What We Love
- Pre-dinner drinks, a five-course dinner and full country-style breakfast are included in the Jetsetter rate
- Spacious Suites feature glass door walls that open onto terraces overlooking the roaring Waikato River
- Over twenty possible dining venues, including an Africa room dotted with taxidermy from the owners’ collection
What To Know
- Despite the “Lodge” in the name, the Suites are housed in outbuildings; bundle up to go to dinner in winter
- The ambience is more formal than at some other New Zealand luxury lodges
- With just 25 rooms and no bar per se, there's not much of a party scene
- The North Island’s Lake Taupo region is known for trout fishing and adventure sports
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
Built in 1924 by an Irishman who came to the area for its superlative fly fishing, and operated as a guest lodge for more than 25 years, Huka Lodge has a pleasingly comfortable worn-in look. Old World ambience pervades New Zealand’s original “superlodge,” where much of the decor, not to mention the staff, seems to have been airlifted straight from Scotland. The interior is made up of fireplaces, dark paneling, stately furnishings, taxidermy and tartan. But the reason you come is to fish. Trout-rich Lake Taupo is nearby, and the Waikato River roars right past the lodge. Catch your breakfast and they’ll cook it up for you. Just get cleaned up before heading to the dining room.
Bed and Bath
The Junior Suites and cottages are spacious and quiet, as they occupy separate buildings; the only sound is the surging river. The decor is simple and more contemporary than that of the main lodge, mostly shades of white and cream, with soft gray plaid throws to break things up. The monogrammed bed linens are luxurious, and fresh biscuits provide a nice touch. Bathrooms are spacious and light-filled, with bathtubs set next to large windows.
The lodge offers an impressive array of activities for a 25-room property: an outdoor swimming pool, two hot tubs, tennis courts, croquet, petanque, mountain bikes and in-room massages and facials. But as is the case at many New Zealand lodges, the primary activity is dining. Dutch-born executive chef Michel Louws brings continental flair to the five-course dinners (a standout during my visit was a deconstructed carrot cake with cake crumbles and cream cheese frosting wrapped in a carrot slice) and hearty breakfasts.
How to Get There
Huka is THE lodge to stay at on the North Island. Even the queen of England has stayed there. They have everything perfected at the lodge. It is a traditional place so if you are looking for cool contemporary go elsewhere. If you are looking for refined luxury then this is the ticket. The food was fabulous and if you aren't up to a 7 course, three hour dinner you can ask them to hurry it along and make it quick. The rooms are understated, but lovely. The heated bathroom floors were a great surprise. Taupo is just ok, but it is the outdoor activities that are the highlight. Hiking, fishing, boating. Make sure you pick your dinner spots because there are some pretty romantic places to eat, but even the patio overlooking the river is so beautiful.
The staff work hard to ensure each and every guests’ wishes are met from the moment you arrive and are greeted with a premium NZ sparkling wine, to spending whatever time it takes to answer your questions—and we had a lot of them! Kind, earnest, wonderful professional staff from housekeeping to the night manager (thanks for the early wake up and hot tea with cookies!) to groundskeeping — oh, did I mention how beautiful the GROUNDS are? Stunning gardens, falls, river views abound. We slept soundly each night in total comfort, enjoyed the sunshine and secluded garden views from our well-appointed bathroom. SPA: services are available in your room (massage, pedicure, etc—long list of options) or, on your deck if you wish (for my pedicure). ADVENTURE awaits from advice on treks to biking, fly fishing of course, kayaking - you name it, they can make it happen with the top local providers.
Just 20 rooms. Cocktail hour provides an opportunity to meet other guests if you wish, or to spend time with your companion. Dinners are in different locations throughout the grounds, making it a fascinating and different experience for each guest, each evening, although I’m uncertain how the staff keep up with all of the tables spread throughout, tending to the wood fires as well. Truly amazing and a very, very special place.
Wrote a separate review for the food & beverage service (also 5 stars—would give it 10 stars if I could)
Will post photos later...
While we were a little skeptical of what to expect on our way to Huka Lodge outside of Taupo, NZ, we were blown away upon our arrival. An unexpectedly beautiful property awaited us, supported by a friendly, professional, helpful, international staff, all of whom went out of their way to make our stay amazing. Every room, and all aspects of the Lodge are designed to take full advantage of the picturesque view of the river running along the property. Scenic, peaceful, romantic, relaxing. Truly heaven on earth...as is all of New Zealand.
Given previous reviews, numerous awards (and the room rate!) I must say our expectations were very high for HL. Whilst we had a lovely stay, we left feeling that there was some room for improvement.
The service and all of the staff were very attentive, friendly and really made us feel welcome, equally the food was really stunning.
There are lots of lovely secluded places you can eat but make sure you ask to see them all when you arrive as we were only shown a couple of options and later disappointed to discover others that we couldn’t use as they had already been booked :(
On the down side we felt that the lodge was in need of some maintenance and a clean. We went to use the pool but it was full of flies & debris (and nobody came to check the area in the few hours we sat there), there was mould around the hot tubs and bird poo over the pool surrounds.
The rooms had a stunning outlook with great facilities (apart from tired carpets and cranky doors & dirty windows) but full of flies we had to swat every night!
There’s no doubt the Lodge is beautiful and the dining is lovely but sadly I don’t think it can command such a high room rate given several short-comings.
We felt it also lacked spa facilities (or perhaps even spa treatments).
Worth a visit for lunch or dinner but stay somewhere else.
We stayed in a Junior Logde Suite. Cozy and comfortable. The pre-dinner canapes we lovely and the service impeccable! We took a helicopter tour to the White Island an Mt Tarawera - unforgetable experience. Recommend it with all my heart!