This year’s World’s Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
The best resorts in Australia and New Zealand fulfill bucket-list fantasies, putting epic natural beauty, world-class wine regions, and top-tier dining all within easy reach. T+L readers’ picks prove there’s something for every type of traveler, whether a trip calls for sun-soaked, poolside lounging or adrenaline-pumping thrills.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas (No. 3), in North Queensland, is perfectly located to explore two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. But it’s the resort’s facilities — 360-plus acres of lush tropical gardens, sparkling lagoons, and an 18-hole golf course — that have guests gushing. As one reader summarized nicely, it’s an “excellent resort in all ways.”
Hotels in New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown, snagged both first and second place. Returning to the list is the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa (No. 2). Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just 15 minutes from the city center, this South Island resort captivates readers with its sweeping views of the nearby Remarkables mountains, which are especially popular for winter skiing. The heated pool, outdoor terrace, spa, and spectacular lakeside restaurant mean there’s plenty to enjoy on site, too.
But it was another property on Lake Wakatipu, Matakauri Lodge, that managed to capture the top spot. Find out why below.
1. Matakauri Lodge
Located in one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes on New Zealand’s Lake Wakatipu, this modern lodge looks out to the big three: the Remarkables, Cecil Peak, and Walter Peak. Its 11 light-filled rooms all offer superb mountain and lake views. But most guests choose the property for the caliber of the experiences the staff can arrange, including private wine tours, heli-skiing, and mountain treks. The effect is that of a private alpine hideaway, but with all of Queenstown proper just seven minutes away. As one reader summed it up, “the location is like no other.”
More information: robertsonlodges.com
2. Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
More information: hilton.com
3. Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort, Port Douglas
More information: marriott.com
See all of our readers’ favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World’s Best Awards for 2021.