New Zealand’s Ultimate Luxury Lodge

Time stands still at Queenstown’s peerless Matakauri Lodge—at least until you head for the nearby slopes.

By Richard Clune 18/07/2023

There’s an ease to things at Matakauri Lodge. That’s not to suggest it’s anything other than one of New Zealand’s, indeed, this region’s, finest luxury lodges—but there is a sense of warming simplicity that blankets time spent here. It’s to do with the setting: 10 kilometres outside New Zealand’s famed Queenstown, along a meandering road shadowed by fir pines which leads to a hidden parcel of land nudging the crisp, clear waters of Lake Wakatipu. The mountains of Cecil and Walter Peaks, as well as The Remarkables, frame the outlook—a truly mesmerising natural vista that even the sharpest photography cannot replicate.

It also has to do with the ways of the staff and the service—what is delivered is friendly, welcoming and the antithesis of the fustiness that still drapes certain renowned luxury properties. It is attentive without being intrusive, a service that knows what you want before you realise it (read: a morning coffee, order remembered from the previous day, installed in a car for an early-morning trek to the snowfields).

Matakauri comprises a main communal lodge and a smattering of low-slung private “suites” (label them villas) each built to draw those aforementioned views inside. Each boasts a spacious lounge with daybed and statement chairs, as well as a mezzanine bedroom and lavish double-basin bathroom with bath, the main areas treated to a wonderful central fireplace (gas) and a muted interiors palette across greys, white and some pops of ochre. Sit, lie or soak in a bath and lose yourself to the natural world and its daily dance of colour and light across the mountains and lake.

Matakauri also offers an expansive and secluded four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage—a private wonderland that is one of the region’s ultimate exclusive-use properties and which, like the villas, boasts interiors by acclaimed designer Virginia Fisher, her subtle eye lending to natural timber, stone and fabrics. Know that this is where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Wills and Kate) tucked up when visiting the area in 2014.

The main lodge exists around a central fireplace and acts as meeting point, reception, as well as housing the dining and lounge rooms. Evening cocktails are encouraged—and complimentary—with prices here inclusive of all meals, which are beautifully crafted by chef Jonathan Rogers using the finest local produce.

While you’ll occasionally see and smile at other guests, most keep to themselves. This is a private escape, mostly couples, guests drawn from across the globe (Paris and New York on our recent visit), as well as a smattering of locals and Australians.

At Matakauri, it’s possible for days to be completely lost to a book, multiple baths or simply being enveloped by the very real sounds of silence and the stillness. In fact, awaking each morning to the views from bed (that elevated position is quite something), movement beyond the doona can prove unappealing—which would be a shame given that this is Queenstown and the proximity to the Southern Hemisphere’s finest ski fields.

The closest to town—The Remarkables—is a rolling playground of terrain that can accommodate all levels, though it arguably leans towards intermediates, those starting out and families. Being 30 minutes’ drive from “downtown” Queenstown can mean some crowds—especially on the bluebird days “Remarks” is known for, given its north-facing aspect and the way its valley setting offers certain protections. It’s possible to avoid queues, though, by hiring a private instructor.

Not only will you get some tips regardless of your level, an instructor can act as a personal guide, navigating the mountains and finding the best spots.

Nearby Coronet Peak feels bigger and wider than its official 280 hectares—a mountain of three main lifts with multiple opportunities to carve out a desired day, be it cruising some easy groomers, or chasing speed, bumps, kickers or jumps. Coronet (this being a ski field, always expect the singular) offers striking views down and across the Wakatipu Basin, with night skiing offered on Wednesdays and Fridays—a wonderful way to experience a unique slice of snow during a trip. Being an elevated mountainous area—where the weather can be temperamental—it makes sense to build additional days into an itinerary; a chance to experience the wonder that is lakeside Queenstown and its very strong impression of a snowy European village, especially at dusk as amber streetlights flicker into life.

Of the many and varied attractions dotted around its buzzy small streets and various back lanes, Fergburger is a rightful burger institution that will take phone orders for collection, enabling you to beat the snaking daily queue (thank us for that tip later). Know that locals speak highly of Devil Burger, too.

