Views of the Tasman Sea, the sound of waves lapping along the Whanganui Inlet, rocky outcroppings that yield to stretches of subtropical sandy beaches.
Encompassing a peninsula and surrounded by bushland, Westhaven Retreat is a rare trophy property and tourism business opportunity on the northwest corner of New Zealand’s South Island. The 330-hectare (815-acre) site contains a remote and private luxury lodge, one of the country’s largest stands of native nikau palms and 8 kilometers (5 miles) of private coastline.
Construction on the traditional Colonial-style complex began decades ago when the owners of the last 30 years developed the site and built three connected octagonal structures. The design was chosen in keeping with feng shui practices.
Organic materials were used to build the environmentally friendly lodge. Tons of hand-split Otago schist stone cover the foyers, patios and entryways.
Stone steps, a pillar-supported overhang and glass doors lead to the reception area. Inside, a center garden is planted with palm trees that follow the open wooden staircase up to the next level.
A stone fireplace with a heavy wood surround adds a cozy ambiance to the restaurant dining room. The vaulted wood ceilings are made of recycled rimu and teak, and the timber floors are of Tasmanian oak and teak. Wide windows bring views and natural light into the semicircular room.
There are two lounges, a bar, five ensuite bedrooms and two luxury suites with such features as sitting areas, balconies and spa tubs.
The lodge swimming pool and spa sit under a wood-beam supported glass canopy enabling year-round use. Stone walls, plantings and an expanse of windows give the space an indoor-outdoor vibe.
Accompanying the 2,732-meter (or nearly 30,000-square-foot) lodge are a two-bedroom cottage and shed.
Hiking, coastal fishing and kayaking are among the many recreational possibilities as well as Jeep, bike, safari and farm tours. There are seven walking trails on the site, with hikes ranging from about 15 minutes to three hours.
Fish, abalone, mussels and crayfish are in abundance. Westhaven Peninsula, which borders Kahurangi National Park and the Westhaven Inlet Marine Reserve and Wildlife Management Reserve, is home to 42 species of birds.
Westhaven Retreat could appeal to an international buyer interested in developing an ecolodge, luxury tourism business or secluded ranch. Roughly a third of the land is devoted to grazing and currently supports 700 sheep.