Split Apple Retreat

Abel Tasman National Park, Marlborough and Nelson, New Zealand

At a Glance

  • Split Apple Retreat is located on a forested clifftop near the Abel Tasman Park. With just three suites the retreat is very private and peaceful.

  • All suites have balconies and sweeping ocean views as well as a second private deck with sunbeds surrounded by pretty gardens.

  • There is a real focus on wellness with completely tailored programmes to suit each guest if they would like. Not forgetting the beautiful infinity pool,  Japanese spa and picturesque yoga hut. 

  • There is an eight-seat theatre with a huge projector screen, enjoy one of the 400 films on offer.

  • Explore the park with numerous hiking trails and kayaking on offer as well as private walking access to Split Apple Beach. 

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Best time to Visit

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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.

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Insider's View

Experience the Split Apple Wellness program, guaranteed to reduce stress and boost the immune system, leaving you feeling as fresh and vibrant as the stunning surroundings!

Call us on 020 3993 8476 to start planning your holiday to Split Apple Retreat or take a look at our itineraries to New Zealand


Right on the borders of the Abel Tasman National Park, Split Apple Retreat offers sleek design, a stunning location and a fantastic wellness centre, making this the ultimate destination for those looking for a revitalising experience in rural New Zealand.

Split Apple Retreat will make the most discerning wishes for relaxation and rejuvenation come true in one of the most dramatic settings in New Zealand. Designed with Japanese inspiration in mind, each of the three light-flooded suites opens to gardens and decks with uninterrupted views over the island-dotted sea. The property houses an infinity pool, sauna, steam room, outdoor spa and gym, combining perfectly with the exceptional wellness menus. Each meal is based on functional foods, carefully selected from the best local and seasonal produce and freshly prepared by a culinary artist to guide you towards greater health and vitality.

Yoga, meditation, cooking classes and personal wellness programmes are also available and private paths lead to small secluded bays and golden beaches, where water taxis will take you directly into the Abel Tasman National Park. Kayaking, fishing, swimming with seals, horse riding, wine tasting and remote walks and helicopter trips are all readily available.

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The Fuji Room and Lotus Room are wood-panelled Japanese-style oceanfront rooms, each with a king-size bed, Japanese granite bath, two private decks and gardens and the Rainbow Room is a large two-level oceanfront room with a separate lounge, and a king-size bed. The sofa in the lounge can be converted to an extra bed. All rooms feature: 42 inch LCD TV with Apple TV, sound system, Wi-Fi and private decking and gardens.




The writer Henry Millers observation about travel that ones destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things could stand as a mission statement for the Split Apple Retreat. Walk through the 300 year old gates, salvaged from a Japanese temple that was due to be demolished, and you step into not just beautifully designed accommodation but you become immersed in a whole new worldview one passionately lived and promoted by the owners. Lee Nelson, a retired doctor with an interest in wellness-oriented medicine and longevity, and his wife Pen, a trained chef specialising in the functional food that fits with Lees wellness philosophy, are the living embodiment of the lifestyle on offer at Split Apple.

In fact the entire retreat - surrounded by lovely grounds set in a bushy cliff overlooking the ocean - is imbued with the sense of balance that Lee believes can be achieved by a healthier approach to living. The restrained Japanese aesthetic is tempered with the luxuries of Western comfort, the setting intimate yet spacious, the man-made seamlessly integrated with the natural. And this balance is also reflected in what the retreat has to offer. Its not your typical detox boot-camp - indeed, this is what sets Split Apple apart from many wellness retreats. While it offers a comprehensive range of services for those looking to develop the tools to make long-lasting lifestyle changes, theres complete flexibility in how you choose to avail yourself of the experiences on offer. While visitors can participate in the comprehensive program which includes everything from taking blood tests prior to arrival that Lee analyses and uses as a basis for developing a wellness plan, nutritional classes, and meditation, the accommodation also functions just as successfully as a straightforward luxury getaway. It includes high-end spa treatments such as facials and massages, good both for those wanting to improve their well-being or just to be pampered, as well as a sauna, steam room and the spectacular outdoor onsen (Japanese spa) and infinity pool with breathtaking ocean views.

