Southern Comfort

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Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, perched amongst the Southern Alps.

Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, perched amongst the Southern Alps. Image: Julian Apse

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Guest rooms overlooking Lake Wakatipu.

Guest rooms overlooking Lake Wakatipu.

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Guests practice Vinyasa Yoga.

Guests practice Vinyasa Yoga. Image: Julian Apse

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The dining room, dishing up vegetarian cuisine daily.

The dining room, dishing up vegetarian cuisine daily. Image: Julian Apse

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After three years in the works, Aro Ha Wellness Retreat opened last week near Glenorchy, Queenstown.

The $30 million project uses high-tech systems to provide its own energy and manage its own waste. It has 32 rooms designed to Passive Haus standards complete with spa, saunas, massage rooms and a dining room. The refined, minimalist interior by Polish Design leaves way for views across Lake Wakatipu and the mountains to take centre stage.

Business partners Damian Chaparro and Chris Madison created the gracious, Zen-inspired centre, which will offer all-inclusive wellness adventure programs.“We believed we could create a place where people could enjoy a full retreat programme in a spectacular environment. It is sitting gently on the land, is open and receiving guests,” Chaparro says.

The design brief was amibitious in terms of sustainability, according to architect Hugh Tennent: “The owners wanted to ‘walk the talk’ so the centre is an example and a place of teaching”. 

Aro Ha offers a program of yoga, meditation, massage, alpine hiking and detoxifying vegetarian cuisine prepared using fresh produce grown from its own permaculture gardens.

For more information on Aro Ha Wellness Retreat visit their website. 


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