Named in the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List for 2017, Helena Bay Lodge lies in the northeast corner of New Zealand’s North Island. The property features three kilometres of pristine coastline, four private beaches and many intimate coves.
Destination - The Poor Knights Islands, which have been shortlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage site, lie 20 kilometres off the coast. These islands feature the world’s largest sea cave and are populated by orca, dolphins and hundreds of fish species.
New Zealand’s temperate climate has four seasons, and in the Far North there is a distinctly subtropical flavour.
Helena Bay's History - This region has a long history of both Maori and European habitation; there are literally thousands of archaeological sites in Northland. The coastline boasts many prominent Pa sites (former Maori fortifications).
There are five Pa sites on Helena Bay Estate. An archaeologist’s estimate suggests that up to 250 people may have called this land their home. With the direct access to the ocean providing an abundant food source and the terrain affording excellent defense, this is not surprising.
The Main House - The inspiration for the architecture of the Lodge came from a desire to achieve timeless legitimacy in the region. For this reason styling ideas were taken from the early European buildings such as The Treaty House in Waitangi, Pompallier Mission House in Russell, Te Waimate Mission House in Kaikohe and the Stone Store in Kerikeri. Modern materials were used, but the appearance is of a building that could have been built a century ago. The base of the building is clad in Northland sedimentary schist, sourced from a nearby quarry, that formed part of the ocean floor 30 million years ago. Construction of the Lodge began in 2010 and was completed in 2016.
Accommodation - Helena Bay hosts a maximum of five individual couples accommodated in five Villa Suites, which are named after New Zealand native birds. All the Villa Suites have extensive balconies with views overlooking Helena Bay beach and beyond to the South Pacific Ocean.
Dining - Helena Bay has brought the celebrated Michelin starred Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 of Southern Italy to New Zealand. Under the direction and the influence of Don Alfonso’s philosophy of respecting the local food culture while incorporating the age-old traditions of the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi Coast, fine dining will define the hospitality experience at Helena Bay.
Experiences - For those who wish to relax, lounging around the pool interspersed with fossicking in the seawater rock pools adjacent to the Lodge is a great way to while-away a pleasant day. A newly-laid Astroturf tennis court is adjacent to the Lodge. Trails for hiking and biking have been cut through the bush and down to the private beaches on the property. The Lodge has the latest Trek mountain bikes (two with electric motors). When exploring the farm you will meet the alpacas, donkeys and Wagyu cattle (all behind fences!).