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
A very special thank you to Kerry and his team at Huka Lodge for making the celebration of my wife Carol’s birthday over the Queen’s birthday long weekend an occasion to be remembered.
Upon arrival we were met by Kerry, the GM and personally shown around the Lodge, given a history lesson and regaled with some heart felt humour!
We spent 2 nights in a Junior Lodge Suite and almost everything was included - breakfast made to order - pre dinner drinks - 5 course original dinner each night and a service second to none. Other staff that were particularly engaging were Craig, Selina and Mila. They set tremendously high standards of service but also contributed appropriately to conversation and explained their backgrounds having all found their way to NZ from other parts of the world.
Nothing is too much trouble for all the staff at Huka. We arrived back an hour later than we had expected from golf but waiting was the library all set for lunch and Craig saying we have been expecting you!
Kerry you do a wonderful job and your staff are a credit to you! Thank you from all four of us! Carol Stuart Caroline & Bruce.
Marvellous place. Great staff. It’s reputation is fully justified. High standard of accommodation. Dinner was fabulous. Good range of activities. Only thing missing is on-site gym. The staff did offer to drive us down to the local gym - great service. Hopefully will be back soon.
Stunning location by river with beautiful gardens and amazing food and exceptional service. A wonderful place for a honeymoon or a special holiday, all rooms have views of the river and decor is gorgeous.
This place would have to rate as top of my best places to stay anywhere! My wife and I enjoyed two lovely nights at the lodge recently on a romance package to celebrate a major birthday- the staff couldn’t have been more helpful in making this a special weekend. The accommodations are understated elegance at its very best; opening to the bank of the fast flowing Waikato River just above the Huka Falls. If you are inclined you could cast one of their rods and try for a trout in the river. The food and the dining venues are varied and the degustation menus are complemented by an amazing wine cellar. NZ is blessed with an incredible array of luxury lodges and this one is certainly out front of this strong field.
We took a helicopter from the Aukland airport to the Huka Lodge landing on the back garden lawn next to the river. Apparently this is a common occurrence at Huke. It was an amazing flight! Great way to see the local area to say the lease. You can certainly drive from the airport, this was just faster.
We were greeted by several staff members who of course handled our luggage. The lodge is a small, older and historic building. Its an impressive structure with several rooms...library, trophy room, dinging room, parlor, etc. Vast immaculately kept grounds to walk around and discover the local flora and fauna. There is a small store to one side and the kitchen is in the middle of the lodge. Keep in mind this is a small building in comparison to many hotels. Regardless it has the feel of a small english hunting manner. Warm, hospitable and full of pictures and old art, etc as if someone had been living there for years and accumulated everything for themselves (which is basically the case).
We had two rooms in different buildings however the set up is basically two rooms connected by a common entry. The rooms are spacious and open to a common grassy area next the the river. Very very beautiful...I took a nap next to the river and was woken up by rain fall (super relaxing). It rained quite a bit when we were there however we did manage to see plenty of the area between, and during, the downpours (Like the big Huka waterfall). Its a beautiful area to say the least.
The food was very very good. Very clean with fresh local ingredients. Each evening all the guests would gather to socialize in the main parlor (fireplace blazing). Aperitif and hors d'oeuvres were served each evening as well as a cheese station (cheese, honey, nuts, etc). My favorite part of this ritual was the menu recital. The maître d' would privately recite your personal diner menu to your family or group, sighting any dietary requests, prior to being sat in the room you would dining that evening (library, dinging room, outside, etc). My favorite room to dine in was the Trophy Room (as in animal trophies). I think there were three maybe four tables in this room with a view of the back garden. Very very old water buffalo head, elephant tusks, maps, etc, etc everywhere. Very old school, just impeccable!
The service was perfect. Very receptive and accommodating staff. They all seemed genuinely happy to be there. I could go on and on about them but you get the idea.
If you have the time and the budget this is definitely one of the best places to stay in New Zealand!