire and flickering candles and accompanied by the very best wines from the hotel wine cellar. Private dinners can also be arranged in a number of quiet locations around the hotel. There is also a gym, outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, tennis court, cycling, petanque and croquet available on site.
Otahuna organises cooking classes to enable guests to learn first hand the techniques of the chef and croquet, petanque, tennis, cycling and woodland walks are all activities on site. Nearby, horse riding, fly fishing and golf can be arranged as can wine tours in the Waipara district, visits to the harbour town of Akaroa, Christchurch and even a heli-flight over the Southern Alps.
Jules Maury (Staff)
If Wharekauhau is the beautiful 'House Party by the Sea' then Otohuna becomes Downtown Abbey. The details that Miles and Hall have worked on to make Otohuna perfect is quite incredible. Helicopter or drive in from Christchurch and find this jewel set in the most beautiful countryside with views rolling down to the sea. Walking into a house glowing with the patina of rich woods, mullioned windows, fires burning, flowers in abundance and art and antiques filling every corner you cannot help but to sink into the atmosphere and feel at home. Tired off a flight a perfect place to stop and absorb New Zealand hospitality at its best - not to mention the fine foods and wines. Donna and Adrienne make up a wonderful team and Nicky as the chefs and the food and wine pairing dinner in their panelled dining room was divine. Each suite rolls into another in terms of unique decor and views. Whether you fall in love with the original owner's suite - Rhodes where the Prince of Wales slept or the primrose sunshine Veranda suite that was the Duchess of Cornwall's or the other suites adding up to a total of 7 - they are all iconic in their own way. Touches in every room just create the most luxurious house party ever - but with no stuffiness. Anything you wish from exploring the herb and garden Potages to cycling around Christchurch with the locals who explain the 'day it all happened' when the earthquake struck to visiting the local vineyards or more - everything and more is possible and this a stay here is a true joy. Every tiny detail is catered for here and when you leave there is a tear in your eye.
Sarah Rowan (Staff)
Otahuna is New Zealands largest private historic residence. The building is full of grace and style and has been impeccably restored and refurbished by its passionate owners, Hall and Miles. They have managed to keep it true to its original glory, whilst making it fully functional as a luxury lodge for discerning guests. The rooms are stunning and each one is so unique and characterful. Every suite has a fire place and a very well thought through layout and set-up. The food here is exquisite, with two remarkable chefs producing some of the best food you will find anywhere in New Zealand. The 5 course evening meal, paired with local wines is a real highlight. If you are feeling like you have overindulged, there is a swimming pool, gym and bicycles for guests to use at their leisure. The grounds are stunning; with one of the most impressive vegetable gardens I have seen. You can lose yourself exploring the gardens and meeting the pigs and chicken. At just a 20 minute drive from Christchurch centre and a 30-40 minute drive from the airport, this is in a fantastically accessible spot.
Katie Kennard (Staff)
Located just 20 minutes from Christchurch Centre, Otahuna really does have this incredible charm about it that other lodges are trying so hard to achieve. Each of Otahunas seven suites is an enclave of refined comfort. All suites have their own unique style which makes it so special, the Rhodes being the most impressive, being a four room Master suite with an octagonal study which lets in a lot of light. Another of the main suites as a 14 metre veranda. The owners of the lodge are always about and so happy to show you around their beautifully manicured gardens and vegetable patch. The staff and incredibly conscientious and they make you feel so at ease. Jimmy is an incredibly chef, its always such a treat to know most of the veggies are fresh from the garden. Otahuna is a perfect place to start and end your holiday!
Olivia Smith (Staff)
As soon as you set eyes on the old-world splendour of Otahuna Lodge, you know you are in for a special experience. Perched majestically amidst landscaped grounds with a backdrop of rugged hills, this stunningly restored home is utterly commanding and strikingly beautiful. The owners, Miles and Hall, have lavished so much care and attention on the property, both inside and out, that it is difficult not to become enamoured with the place. From the masculine rural chic of the Polo Suite to the warm reds and open fire of the expansive Rhodes Suite, each suite is entirely unique whilst maintaining classic country elegance. Food and wine is also central to the Otahuna experience, with talented chefs producing the most delicious fare, some sourced from the grounds of the lodge. I would definitely recommend coinciding your visit with the spring arrival of millions of daffodils that cover the grounds of Otahuna in the most beautiful carpet of yellow.
Dolphin Encounter off the coast of Kaikoura - Shared
Make one of life's dream a reality and not only watch dolphins in the wild but get the chance to swim with them as well, just off the coast of Kiakoura.
Heli Hiking on the Tasman Glacier - Shared
This fly-in, fly-out heli-hike combines the excitement of walk on the mighty Tasman Glacier and the dramatic scenery of the Southern Alps, which will impress you beyond expectations.
TranzAlpine Adventure Day Trip - By Train and Road - Shared
Enjoy a scenic train journey from Christchurch to visit Arthur's Pass. Crossing the Canterbury Plains, you will visit this beautiful National Park, which sits 740m above sea level.
TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch to Greymouth - Shared
The fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, deep gorges and glacial rivers await as you take one of the world’s most iconic train journeys from Christchurch to Greymouth.
Location & directions
Christchurch, Canterbury and the West Coast, New Zealand
Otahuna Lodge is located on Rhodes Road in the secluded Port Hills valley in Tai Tapu, just twenty minutes drive from Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand.
How to get there
Otahuna is an easy 25-minute drive from Christchurch International Airport, which receives international and domestic flights daily.
- 100% financial protection
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Firsthand knowledge
- Renowned service
- Award-winning tour operator