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“A Slice of Heaven”
Review of River Valley Lodge

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River Valley Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 10, 2013

It kicked off with a very pleasant drive down from Auckland around the eastern side of Lake Taupo and then on down to Tiahape for provisions (Tonic for the Gin and a few snacks) and then out to River Valley. On arrival it reminded me that Dave Dobbyn could just as easily have been singing about this particular "slice of heaven". We were there Dec 21-22 so it was not so busy. Checked in, settled down and poured a G&T.
A bit of a mix up with dinner on night 1 but not a biggie thanks Klare, an entree, main and desert of macaroni cheese is good for the soul...Dinner on night 2 was good home cooked roast lamb. The rafting was brilliant, the guide apart from being a lanky pom (just joking) was brilliant, his girlfriend who we went horse riding with was a fantastic girl and clearly very passionate about the environment and her horses...
The owner of the business commented to me the hardest job is to get the people to come.. My tip is make the time and go if you want to see the real NZ. Then head across to Hawke's Bay and take the Gentle Annie road for some even more fantastic scenery. Hawke's Bay houses some of the best wineries in the world so do yourself a favour and go.. The bar is totally dangerous, again lodge style so no one is standing on ceremony but a good spot to sample some local brew, mine is Speights..

Room Tip: The rooms a chalet style they are all good
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank coutaboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded March 18, 2013

Hi Merv B

Thanks for your review. It gives us a real kick to know that people are having a great time at River Valley, and yes your tip about driving the Gentle Annie Road to Napier is well worth sharing.

The drive itself is beautiful, and there is certainly nothing wrong with a bit of wine tasting at the end. Fish and Chips by the sea is well worth it as well.

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150 - 156 of 194 reviews

Reviewed February 16, 2013

We were recomended staying here by our motel in Taupo as a convienient stop throught the N.I. Dispite major reservations with the quality of the directions, almost turning back a couple of times we were rewarded with a little gem of a lodge. Peaceful and tranquil yet with so much to do in nature. The river rafting, multiple nature walks, horse riding ... fantastic, and such good value for money. We had our own little, very well apointed room, I wouldn't have been so impresed if we'd been in the dormrooms but I believe they are mainly for backpackers, so each to there own. Don't get me wrong, this is not a luxury retreat but luxury here would just seem wrong, think little house on the praire homely but in a valley.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 18, 2013

Hi Mary

Thanks for your review. We always love to hear from people who intrinsically seem to understand what River Valley is all about - namely what you do outside the Lodge, not inside.

All the best

Brian

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Reviewed February 5, 2013

So excited to change my review since they reimbursed the over charge, still some issues with the new system. We came here for a couple days during our honeymoon, tucked away deep into the canyons right next to the river is a beautiful lodge. We came the first day in between big groups so we had the lodge to ourselves. We did a beautiful sunset horseback ride, in which we ate cheese and crackers and drank champagne on top of the hill over looking the most beautiful views. We then came back and ate while talking to the extremely friendly staff. The next day we went on an awesome river raft tour. I have been rafting in Montana before but this was 10X better. The room was perfect even though we weren't in it much. We hung out by the river and drank wine. The next night a big group came in, but we still received great service from the staff making sure we weren't lost in the new big group. Definitely recommend River Valley Lodge.

Room Tip: Depending how many people you come with, they have rooms and set ups for everyone. If just a couple...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 10, 2013

Hi Jeff

Thanks for your excellent review. I am really pleased that River Valley was able to make your honeymoon that little bit more special.

Our reservation system does give us the odd challenge, but overall is easier for both our customers and ourselves.

All the best

Brian Megaw

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Reviewed January 27, 2013

My stay at River Valley Lodge was mixed. Some of the staff were incredibly helpful (kitchen staff in particular and Klare (sp?) the manager on duty). Others seemed a bit distracted or hurried. I think more than anything things seemed a bit disorganized at times. At one point one of the guides (whom I actually think was one of the owners) asked me why I had missed the briefing when I asked a really simple question. No one even told me there was a meeting.

The lodge itself is great, but rooms and meals are overpriced. That said, the food was delicious and a lot of healthy options, too.

The rafting was good. Nothing too scary, so if you're worried whether or not you can handle it, it's not too challenging. And the guides are excellent.

