“Just like the safari camp and the ski chalet, the New Zealand lodge is a triumph of reinvention, the transformation of a utilitarian wilderness refuge into tourism gold,” writes The Sydney Morning Herald’s Max Anderson, who spent 18 days on a “tour of duty” at nine luxury lodges. “[In the late 199s], bankrolled by foreigners, designed by New Zealanders and serendipitously marketed by Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, [luxury lodges] were tailored to meet the demands of American retirees on the Pacific-cruise circuit. Among the first investors was the Australian Myer family, who built Whare Kea, a relatively modest, light- and view-filled escape on Lake Wanaka, on the South Island, in 1996. In 1999, Tom Tusher, the former head of Levi Strauss, built Blanket Bay, an edifice of schist and timber near Glenorchy. Today, there are perhaps 3 establishments legitimately combining the word ‘luxury’ and ‘lodge’, with at least four of these opening in the past year.