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“Unspoilt Paradise” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Peppers Awaroa Lodge

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Peppers Awaroa Lodge
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   11 Awaroa Bay | P.O Box 422, Abel Tasman National Park 7143, New Zealand (Formerly Awaroa Lodge)   |  
Hotel amenities
London
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
122 helpful votes 122 helpful votes
“Unspoilt Paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2007

This is our second visit to Awaroa, the previous one about 3 years ago. The Abel Tasman national park is one of New Zealand's hidden treasures. It is a little off the normal tourist path so the number of visitors are relatively low, and the park is a nature reserve so development is minimal. Options for staying in the park are very limited. If you walk the track from beginning to end there are a couple of backpacker lodges, but if you are looking to explore in comfort, Awaroa is virtually your only option. (There is another upmarket lodge in the park, but the last time I checked they would only accept a minimum of 5 night bookings). The first decision you have to make is access. You can walk in from Marahau at the start of the track (Marahau is about 1 hour by car from Nelson), boat in from Marahau (about 1 Hr 45mins), small plane or helicopter (from Nelson or Motueka). For the time constrained its small plane or helicopter. We used the small plane last time (contact: Vince at Able Tasman Air). This is the cheaper of the 2 options - about NZ$1500 (both ways) from Nelson Airport. Great service but not ideal if you are at all nervous as you land and take off from a small landing strip, surrounded by hills. The helicopter costs about NZ$2500 and is the best way to do it in my opinion if you want speed and comfort. (contact Tasman Helicopters directly, rather then via the Lodge and you will save a couple of hundred dollars).

The Lodge itself is great. Very relaxed and comfortable. In my opinion go for a superior room (NZ$400/night). We had a superior room and a deluxe room. The deluxe room was cramped,hot, and didn't really have a view, and at only NZ$100 difference it's a no-brainer. The superior rooms are much larger, have a balcony overlooking the bush and better bathroom facilities. Don't expect all the usual trappings - there is no TV, let alone CNN, but the beds are large and extremely comfortable and the rooms have million dollar views. The Lodge is primarily about communing with Nature, not providing pampered 5 star luxury. Those looking for the latter will be disappointed.

The Lodge walks a difficult tightrope catering for 2 distinct markets - backpackers of all ages walking the track and looking for a break and tourists wanting a holiday experience who use the Lodge as a base. It is important to understand this as they are very different in terms of their requirements and this can lead to compromises and service issues. Lodge guests do have a dedicated dining area - outside and inside. Outside is fantastic, but it does get cold here (even in high summer) when the sun goes down. It's important to bring warm clothing. Its also a good idea to book dinner at the beginning of the day, including where you would like to sit. The food here is simply amazing (but not cheap). It is hard to believe the quality they achieve when most things have to be shipped in. They do have a large organic garden, which provides most of the fresh vegetables. Specialities include fresh fish and shellfish and they have a great selection of local wines. They also have their own baker who creates wonderful breads, muffins, and other baking. If you are going walking they will make up packed lunches, but you need to order these the night before.

The staff are great, mostly students or young travellers. In our experience they all have the right attitude and go out of their way to be helpful. Sometimes service can be slow though. This is largely due to unpredicatable numbers of backpackers creating "rushes". But this is a place to chill out. There is nothing else to do apart from look at the view and relax. Somehow the minor glitches add to the experience rather than detract from it (just be prepared for it) and this is just about the only place I have ever been to that I didn't hear at least one guest losing it.

The walks are absolutely magnificent - beautiful beaches and fantastic bush. The first day we walked to Bark Bay and back (5-6 hours walking). If we did it again we would probably get a boat to Anchorage in the morning and walk back. The second day it was off to Totaranui. You have to time this right for the walk across the mudflats at Awaroa inlet and I would suggest that you wear sandals/jandals for this part otherwise you can spend quite a bit of time putting boots on and off.

