Places & Spaces: The Release Retreat

Sustainable adventure seeking in New Zealand.

As inspiring a retreat as Release is, perhaps more rousing is the story of how it came to be. Two friends, travelers both of them, were searching the globe for “a life less ordinary” when they came upon Wanaka in New Zealand, an ideal locale for creating a contemporary and sustainable luxury getaway. The friends were of the whale shark diving in Honduras, running with marauding orangutans in Sumatra and backcountry skiing in Colorado ilk. As such, and in true Kiwi fashion, Release caters especially to the adventure-seeking traveler.

Release was designed with privacy and seclusion in mind, although, here the stunning views trump all. The main building sits at the rear of the property playing second fiddle to the beautiful symphony that is Lake Wanaka and the mountains of the Mt. Aspiring National Park.

Every room has a view and the entire retreat also serves as an art gallery featuring interior and exterior work from some of New Zealand’s finest contemporary artists. The furniture and accoutrements are also exclusively from New Zealand companies.

“The vision was to create a sustainable retreat, to last a lifetime,” the founders explain. As such, the retreat features passive solar design reducing the need for heating, energy efficient appliances, storm water catchment, grey water irrigation systems, wool insulation and native gardens.

The owners of Release are also involved with a local tree regeneration program.

Amenities include 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, heated outside spa and home automation (meaning you set the lighting and music scene, be it for dining or ambience).

Ah yes, adventure. Wanaka is located near the Southern Alps and offers boundless opportunities for heli-skiing, motorcycle touring, fly-fishing, water skiing, and more. When you’re done, indulge in hiring the personal chef or wine maker for the night, just because.

Rates range from NZ$1250.00 to $1500.00 per night for up to 6 guests

Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.


K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.