If you're looking to come to New Zealand to take time out and rejuvenate yourself, you'll find plenty of opportunities to do so. For a full list of spiritual and/or meditation retreats, check www.nzspiritualdirectory.net.nz, which details spiritual, healing, and meditation retreats and workshops throughout the country. The website www.retreatsonline.com/newzealand also refers you to a number of North and South Island retreats. The Mahamudra Centre, Main Road, Colville, Coromandel (www.mahamudra.org.nz; tel. 07/866-6851), is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation center on 3.2 hectares (8 acres) in the peaceful Colville Valley in the Coromandel region. It hosts group or solo courses and retreats with visiting lamas and teachers. Accommodations are in camping grounds, dormitories, or self-contained cabins.
The Auckland Buddhist Centre, 381 Richmond Rd., Grey Lynn, Auckland (www.aucklandbuddhistcentre.org; tel. 09/378-1120), is dedicated to the teaching and practice of Buddhism in a modern world. The center invites visitors for meditation, or to attend courses and retreats; check the website for regular updates.
Yoga enthusiasts will find great value at Stillpoint, 109 Kelling Rd., Upper Moutere, Nelson (www.stillpointyoga.co.nz; tel. 03/543-2218), which is home to world-renowned Ashtanga Yoga teachers John and Lucy Scott.
Hotel & Day Spas
Most major hotels in New Zealand now feature their own day spa, and there has been a proliferation of privately owned day spas opening throughout the country. I have detailed many of these in the body of the guide.
In my view, the most luscious of the Auckland hotel spas are as follows: Chuan Spa, Langham Hotel Auckland, 83 Symonds St. (www.chuanspa.co.nz; tel. 09/300-2960); and East Day Spa, SKYCITY Grand Hotel, 123 Albert St., Auckland (www.eastdayspa.com; tel. 09/363-7050), which is another beautifully appointed den of indulgence offering the full array of restorative treatments.
In the Bay of Islands, Paihia Beach Resort & Spa, 116 Marsden Rd., Paihia (www.paihiabeach.co.nz; tel. 0800/870-111 in NZ, or 09/402-0111), has a splendid spa facility, La Spa Naturale, which has been voted one of the top 10 spas in Australasia and the South Pacific by Condé Nast Traveller (UK).
In the far south, the day spa at Sofitel Queenstown, 8 Duke St. (www.sofitel.com; tel. 03/450-0045), also deserves a mention for its luxurious appointments and its delicious body treatments.
Beyond hotels, you'll find numerous other day spa facilities, including Rotorua's multi-award-winning Polynesian Spa, Government Gardens (www.polynesianspa.co.nz; tel. 07/348-1328), which is world renowned for its therapeutic hot mineral pools and its lakeside spa therapy rooms; and the Spa at Hanmer Springs, 42 Amuri Ave., Hanmer Springs (www.hanmerspa.co.nz; tel. 03/315-0029), judged Best Natural Bathing Spa in the inaugural Australasian Spa Association's Spa of Excellence Awards.