If you are wondering where you can take the kids this Christmas or in the New Year that is far, far away, exotic and beautiful, yet still safe and comfortable, then look no further than the Hapaku Lodge & Tree Houses. This eco-chic retreat is situated in one of New Zealand’s most spectacular settings on the Kaikoura Peninsula. ‘Kaikoura’ meaning ‘To eat crayfish’ in Maori is one of the world’s best eco-marine destinations and has been home to the Maori for 1000 years. Numerous species of whales can be seen offshore along with pods of dolphins, creating an ecosystem New Zealand Geographic calls, “a maritime Serengeti” and “a SeaWorld without Walls”. It’s the Kiwi version of Big Sur, CA with stunning mountain scenery and a variety of ocean activities to enjoy from sea kayaking and surfing to swimming with seals and deep-sea fishing. For those who prefer to stay dry on land, there are night sky tours, Maori cultural tours, scenic flights, winery tours, horseback riding, biking and great hiking (or tramping as they call it in NZ).
From now until February 28, 2010, the Lodge is offering 25% off a Family Tree House through Mr and Mrs Smith. (Smith card offer applies.) Nestled 30 feet above the ground in the canopy of a native Manuka grove, each Tree House accommodation has spectacular views of Kaikoura’s dramatic mountains and surf-washed Pacific coastline, including a wood burning fireplace, a couple’s spa bath, a rain fountain shower experience that opens directly onto a tree-top deck, as well as LCD TV, DVD/CD player, and a personalized iPod sound system. Family Tree Houses include the upper bedroom for the parents with a lower bedroom (the Branch Tree House) for the children. What could be cozier? There is even a deer farm on the property, which will give the kids a kick as they scan the night skies for Santa’s sleigh.
Rates: NZ$716 per night, (normally NZ$955) based on four people sharing a Family Tree House, including breakfast daily and tax. (Subject to availability.)