At the opposite end of the foodie scale, but still an equal “must”, is Lake Hayes’ Amisfield restaurant, voted New Zealand’s finest and which currently wears three hats. A darkened room of wood and local schist rock, and dominated by a large open fireplace, this is inventive and faultless fine dining as led by chef Vaughan Mabee (ex Noma). The menus change according to season and supply, but what’s on offer is a standout culinary evening (hello eel on Vogel’s bread; quail with harakeke) that typifies the flavours of Central Otago’s finest and most unique produce, all washed down with exquisite Amisfield wines (do not miss the tightly held 2019 Chardonnay, among others).

Arrowtown, a short drive from Matakauri, proves to be a step back in time. The former mining town is a well-preserved—and wooden—nod to its history, where the local cinema can be booked for exclusive use, The Winery offers the most fun self-guided wine tour you’ll have and The Dishery does a heady, warming lunch. While Central Otago grapes have established a rightful place on the global stage, local gin is finding a footing too; the best way to experience it is via a gin heli-tour which takes in the award-winning Cardrona Distillery—where you can also lay down your own barrel—before heading for Broken Heart to sample some of its truly distinct and impressive blends.

All this drinking and eating and it’s time for a nap. Home to the warming ways of Matakauri and a level of refined luxury that make it one of the world’s finest lodges.

Suites start from $850 per person/per night twin share, and include breakfast, lunch, dinner and pre-dinner cocktail hour, plus wine matching with dinner on one night (offer available until 30 September);


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How To Make the Ultimate Hangover Cure

Is this the ultimate cocktail to know by heart?

By Belinda Aucott-christie 29/05/2024

The Savoy in London, a beacon of luxury and opulence, holds a significant place in British history as the nation’s first luxury hotel. It was a haven where the affluent sought to experience a taste of royalty. Interestingly, it was within these grand walls that the alleged liquid remedy for hangovers, The Corpse Reviver, was born.


Due to its medicinal qualities, this cocktail has passed into drinking folklore, making its recipe a right of passage for any lush.

The Corpse Reviver is aptly named for its life-affirming qualities and claimed ability to knock a hangover on the head.

It’s reassuring to know that the dreaded hangover was such a cause of social consternation in the late 1940s, that it demanded a creative response from Savoy’s hotel bar staff. We’ll drink to that.

Adding to the Corpse Reviver’s allure is the mystery surrounding its creation. Was it the ingenious work of Savoy bartender Johnny Johnson or the creative genius of Joe Gilmore? The exact timeline of its inception between 1948 and 1954 remains a tantalising enigma. 

It’s a zesty, slightly sour hangover cure with a cheeky touch of absinthe shining through. If your hangover is very bad, add a little more syrup to the mix.

To make, take a cocktail shaker and add equal parts dry gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc (3/4 of a shot each). 

Add a tiny dash of sugar syrup and absinthe, shake all ingredients with ice until very cold, strain and pour into a chilled coupe.

Garnish with a chic lemon twist and say cheerio to your hangover. 

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ThirdHome Arrives Down Under

The global home-swap club targeting Australia’s millionaires.

By Belinda Aucott 24/05/2024

Wayne Shealy made his name developing resorts from New England to the Caribbean, and shifting more than $3 billion in luxury real estate. In 2010 he started ThirdHome to let luxury homeowners leverage the empty parts of properties in their portfolio to enjoy better holidays. Billed as an exclusive community of ‘neighbours’, ThirdHome now facilitates swapping second and third homes for the super-wealthy.

Wade Shealy, CEO and Founder of ThirdHome, a luxury home-swapping membership program. THIRDHOME

While the glamorous international portfolio spans illustrious private residences, including castles, ranches and chalets, it has been extended to private islands, pieds-à-terre, safari camps, wineries, boutique hotels and yachts.

Turin Castle in Forfar, Scotland. THIRDHOME

Purpose-built for people who own at least two residences and have homes to spare valued at over $2 million, all applicants are vetted and assessed, before being allowed to join. With a global portfolio across 100 countries and 2500 destinations, Shealy is now focusing on Australia.

“We’re super excited for the next chapter of our Australian journey,” Shealy says, from his horse farm outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. 

“We know there’s an extremely healthy appetite for Australians with second homes wanting to become members, who love to travel and want to enjoy exclusive access to the world’s more exceptional stays for a fraction of the price,” he says of his motivation for extending the network Down Under.  He notes that by cleverly utilising the downtime in their own homes, they can fund extravagant trips they may have never dreamt possible. Doing so in a gated community that values trust and respect.