This is a great experience and I heartily recommend both Abel Tasman National Park and Awaroa Lodge to anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

  • Liked — Great beds, fantastic meals
  • Disliked — Can be cold
  • Tips/Secrets — Book watertaxis
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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153 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
La Mesa, CA
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2006

Each of the four of us (two couples) traveling together for a month in NZ/Fiji found the Awaroa to be a wonderful place to spend our last 3 of our last nights in South Island. It's right on the Abel Tasman track and there are very nice hikes from there, not at all difficult, though the private stairs up near the other side of the wetlands just past the vegetable gardens is a little steep for some folks. The views from the track are fantastic. The track itself is very, very well maintained. The beaches are beautiful and the water was fairly warm. Not many folks on the beaches ever and not much swimming was noted, though there is a spot for it which is protected from any undertow. Ask at the lodge.
The best rooms are just great. We really enjoyed the ample size, the grand bathroom, the sitting area, and the deck overlooking the wetlands. When we first were taken from the lodge, over the little bridge and along the boardwalk, each of us thought "Wow, what sort of place is this?" The sheet metal covering on the added on big boxes of bathrooms makes it look sort of industrial. But, once in the rooms, all such concerns evaporate. And, after dinner in the dining room, we were really glad to be there. The food was great . . . in spite of the wonderful fresh fish dishes and others, the special treatment given to the sauteed large filled pasta squares was just great! Salads and vegetables from the garden daily were perfect as was the fruit.
We very much enjoyed our time here, and would highly recommend it to anyone for 3 of their last 4 nights on South Island before ferrying or flying over to North Island. We stayed only 3 nights, which meant we had to leave by 8:00 the next morning on a chartered boat to get back to our car in Marahau . . . and though we got to the ferry in time, the early departure and worries about whether we'd make it okay sort of diminished the day. It would have been better to have spent the last night at a nice b&b up in the hills in Picton, I believe.
The folks who drove the boats both out to Awaroa and back were very informative, helpful and pleasant. This is just a fine place to take it easy and do some walking, picnicking on the beach etc. before continuing on one's journey.

  • Stayed March 2006
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2006

Stayed for 3 nights and had a fantastic time wandering the beaches and hiking the trails. Wish we had splashed out on the deluxe rooms, a definite notch up on the Standard which although fine were unexceptional. Staff all very attentive perhaps alittle too much at times and after 3 days wasn't too sure if they were smiling or grimancing!

Maybe its our age but the lodge seemed to be run by a team of under 21's and a sprinkling of staff with more 'experience' would bring a more 'real feel' to the place. Food was on the whole great but not consistent. A couple of times reordered dishes we had really enjoyed but were dissappointed by the inconsitency which given the prices was slack.

Be warned the sea kayaking from the lodge is often cancelled given you have to paddle back round a rocky point which, with a little wind, can be choppy. However, the lodge can arrange trips for you with other comapnies who will do pick ups.

The Lodge itself does lack an outside chill out area with no loungers or hammocks to retreat to during the day to read a book or doze. The Cafe and lounge were busy with day trippers so its your room or go for a wander which was frustrating when all we wanted to do was relax in the shade.

ODont be put off by this critique which is fine tuning as overall we had a fantastic and memorable time.

  • Stayed January 2006
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2006

We felt that whilst the lodge was perfect in design and helpfulness, the whole place seemed to be understaffed for the number of people there. Similarly the resaurant was very understaffed, or the kitchen was too small, because we waited over an hour between starter and main course. Thankfully though, this was resolved particularly well by the manager and this is where their service was top notch. All the people working there will go out of their way to help you and attention is in the detail, such as the turn down service at night, which makes a stay special. Also the design of the suits was exceptional

If they manage to get food sorted quickly, the lodge really will be phenominal.

