New Zealand’s South Island, also known as Te Waipounamu or Te Wahipounamu, is a wondrous place packed with lush rainforests, rugged coastline, glow worm caves, alluring beaches, wineries, and a rich natural history that allows you to travel back 80 million years. Beyond its bounty of natural sites, it also has a long list of Te Waipounamu wellness retreats that are well worth a visit.
Here, wellness traditions meet luxury in a picturesque environment. Whether you prefer a more relaxed spa experience or a rejuvenating soak in the pool between exploring breathtaking scenery, you’ll find your ideal getaway on New Zealand’s South Island.
We’ve compiled a list of the top ten Te Waipounamu wellness resorts to stay at during your trip. Many offer the feel of a private island vacation, access to stunning beaches, spa areas, and more to ensure your trip feels special. Instead of visiting popular island locations like the Hawaiian Islands, Galapagos Islands, and Andaman Islands for your wellness retreat, consider visiting South Island for a unique experience.
We have visited some of the below resorts, and others are on our must-visit list.
Our Favorites on the South Island of New Zealand!
Kimi Ora Eco Resort
The Kimi Ora Eco Resort comes highly recommended, with most guests leaving overwhelmingly positive reviews. This New Zealand wellness resort is near many local attractions, including Abel Tasman National Park, Split Apple Rock, and Kaiteriteri Beach. Some of the attractions are even within walking distance. This 4-star hotel boasts incredible beach views and a plethora of amenities. Onsite, you’ll find a day spa with massages, facials, and more services. Their aqua center offers the ability to sit in a steam room or sauna and soak in one of the pools afterward.
As the name suggests, this retreat is tucked away in the South Island’s rainforest. Each room offers a stunning view of New Zealand’s natural environment and proximity to the famous Franz Josef Glacier. This wellness retreat is a great option for most, as you can find rooms ranging from budget to luxury. The Rainforest Retreat provides a secluded getaway experience, so you can recoup from regular day-to-day stress. You can also splurge on a more luxurious room to enjoy additional amenities like a relaxing hot tub.
Bay of Many Coves Resort
The Bay of Many Coves Resort is a 5-star hotel tucked away in a bay in Queen Charlotte Sound. The view from the suites and apartments is more than reason enough to book a stay at this luxury resort. Many wellness activities are available here, including a relaxing spa, nature excursions, and eco cruises. You can also book exciting tours, like a fishing, sailing, or dolphin tour. Additionally, you can experience the glow worms of the South Island by walking a few steps from the resort after dark.
Marsden Lake Resort Central Otago
If 5-star hotels are on your travel list, you’ll want to book a few nights at the Marsden Lake Resort Central Otago. You can rent one or two-room villas overlooking the lake and mountains here. Each room has direct access to the water, fully stocked kitchens, dining rooms, and decks perfect for taking in the views. Spa villas are also available, which include hot tubs. Onsite, you’ll also find an award-winning restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Split Apple Retreat
This beautiful retreat in Kaiteriteri gained recognition from Conde Nast as being “one of the most serene and restful places to stay in the entire hemisphere.” Split Apple Retreat provides a luxurious wellness experience through carefully selected ingredients in their restaurant meals, saltwater infinity pools, massage services, meditation opportunities, and more. Lee and Pen Nelson created this South Island retreat to have guests feel better and less stressed upon leaving.
Set on the beautiful Banks Peninsula, overlooking a private bay, you’ll find four villas and a working farm along the coast. This relaxing getaway offers a break from daily stress via its secluded location. Annandale Villas are situated in charming historic buildings yet feature modern amenities. When staying at Annandale Villas, you can enjoy fresh farm-to-table food from an onsite chef. During your stay, you can recuperate and relax with various activities, ranging from scenic tours to cooking classes and kayaking excursions.
Maruia Hot Springs
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy this hidden gem in the Southern Alps in Lewis Pass National Reserve. Maruia Hot Springs is a New Zealand wellness resort offering many activities, including soaking in the mineral pools, yoga, nature walks, and meditation. When booking a stay at Maruia Hot Springs, you can select how close to nature you want to be by camping, glamping, or spending a few nights in an onsite hotel.
The Millbrook Wellness Resort is another New Zealand accommodation that works well for different budget points, as you can select between suites, homes, and retreats during your stay. This resort has an award-winning spa with many services, including facials, massages, and detox wraps. You’ll also find a golf course, a fitness center, and multiple restaurants onsite.
Oakridge Resort Wanaka
The New Zealand South Island is one of the best vacation islands for a reason; it’s home to beautiful wellness retreats, like the Oakridge Resort Wanaka. This resort is situated nearby rolling mountains and Lake Wanaka, providing a serene and stunning location for a retreat. During a stay, you can use the onsite day spa, outdoor hot pools, and fitness center to help with relaxation. Many attractions are available nearby this resort, including the Wanaka Airport, Puzzle World, winter sports, climbing walls, and more.
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is one of the top island vacation spots, offering a stunning location to recoup from the chaos of daily life. During your stay at this retreat, you’ll be surrounded by glacial landscapes, mountains, and views of starry skies. This retreat sets itself apart by offering relaxation services based on holistic therapies that help guests connect with nature. Services include private yoga, in-room massages, nature walks, facials, forest bathing, and more.