Château De Vézins in Loire Valley, France. THIRDHOME

The spirit of sharing drives the sservice, with ThirdHome members acquiring points in the system each time they open their doors to others. This makes it a self-regulating community backed by solid technology and vigilant management that keeps applicants A-grade.

“Our members are house proud and guest proud,” he adds. “They want the guests to have a great experience.”

Learn more about membership and the rules of engagement here

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Art for Investment

A new private gallery in Sydney helps collectors enter the secondary market.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 24/05/2024

When Art Basel opens next month in Switzerland, it will do so with fresh power under its wings. In 2022 the global art market totalled $67.8 billion, showing 3 percent year-on-year growth*. This year, art topped Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index, with prices rising by 11 percent over 2023. According to most reports, art is now a positively appreciating asset class. By comparison, the values of rare whisky, classic cars, handbags, and furniture fell.

This raises the question of how to invest wisely in art and ensure the sound provenance of your investment. Jesse Jack De Deyne and Boris Cornelissen from A Secondary Eye are here to help art collectors. Conceived as a private gallery with rotating exhibitions, the space is designed to help serious investors confidently buy and sell.

“We offer access to some of the finest works entering the secondary market in Australia and operate with a stringent provenance framework in place,” says Jess Jack De Deyne from the company’s top-floor space overlooking leafy Queen Street in Sydney’s Woollahra.

De Deyne and Cornelissen opened in May with a presentation of rare works by Rover Thomas, the late East Kimberly artist who represented Australia at the 1990 Venice Biennale.

Rover Thomas, Desert Meeting Place, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas.

De Deyne specialises in Indigenous Australian art and comes to Sydney with a background as a Director in an Aboriginal Arts Centre and working for a leading auction house. Cornelissen is a former contemporary art specialist from Sotheby’s in London and Hong Kong.

“We are most effective when a prospective client comes to us with a specific artwork in mind,” explains De Deyne. “They may have recently been to Canberra to visit the highly regarded exhibition of Emily Kame Kngwarreye at the National Gallery of Australia and there is a specific period of the artist that they are drawn to. Through our contacts, we may be able to help source available related works that would not necessarily appear at auction.” 

Though A Secondary Eye was founded in 2020 in Brisbane, De Denye says the larger pool of collectors drew them down to Sydney. The new gallery’s private aspect seems to be a key selling point for the duo, who prize discretion and private sales. 

Rover Thomas, Lake Argyle, 1994 natural earth pigments on canvas

“Whereas auctions are publicly advertised, a private dealer can offer a work discreetly to a handful of clients without over-exposing it. And we can also present works in a more considered way through curated, high-quality exhibitions that tell the story of each work.”

While some may be intimidated by entering the art market, these art dealers say exposure to the art world is key to unlocking its potential. “Take the time to attend art fairs, exhibitions and auction viewings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. With time and experience, you will learn what you are drawn to and how the offered prices sit relative to other works in the market.”

In an art world overflowing with rules, customs, and jargon, De Deyne is quick to clarify the key difference between dealers and advisers for newbies. 

“An art dealer helps collectors buy and sell artworks and therefore has a commercial incentive in selling a work. The best art advisors work independently, often on a retainer, and don’t profit from the transaction, which means they can give their clients honest advice. 

De Deyne and Cornelissen are well-placed to help people get a foot in the market, no matter how experienced they are. Ultimately, they preach to the choir, appealing most to fine art collectors searching for a specific work. 

“We work in a niche area and ultimately attract people who share our interests. Art collectors, particularly on the secondary market, often follow the art, rather than the person selling it.”

Follow A Secondary Eye here for future exhibitions. 

*According to the 2023 Art Market 2023, authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew, Founder of Arts Economics and published by Art Basel in partnership with UBS

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Watch of the Week: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph

Roger Dubuis unveils its innovative chronograph collection in Australia for the very first time.

By Josh Bozin 21/05/2024

When avant-garde Swiss watchmaker Roger Dubuis revealed its highly anticipated Chronograph Collection halfway through 2023, it was a testament to its haute horology department in creating such a technical marvel for everyday use. Long at the forefront of cutting-edge design and technological excellence, Roger Dubuis (pronounced Ro-ger Du-BWEE) is no stranger to such acclaim.

