The moment you lay eyes on the geo domes at Cross Hill, you’ll feel a tingle of excitement shoot through your entire body. Set among the lush natural scenery of New Zealand’s South Island, on the edges of a pristine lake, Cross Hill offers luxurious and unique accommodation combined with a generous amount of High Country Hospitality. It is an experience that cannot be replicated and one you absolutely must do, if you ever get the chance! To help you #TravelWell here’s a look at Cross Hill Lodge & Domes.
See more of the accommodation in our video guide to Wanaka here:
Where is the hotel located?
You’ll find Cross Hill Lodge & Domes located on the southern end of Lake Hāwea, a stunning spot that runs parallel to spectacular Lake Wanaka. We’ve visited Wanaka many times over the years and have always opted to stay in Wanaka as we didn’t know about other wonderful spots to stay!
Basing ourselves at Lake Hāwea allowed us easy access to Wanaka, a short 15-minute drive away. We loved staying somewhere new and found the scenery around Lake Hāwea to be absolutely incredible. Even though we were so close to Wanaka, it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere with few others around. It’s a very special and beautiful location, perfect for anyone visiting Wanaka.
How to get to Wanaka
Located on the southern end of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand‘s stunning south island, Wanaka is the perfect addition to any road trip itinerary. We often take advantage of sale airfares, flying from Brisbane to Christchurch and driving south to Queenstown via Mt Hutt/Methven, Tekapo and Aoraki, and Wanaka. You could also fly into Queenstown and visit Wanaka from there. In terms of drive times you’re looking at 5 hours from Christchurch, 2 hours and 15 minutes from Tekapo and just over an hour from Queenstown.
We included Wanaka in a 3 1/2 week long road trip through the north and south islands. We visited Auckland, the Coromandel, the coastal Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupō and Napier with a plan to visit Wellington. Sadly, we had to cut our Wellington visit from our itinerary due to a change in local restrictions. We caught the ferry from Wellington to Picton then onto Christchurch, Tekapo and Aoraki, Wanaka and Queenstown.
If you’re on a road trip and plan to catch the ferry across the Cook Strait to the south island you must read our guide: How to catch the ferry from Wellington to Picton.
What are the rooms like?
Cross Hill offers six thoughtfully designed and beautifully decorated Geo Domes. They are incredibly comfortable, unique and luxurious providing accommodation that’s memorable and truly enjoyable.
The domes are spread out nicely, each facing the same direction with a large clear space at the front. There are curtains inside that you can draw for privacy while still allowing light in through the top. We loved laying in bed of a morning, watching the sky come alive with vibrant shade of orange and pink.
At 40 square metres, the domes are very spacious and fully equipped with everything you could possibly need. There’s an ensuite inside equipped with a generously sized shower, toilet and basin and cosy modern touches like a heated towel rack and underfloor heating as well as sensored lights for those late-night shuffles to the restroom.
Luggage racks, a full-size mirror and exposed clothes racks create an open wardrobe space. There’s a compact kitchenette with tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge and a dish drawer because who wants to do dishes on holiday?! A table and chairs set at bar height make for a comfortable spot to sit and eat or catch up on emails.
The gas fire place creates a sense of warmth and comfort, perfect for cuddling up in the large and cosy bed. The bed, pillows and bedding are all extremely plush, making it easy to get into bed each night but not so easy to get back out again in the morning. Trust me, you’re going to want to sleep in! A heat pump ensures you’re nice and warm in winter with guest robes to add a touch more relaxation, if you need it.
Outside, there’s another 30 square metres of decking and comfortable chairs to sit and relax on. Honestly, you could spend your entire time in your dome, on the deck or down at Lake Hāwea and be very happy. The domes are, in themselves, a destination. This unique, boutique accommodation will stick in your memory and have you wishing you could stay longer. Everything was, quite simply, perfect.
What facilities does the accommodation have?
Cross Hill’s owners, Sarah and Richard, pride themselves on offering High Country Hospitality. If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re going to love it. To me, it’s a combination of luxury and quintessential country charm. It is an authentic experience that’s high-end and very comfortable. If you’ve ever been luxurious and found it kind of snooty and awkward, you’ll understand what I mean when I say High Country Hospitality is down-to-earth luxury.
There’s a strong focus on connection. To the beautiful surrounds, the animals outside, the other guests and the staff you’ll meet and undoubtedly fall in love with. These things are reflected in the domes and the other places you’ll visit at Cross Hill.
The Lodge sits at the top of the drive and is where you’ll be greeted on arrival. Like any good kitchen space, it is the heart of this very special place. Inside, you’ll find a large dining table with plenty of seating, a cosy lounge room perfect for catching up over a cup of tea, a kitchen, fireplace and a sideboard adorned with all manner of home-made goodies including cakes and cookies.
Guests are welcome to come and go as they please, though the lodge is the site of some pretty unforgettable breakfasts and dinners. If you’re lucky, chef Robin will whip you up something special to eat while showering you in her undeniably gorgeous charm. One bite of her food and you’ll be hooked!
In addition to all that goodness you’ll get to meet resident scoundrel, Digby. An adorable and very energetic little pooch who loves nothing more than ripping around, greeting guests and getting as many cuddles as possible. The staff can organise some much needed down-time for you, if you like, including massages and an unforgettable soak in the wood-fired hot tub.
Best things to do in Wanaka
The biggest problem you’re going to face in Wanaka is trying to whittle down all the things you want to fit into your itinerary into a list of things you can actually fit into your itinerary. It’s a wonderful problem to have. If you only take one piece of advice from me, make it this: spend as long as you possibly can in Wanaka. It is my favourite place in New Zealand and if you rush it, you’ll regret it.
Wanaka offers an endless list of top-notch restaurants, bars and cafes to visit as well as adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities, beautiful hiking trails to explore, cute dogs to meet, scenic spots galore and so much more. I recommend you watch our YouTube video guide at the top of this post and on the Little Grey Box YouTube channel to see our itinerary unfold. You can also read all about it and find more information and inspiration on Wanaka and the best things to do, here: Your Ultimate Guide To Wanaka.
If you’re looking for unique accommodation that will transform an ordinary holiday into something unforgettable and incredibly special look no further than Cross Hill Lodge & Domes. This is one of those places you visit and talk about and reminisce over for years and years to come.
There’s so much to love about the place from the incredible hospitality, beautiful setting and delicious food to the stunning domes and gorgeous little Digby. We truly enjoyed every single moment of our stay and wish we could’ve stayed for longer. We will definitely be back and, next time, we’ll stay for longer.
You often read websites of accommodation providers and hotels touting connection. Cross Hill doesn’t just talk the talk, they deliver on it. You will leave understanding just what it is that makes the region so special because the entire place is infused with that Wanaka magic. All I can say is… book it. Go and stay there. You’re going to love it.
Our two-night stay was generously hosted by Cross Hill Lodge & Domes. All opinions are, as always, authentically our own.
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