New Zealand: Out on a Limb

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Tree-House Lodges -- a trend sweeping island locations from Africa to the Caribbean -- may have you feeling a bit like Tarzan. Take a bright New Zealand morning on the deck of a tree house at the Hapuku Lodge , for example. As the bubbly tui and kotare birds chirp and dart about the manuka tea trees and red deer graze peacefully on the farm below, you may be tempted to swing from the trees forever.

It's eco-tourism luxury 30 feet above ground at this lodge near Kaikoura, the whale-watching mecca on the South Island. The showers are solarpowered, and large windows reveal spectacular views that make it hard to decide whether to snowboard on the 8,500-foot Seaward Kaikoura Range to the west or surf the Pacific Ocean at Mangamaunu Bay to the east. It's also worth descending to admire the majestic sperm whales -- some up to 52 feet long -- that reside year-round off Kaikoura's coast. See them from the air (through Wings Over Whales) or from a boat (with Whale Watch).

Descend the treetops for mouth-watering, pan-fried Canterbury lamb shanks and a bottle of Waipara Valley pinot noir at the Pegasus Bay vineyard on the way to Christchurch. Or if you want to stick to the marine theme -- Kaikoura means "to eat crayfish" in Maori -- head back to the tree houses for dinner and savor a 6-plus-pound Kaikoura crayfish caught by hand by local divers. Tarzan never had it so good. hapukulodge.com

Rate Information

  • Hapuku Lodge's Tree House Accomodations from $380.

More Tree-Top Terraces

  • No need for a rope ladder at Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club on Curaçao; climb a spiral staircase into this resort's newly added 1,312-square-foot Treehouse Mansion. kurahulanda.com
  • Fancy yourself a hornbill on the African island of Lamu at Diamond Beach Village's two-story treehouse, which is perched in the limbs of a baobab tree. diamondbeachvillage.com