About the Island
Great Mercury is an awesomely picturesque island just off the coast of North Island, New Zealand. Its 5,000 sprawling acres are covered with lush pine forests and bucolic meadows farmed with sheep and cattle, and it has 50 miles of coastline, including 12 long, white-sand beaches. Within this unparalleled natural beauty are accommodations, in two stunning homes, for 16 guests. The island is rented to just one party at a time, allowing for the ultimate in privacy for that special outing of friends or family. The sportsman will be in seventh heaven on Great Mercury, as the fishing, diving and boating here are thought by some to be among the best in the world.
Great Mercury is just 30 minutes by helicopter from Auckland. International flights to Auckland are non-stop from Los Angeles. According to local history, the island was the home for as many as 5,000 Maori tribesmen from about 700 to 1800, when it was abandoned; until 25 years ago, when it was purchased by the two New Zealand businessmen who own it today, it was farmed (quite improbably for its remote location) by European pioneers.
The two guest houses on Great Mercury are integrated into the natural land forms. In fact, the roof of the Main Residence (referred to as the “Up House”) is planted over with natural vegetation. Rocks and boulders from the island have been incorporated into both exterior and interior finishes, as has driftwood from the shore. The architect, Savin Couëlle, a Sardinian, was discovered by the island owners on a sailing trip in the Mediterranean.
The master suite and two other large en-suite bedrooms are located on a hill in the Up House, along with inside-outside living areas with fireplaces and the main kitchen. An additional five bedrooms, including a special children’s room with delightful nooks, crannies and special built-in bunk beds, are located in the “Down House,” which sits right on the bay and enjoys panoramic water views.
The waters surrounding Great Mercury are a fisherman’s paradise; John Dory, tuna, snapper, crayfish, scallops and mussels all abound. In addition to fishing excursions to the nearby continental shelf, there is line and bait fishing from the rocks. All the bounty can be cleaned and cooked in the most amazing, state-of-the-art kitchen in the Boat House, and guests are welcomed to join in the fun.
Diving, both scuba and snorkeling, is excellent, with equipment available at the resort. Jet-skiing, sea kayaking, water skiing and wind surfing equipment is also at hand. Between October and April, water temperatures for swimming is perfect, off any one of the 12 lovely, long beaches on the island. And there is a large, heated freshwater swimming pool adjacent to the “Up House” that is appealing all year.
Dining on Great Mercury is decidedly informal. Whether waterside, on the deck at the Boat House, poolside at the Up House or fireside at the communal table next to the open kitchen, there is little need to dress up for dinner. But all meals are gourmet, under the direction of one of the finest chefs in New Zealand. It’s often seafood, as one would expect with the fine local fishing, but the vegetables and fruits from the New Zealand are just as fresh.
The daily rate for up to 16 guests ranges from $25,000 to $35,000 depending on the size of the group and time of year. That rate is all-inclusive of food, all beverages, and all activities on island. The only additional charge would be for helicopter tours of the island, which are popular when the helicopter is “in port.”
For more information about Great Mercury Island or to inquire about a reservation, call Sanctuare at (800) 225-4255 from the U.S. and Canada; from elsewhere, call (802) 457-5280. Or e-mail us at email@example.com.