All in all a nice experience. Just not sure it was worth the price.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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Thank calitraveler310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2013

Hi, thanks for your review of River Valley. I am pleased that you really enjoyed the rafting trip and your positive recommendations to other people who may be considering this trip.

Regarding your comments about prices.

Our prices have not gone up in 4 years, while costs have.

We are 32 kms away from the nearest town making it an expensive business to bring supplies into the Lodge, and in spite of that when we regularly compare our prices to those in cafes around the country, we are generally on a par or even cheaper. I suppose we could cook up some stodge cheaply, but we prefer to offer fresh, locally sourced tasty food instead, and as you point out, food that is healthy and delicious.

I hope you had a great stay in New Zealand.

Regards
Brian

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Reviewed January 22, 2013

This location is fantastic. It is private and secluded but so beautiful that you feel you have everything you need. We loved it - we went as a family with 3 kids and 2 adults and they looked after us brilliantly in every capacity. We can't wait to go back and although it is miles from anywhere that's the best part. There is no cellphone reception in the valley so be prepared to really get away from it all. We went on the scenic rafting tour and had a great day. There were a few hiccups with the bookings to start with but they got it sorted and it was smooth sailing after that.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Jules88_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2013

The location of the hostel is great and it is such a pretty place it is just such a shame that the staff were terrible! after our not very welcoming welcome chat they decided to drunkenly insult us all in the evening. The trolley over the river is great fun, and the river is very refreshing to jump into. We opted to do the £25 Spa pool and after paying were told that only one of the jets was working so it was more like just sitting in a big bath it was a real shame that we were given any sort of discount based on that. The kitchen facilities werent great but the outdoor BBQ was really good, would recommend doing that. The White Water rafting tour was brilliant and made up for the issues we had the night before but its such a shame as it could have been such a lovely place.

Room Tip: If you go for the cheapest option then be aware they do not provide bedding, it will cost you to hir...
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Sarah B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded February 5, 2013

Hi Sarah, thank you for taking the time to write a review of River Valley.

Since reading your review I have spent quite some time trying to identify the evening and staff involved in what you describe. This behavior is both unacceptable and out of character - as many of the other reviews where the staff receive great praise on this site will testify to. If you would like to contact me direct over this, then please do so.

I am pleased that you took part in what River Valley is all about - rafts and horses. This is why we are there, and why an adventure lodge (not a backpacker hostel) was built in this beautiful location.

I hope the rest of your stay in NZ was everything you hoped it would be.

Brian Megaw

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Reviewed December 5, 2012

This place is amazing! Right at the bottom of a valley in the middle of nowhere, it has an open fire in the middle of a large relaxing/bar/dining area which is well stocked with wood and cosy! The river runs right along the side however I wouldn't advise jumping in as its a little chilly (found out the hard way) I stayed in a dorm room which consisted of 2 huge bunks which you got a mattress and a duvet and picked your spot. I was travelling with a large group on the kiwi bus and so knew everyone there which helped. The kitchen was small but well equipped. The toilets and showers were outdoors however only a few steps from the main building and so weren't bad at all.
I did the white water rafting here also which was incredible! The staff were very helpful and friendly and had a laugh with you! I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for something a little usual!

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled solo
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Thank loopylou87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about River Valley Lodge

Address: 266 Mangahoata Road | Pukeokaku, RD 2, Taihape 4792, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Manawatu-Wanganui Region > Rangitikei District > Taihape
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Taihape
Price Range: $31 - $175 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — River Valley Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The basis of the River Valley Experience is what happens outside the Lodge. A family run business now into its 3rd generation of raft guides, River Valley started as a rafting company on a family farm, in the back blocks of Taihape. With one of the world's top half day Grade 5 rafting trips literally on the doorstep, it was a natural progression. A horse trekking stables was added over time, and it is these two adventurous activities, rafting the beautiful Rangitikei River, and exploring the magnificent hill country which is at core of River Valley. River Valley Lodge is an Adventure Lodge. It was built as a base for rafting and horse back riding, and this has not changed. What has changed is the clientele! The Lodge caters for young backpackers after an adrenaline fueled Grade 5 rafting trip, through to veteran mature adventurers, with an accommodation mix from bunk rooms to en-suited riverside suites. The Lodge restaurant and cafe serves a selection of fresh country style food, much not only prepared on site, but also grown in the extensive vegetable gardens. If shopping and cell phone reception are critical to your daily existence, then River Valley is certainly not the place for you. ... more   less 
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