Just a short scenic 10-minute helicopter ride from the airport, or a 50-minute ferry ride, is Delamore Lodge, set on Waiheke Island. Waiheke is a small island, 19 kilometres by 11 kilometres and has been recently developed. Historically home to hippies, druggies and alternative lifestylers, they have been joined by bankers, stockbrokers, winemakers, artists and olive oil growers. It has a great feel, and a climate which is warmer than Auckland's.
Delamore Lodge is another original lodge. New architecture framing superb views, only four lovely rooms and a womb-like feeling of comfort and privacy, and a new swimming pool, they also specialise in hot stone massages. My memories here are of downing bottles of wine on the terrace and enjoying the views from the bathroom. A lovely, relaxed, informal feeling - a kitchen open to guests - and a great place to start or finish your trip to New Zealand.