New Zealand Lodges

Nov 21, 2000

Three decades ago, Levi Strauss president Tom Tusher and his wife, Pauline, had the foresight to purchase 55 acres on Lake Wakatipu 40 minutes north of Queenstown. "There was nodling here just a hell of a lot of sheep," says Tom. The good news is, not much has changed, except that the Tushers bought 60,000 adjacent acres after they retired, and in December I999 opened the I3-room Blanket Bay.

Jim McLaughlin, Idaho's architect-to-the-stars, designed a building that brings to mind hunting lodges of the American West - the 30-foot-high great room has the compulsory stuffed ducks and antler chandeliers.

However, the Tushers insisted on using indigenous materials, and instead of logs, covered the exterior with layers of South Island schist. Service is impeccable, with a just-hint-and-it-will-appear sensibility. Ask Choppy, the local helicopter pilot, if she'll spirit you off into the Humboldt mountain range for backcountry fly-fishing.