set within the tiny settlement of St. Arnaud in the Nelson Lakes region this lodge is a natural stop over for those traveling between the coasts of New Zealand. It is of course a great centre and base for tramping and skiing in the immediate area and the scenery is just beautiful in both winter and summer. In summer however, make sure that you have your sandfly spray and apply liberally.
From the back of the hotel there is a short walk down to the lake following a meadering stream that also runs alongside the lodge.
We arrived without reservations, NOT a smart move over a holiday period, but with a few room movements our friendly receptionist fitted us in to a ground floor lodge unit, which was tidy, clean quite sufficient for our needs. At check in we received vouchers which we could spend at the bar, and everything else was put on a restaurant/bar tab, a continental (quite substantial selection it turned out to be) was included in the room rate.
the menu was good and the selection of dishes quite acceptable for a lodge type establishment. The food was excellent and we accompanied it with a nice bottle of Marlborough wine. Being somewhat isolated the lodge must be both difficult to stock and staff, and such is of course reflected in the selections of food and wines and sometimes the professionalism of the staff. But such does not distract from the frendliness and good food provided.
Indeed it was pleasing to discover that they had a full house the following day with a wedding party traveling from Wellington. Such speaks volumes for the Lodge, as I would have little doubt that the bride and groom would have either visited or met here before. It's that sort of place, that brings one back time and again.
There were the usual, lunch stop overs, whilst we were there, many on motor bikes, and several family parties were there also making full use of the children's play area. we sat in the "deck chairs" in the brilliant and hot sunshine (after spreding ourselves with the sandfly spray) and had several local Nelson boutique beers each of which we were allowed to "Taste test" before buying a Proper sized english pint glass. Such is a fine accompanyment to the lunch menu.
A walk down to the Lake where one is assailed by numerous signs that Dogs can kill kiwis so they are not allowed on any of the walks.......Nothing about people killing them also, but they are allowed (under duress) to use the walks provided you abide by the multitude of rules.
DOC certainly seems to have missed the pklot a bit on that one, as I don't understand why responsible owners can't take well controlled dogs on leashes along the walkways.
Incidentally, the Lodge allows dogs (well behaved) with an additional 15.00 per night fee. We parked ours out of the back, in his bed, on his leash under a big umbrella we always bring along for such a purpose. Good on the Lodge owners for being so accommodating.
So all in all, a great place of hospitality, for couples, groups, trampers (in the hostel) and families.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The award winning Alpine Lodge is situated at the edge of the Nelson Lakes National Park, only 5 minutes walk from Lake Rotoiti which offers a range of great outdoor pursuits. The Alpine Lodge's central location makes it an ideal base for exploring other attractions in the region such as the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks, wineries and arts and crafts in Nelson or Blenheim. ... more less
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