Now, fans down under will finally get a taste of the collection that made headlines, with the official Australian unveiling of its Chronograph Collection. Representing precision engineering, extraordinary craftsmanship, and audacious design, this collection, now in its fifth generation, continues to redefine the chronograph category.

Roger Dubuis Australia welcomes the Excalibur Spider Collection to the market, featuring the exquisite Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph, as well as the Excalibur Spider Revuelto Flyback Chronograph (a timepiece made in partnership with Lamborghini Squadra Corse). Each model speaks at lengths to the future of ‘Hyper Horology’—watchmaking, as Roger Dubuis puts it, that pushes the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

Roger Dubuis

“Roger Dubuis proposes a unique blend of contemporary design and haute horlogerie and the Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is the perfect illustration of this craft,” says Sadry Keiser, Chief Marketing Officer. “For its design, we took inspiration from the MonovortexTM Split-Seconds Chronograph, while we decided to power the timepiece with an iconic complication, the flyback chronograph, also marking its come back in the Maison’s collections.”

The Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph is bold and flashy—a chronograph made to be seen, especially at its 45mm size. But Roger Dubuis wouldn’t have it any other way. The supercar-inspired watch is certainly captivating in the flesh. Its multi-dimensional design reveals different layers of technical genius as you spend time with it: from its case crafted from lightweight carbon to its hyper-resistant ceramic bezel, black DLC titanium crown, open case back with sapphire crystal, and elegant rubber strap to tie the watch together, it’s a sporty yet incredibly refined timepiece.

The new RD780 chronograph calibre powers the chronograph, a movement fully integrated with two patents: one linked to the second hand of the chronograph and the other to the display of the minute counter. The chronograph also features a flyback function.

The complete set is now available at the Sydney Boutique for those wishing to see the Roger Dubuis Chronograph Collection firsthand.




Model: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Spider Flyback Chronograph
Diameter: 45mm
Material: C-SMC Carbon case
Water resistance: 100m

Movement: RD780 calibre
Complication: Chronograph, date
Functions: hours, minutes, and central seconds
Power reserve: 72 hours

Bracelet: Black rubber strap

Availability: upon request
Price: $150,000

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Thanks to NETGEAR, the First Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System Has Arrived

Elite WiFi performance for your whole home.

By Robb Report 30/05/2024

There’s no denying that in today’s era of technological innovation, home living and entertainment have reached unprecedented heights. In fact, modern home technology is so advanced that we can now enjoy futuristic comforts at the touch of a button (or the flick of a switch).

But one caveat to overcome before enjoying such modern perks: you need ultra-fast Wi-Fi to feed internet-hungry devices, especially when our dependence on Wi-Fi will only grow. Enter, NETGEAR’s latest Wi-Fi technology, set to change the performance of your whole home.


The NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series Quad-Band WiFi 7 Mesh System is the first of its kind in the category of Wi-Fi technology, unlocking the extraordinary power of WiFi 7 (with 2.4 x faster speeds than WiFi 6). The Orbi 970 Series elevates what most households love, like streaming movies in the highest possible quality, linking wireless speakers throughout your home to play concert-quality music in every room, and gaming like a pro without any lag or drop-outs. But the Orbi 970 Series will also drastically improve your workflow, from email and colleague chats to taking Zoom calls and more.

Leveraging over 25 years of NETGEAR engineering innovation and exclusive patented technology, the Orbi 970 Series will service all of today’s needs, as well as tomorrow’s—in a country like Australia, where internet standards lag behind the rest of the world, residential multi-gigabit speeds will become a godsend. With unparalleled performance based on cutting-edge, patented technology, the Orbi 970 Series will continue to grow with its users, especially as our homes get “smarter”; relying on technology, such as the Orbi 970 Series, will be paramount.

And design doesn’t have to be compromised, either. Wi-Fi might not necessarily be the sexiest topic out there (very few Wi-Fi routers exist that you could call “design-drive”), but the Orbi 970 Series changes that. Thanks to a new sophisticated design, the Orbi 970 Series is elegant enough to blend seamlessly with your home décor.


Best of all, thanks to a one-year NETGEAR Armour included with your purchase, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your family and your home are protected with an automatic security shield across your connected devices.

The NETGEAR Orbi 970 series Quad Band WiFi 7 Mesh System retails for $4,299. To learn more, visit the website here.


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