Otiake, New Zealand

Photo: Valley Views Glamping

New Zealand is unlike any other destination. It isn’t full of classic historic sites and grand cities. Your itinerary isn’t packed with museums. No, your focus here is clearly nature. You want to spend as much time in the mountains and on the water as possible. Your days are planned around drives and trails. While detours are focused on adventure sports and wineries. So the last thing you want is a traditional hotel at the end of the day. This makes New Zealand the place to go glamping.

On the South Island, you were already planning on spending time in the Southern Alps, which run down the western side of the island. Christchurch and Queenstown, the island’s largest cities, would definitely bookend the trip. The Waitaki Valley, a rural area between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, would be included, too. You want to bike the Alps 2 Ocean trail, walk the Kurow Hill Walkway, fly fish on the Hakataramea River, and sample Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir wines. Now you can add sleeping in a Lotus Belle tent, bathing in the forest, and feeding alpacas to your plans.

Valley Views Glamping is in Otiake, a quiet town in the middle of the South Island. It sits in the foothills of Mount Domett on a beef cattle farm. It’s owned by an environmentally conscious couple who met while traveling. They created a solar-powered eco-lodge with a rustic kitchen, a communal dining table, and shared bathrooms. Breakfast and three-course dinners are served here. A swinging couch and Adirondack chairs fill the wooden deck. They overlook a barbecue area and a fire pit. You can also see the tops of five domes and a single cabin.

The geodesic domes have wooden frames and doors. King beds, covered with down duvets and wool blankets, face large bay windows and more wooden decks. They, in turn, gaze at the Waitaki Valley. Fairy lights keep the focus on the star-filled sky at night. While the Lone Hill Dome includes a little log burner for chilly evenings. It’s magical spots like these that make you return to New Zealand time and time again.

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