R&C Spotlight: Helena Bay Lodge

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Charles McDiarmid
By Charles McDiarmid, Managing Director
Newsletters19 January 2021


While we’re still under travel restrictions in Canada (and many other places in the world), our dreams of traveling abroad are free to roam. New Zealand and Australia were nominated as two of the safest countries to travel to in 2021 (Canada was #1!), and there are a number of notable Relais & Chateaux properties in both countries to keep in mind when we can safely visit.

Helena Bay Lodge sits in a remote bay on New Zealand’s North Island. Just over 40 kilometres north of Whangarei, the lodge can be easily accessed by road—or a short flight by helicopter directly from Auckland International Airport. Once there, however, be prepared to find respite in secluded paradise.

Covering a stunning coastline and over 800 acres, the Lodge’s estate encompasses an area that has a long history of both Maori and European settlements. In most recent history it was a farm, and the Lodge has maintained a series of pathways which run through the native bush, pine forests and open paddocks—perfect for wandering, biking and exploring. Follow a path to one of the four private beaches, one of which has a day pavilion with a kitchenette, bathroom, shower and sun loungers to create the perfect getaway on your getaway. Ask about a takeaway picnic menu ahead of time and the Lodge team will deliver it there for you.

If you’re seeking somewhere private, Helena Bay Lodge is for you. Hosting a maximum of five individual couples at a time, each suite has a balcony overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. Watch visiting whales and dolphins, with your morning coffee, or walk to the water for an evening dip!

Nearby there’s the Poor Knights Islands, a Marine and Nature Reserve (and pending World Heritage Site) with 11 million-year-old volcanic origins. The incredible caves, arches and tunnels in combination with a unique ecosystem vibrating with life, make the islands a world-class diving site. Helena Bay Lodge partners with full-service dive operators who can tailor a diving adventure just for you.

Fine dining at the Lodge has an Italian flair. Head Chef Michele Martino, born in southern Italy, trained with the world-renowned Iaccarino family at Don Alfonso 1890 and combines this Michelin-rated expertise with an “Estate to Plate” philosophy. Whether you choose to dine poolside for lunch or by a private fireplace at dinner, no two meals are alike, and the wine cellar boasts the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator’s 2018 and 2019 Restaurant Awards.

Intimate and romantic, Helena Bay Lodge is the relaxing escape we’ve been dreaming about, and a must add to your list!

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