  • Stayed January 2002
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach, California
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2005

My husband and I spent two nights at the Awaroa Lodge in Abel Tasman National Park. The New Zealand architect created a beautiful design that blended the buildings into the natural landscape. The accomodations are luxurious and very well appointed with a raised bedroom area and a lower section with a comfortable couch, chairs and desk. Our room had a deck which was completely private overlooking the hills and brush. Others overlook the wetlands. The dining room has fabulous meals with seating inside and outside. The gorgeous bay for kayaking is a short walk to the beach. There are also many trails for hiking including the coastal route. It is so peaceful and quiet________a highly recommended retreat. It was paradise.

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2005

Set right in the centre of the beautiful Abel Tasman Park, the Lodge is one of the few buildings in it and is totally surrounded by native bush and truly fantastic beaches with virtually no-one on them. For a "get away from it all" stay in a well appointed hotel it really is hard to beat. The recently renovated and extended restaurant & bar areas are large and serve excellent food and the new "wetland view" rooms are spacious, well furnished and good value. Activities include guided kayaking and well marked bush walks with stunning views. In good weather the boat-trip to and from the lodge is an experience in itself but in bad weather it can be a wet and very uncomfortable journey. Still, you can always go by plane. Unique and quite unforgettable, a two to three night stay in this largely undiscovered "gem" of hotel is about right.

  • Stayed January 2005
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2005

We spent three days at Awaroa Lodge as part of our honeymoon in New Zealand. It was undoubtedly the best part of our whole holiday. Not only is the location in Abel Tasman national park absolutely magical - reached only by foot or by boat, tucked away in the wilderness, surrounded by lush green forestry, bird-filled wetlands and dramatic long golden beaches, but it is also one of the most friendly and welcoming places I have ever stayed. The staff go out of the way to make your stay comfortable and are extremely helpful and knowledgeable on the local area, walks and wildlife. As for the restaurant and the food - much of it is organically grown in their own vegetable gardens behind the hotel and it is all deliciously prepared in very innovative and mouth-watering ways. The prices are not cheap, but for its remoteness and the high quality of what you get, it is well worth it. Look out for special deals too - we got an amazing honeymoon package with an upgrade to the best suite, free champagne and homemade chocolates! All in all, highly highly recommended!

  • Stayed September 2004
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Peppers Awaroa Lodge

Address: 11 Awaroa Bay | P.O Box 422, Abel Tasman National Park 7143, New Zealand (Formerly Awaroa Lodge)
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Nelson-Tasman Region > Abel Tasman National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Abel Tasman National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Peppers Awaroa Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 26
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Peppers Awaroa Lodge strikes the perfect balance of natural comfort and contemporary style high above Awaroa Bay. Just minutes from the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, the lodge offers a remote and spectacular coastline with magnificent scenery, wildlife and native terrain in pristine condition. The lodge 's 26 rooms consist of standard, superior and family suites featuring an ensuite, bar fridge and tea and coffee making facilities, with views of picturesque wetlands and native forest. All guests are encouraged to appreciate appreciate the natural surroundings and respect our eco friendly philosophy. We make this a little easier without the distractions of modern day life - no mobile phone coverage or in-room televisions make this the perfect place to totally get away. Enjoy the lodge's facilities including a cosy fireplace in the library, WiFi internet access and an organic garden, where our onsite restaurant and cafe source the freshest ingredients. Let our team at the activity desk arrange your guided tours. Explore the natural surroundings by tramping or sea kayaking or just laze on the golden sandy beaches of Awaroa Bay. Accessible by water taxi, helicopter or by foot, Peppers Awaroa Lodge is the ultimate secluded getaway. The eco chic lodge is perfect for a romantic escape, family holiday or unique group experience. Surrounded by native bush and minutes from the well-known Abel Tasman Coastal Track, there is no direct road access. The lodge is only accessible by foot, sea kayak, water taxi or air. As there is no road access to Peppers Awaroa Lodge, organising the journey to the lodge is an important part of your stay. Contact the property directly for assistance with your transfers. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Awaroa Hotel Abel Tasman National Park
Awaroa Hotel Nelson

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