The only thing that all guests partake in is the spectacular food. Its hard to imagine health food as delicious and satisfying tasting it is one of those rare occasions when employing the clich sublime is actually warranted. Pens cooking manages to meet the standard of quality restaurant fare while remaining true to the principles of functional food that Lee has developed the idea that all elements of a dish should serve a purpose in maintaining and improving health and longevity.

For a different, but equally exclusive getaway, the Retreats sister property Split Apple Hideaway is the ultimate holiday home. Set on a secluded beachfront, this property offers contemporary luxury open-plan living, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening out to decks with uninterrupted views of the ocean and an enchanting secluded beach. You have a choice of your own fabulous private chef, or if you're looking for complete privacy, a well-stocked kitchen with top line facilities for self-catering. The Hideaway is accessible by car or, for those who place a premium on their privacy, a helicopter can land you on the beach directly below ideal for the celebrity clientele this hideaway is likely to attract. But it also offers an ideal getaway for the non-famous its four double bedrooms are on separate levels, making it the perfect place to go with friends while still maintaining a sense of space. The various decks allow you to enjoy a glass of one of the local wines while admiring the luminosity of light particular to this part of the world. And if you're lucky, you may even catch sight of some penguins ambling up the beach.

On your way back to the Retreat you'll pass Split Apple, the famous rock formation shaped just as its name suggests, for which the Retreat is named. Its singular beauty, enhanced by the uniquely incandescent light of Nelson a light that attracted New Zealand's greatest artist, Colin McCahon to the region embodies the unrivalled loveliness of this part of the world. While its common knowledge New Zealand is a place of unparalleled natural beauty, the area of Nelson and specifically the precinct of Split Apple is relatively under-discovered by travellers. Split Apple Retreat and Hideaway provide the most exclusive way to discover the sunshine capital of New Zealand and all it has to offer.


  • Golden Bay & Farewell Spit (Shared)

    A visit to Golden Bay is an adventure in itself. Two of its most famous attractions are Pupu Springs and Farewell Spit.

  • Marlborough Private Wine Tour

    Marlborough is well known for its wines, gourmet cuisine, beautiful gardens, award winning olive oils and inspirational artists. Come and enjoy the wineries, breweries and attractions of the Marlborough wine region.

  • Private Charter in the Abel Tasman National Park

    Explore Abel Tasman National Park's iconic coastline on this idyllic private charter. Your journey will take you passed Split Apple Rock, Kaiteriteri, Marahau, Adele and Fishermans Islands, and on to Tonga Island seal colony.

  • Private Guided Hike on Queen Charlotte Track

    Explore the picturesque Queen Charlotte Track on a privately guided hike from Ship Cove to Endeavour Inlet, passing stunning native foliage and extensive views of the Marlborough Sounds.

  • Private Helicopter Charter - Abel Tasman Cruise and Scenic Heli

    Discover the truly exceptional natural beauty of the Abel Tasman National Park and the rugged peaks of the Kahurangi National Park with a private cruise, 45-minute helicopter flight and lunch on the beach.

  • Seafood Odyssea Cruise (Shared)

    Enjoy a foodie experience like no other as you set sail on the Seafood Odyssea Cruise. Sample the best of Marlborough's seafood paired with some delicious regional wine. You will cruise past a salmon farm and learn about the local fishing industry.

  • The Food Source - Nelson (Private)

    Explore Nelson’s gourmet delights by helicopter, flying between vineyard and reef where you can try your hand at fishing, before relaxing on the beach while your personal chef prepares a delicious three-course lunch.

Location & directions

Abel Tasman National Park, Marlborough and Nelson, New Zealand

Located on Tokongawa Drive, at the border of the breathtaking ocean-front Abel Tasman National Park on the South Island of New Zealand near Nelson.

How to get there

Nelson Airport is the closest airport to Split Apple Retreat and is served by domestic flights from Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, Blenheim and Paraparaumu. The journey time between Split Apple and Nelson Airport is just 50-minutes. Picton Ferry Terminal is about a 2-hour 30-minute drive away.

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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Call us on 020 3993 8476 to start planning your holiday to Split Apple Retreat or take a look at our itineraries to New Zealand

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