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“hidden treasure”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of River Valley Lodge

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River Valley Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“hidden treasure”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 14, 2013

My friend and I stayed here while doing the kiwi experience. The lodge is literally in the middle of nowhere but its amazing. we had to load our bags in the back of an old pick up at the top of the hill and walk down a steep hill to get the lodge. it has a nice cabin feel with a big fireplace in the middle of the common areas. great views and a river running out front. we had the 6 person family room while was a bit hidden behind some bushes. our room was quite roomy and the beds were pretty comfortable. there was a group meal that was offered but we decided to make our own. the kitchen was pretty small and only had hot plates, some of which didnt work. it took us over an hour to make our pasta dinner. there was 2 full buses of kiwi experiencers staying at the lodge so when it came time for a shower it was cold water but other than that this place is great! the staff are super friendly and theres some nice hikes to do. we opted for the horse trek which was a blast despite the clouds and slight rain. would definately stay here again and recommend it to others!!

Room Tip: the "family dorm" room has more room than the other 6 person dorm rooms. if you walk to th...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Taryn 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 review, July 4, 2013
Hi Taryn

Thanks for your review of your River Valley experience. It is always so nice to get reviews from people who appreciate River Valley for what it really is - an Adventure Lodge set in beautiful surroundings with great outdoor experiences to go and do.

As I have mentioned in several other recent replies to other reviews, we have replaced a lot of the equipment in the customer kitchen.

We don't normally run out of hot water, but by the same token, we rarely have two Kiwi Experience buses at one time. That many people really puts the pressure on everything.

I hope the rest of your New Zealand holiday went well.

Brian
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187 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (32)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
56 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for one night, it is litterly in the middle of nowhere but the views were stunning! The accommodation was basic and like living on a farm we stayed in the 32 bed dorm which was an experience but really fun if you know everyone like we did! Unfortunately you have to hire a duvet which is odd as when we went it was freezing, however the room doesn't get that cold and you can do without! The showers aren't great and mostly cold but the toilets are okay. The kitchen was extremely small and ill equipped with not enough bowls, cutlery, work surfaces or hobs and so it was a struggle to cook. However the living area was lovely with a huge fire and sofas to chill on and board games to play you can also buy good and cheap wine from the bar if you fancy a drink. I didn't do any of the activities however some of my friends did the rafting which they said was brilliant and the walk around the area was stunning too! I would definitely stay here again!

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank charxcx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this review, May 17, 2013
Hi Charxcx

Thank for your review. I suppose traveling with Kiwi Experience you viewed River Valley as a hostel. It is probably the last thing we view it as.

River Valley Lodge grew as a solution for somewhere for people to stay when they were rafting or horse trekking with us. Hence the range of accommodation options from backpacker through to deluxe riverside guest rooms.

The big dorms are modeled on what you find in back country tramping huts throughout New Zealand. A good fit for an Adventure Lodge.

The customer kitchen. When we built the kitchen the British pound bought 3 NZ dollars. Hardly anybody ever used the kitchen as buying meals was quite affordable. It was never designed to handle bus loads of people wanting to cook all at one time. However you will be pleased to know that recently we installed new gas hobs to make group cooking easier.

Thanks again for the review and we hope to see you back at River Valley one day.

Brian Megaw
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Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 26, 2013

The lodge was quite hard to find. The narrow road is quite long, you need to open and close a gate where livestock was. So, there was some suspicion are we at correct place. The sign could be better location so people could find this nice place.

The place is very peaceful. There are no mobile connection :) The place is a bottom of canyon and surrounded by high mountains.

People was very nice and friendly.

The bad thing was that staff was very sure and promise we can go to rafting trip, but water never rise enough so we could do that. No offence, but it taste a little collecting money without returning extreme experience.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Karhuvaari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Thank you for your Review of your stay at River Valley.

I must admit I am somewhat confused that you had to open a stock gate because to my knowledge there have been none closed for a very long time. Anyway, you found your way here and that is the important thing!

As far as the river is concerned, the Rangitikei is a free flowing river with no dams. It's changes in level are in response to rainfall upstream. How much rain the area gets can be very variable and the effect on the river hard to predict well ahead of time. I am sure that the staff were going off the weather forecast when they spoke to you, however it appears that the forecast rain did not eventuate. I'm sorry about that, but really it is outside our control.

I hope the rest of your travels in New Zealand went well.

Brian
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Auckland
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2013 via mobile

River Valley was a neat find. Somewhere the overseas tourists found before the kiwis. Lodge style dining but the option of smart ensuite rooms, and lots to do. We did the family rafting, beginner horse trek, and massages at the spa. All great. We'd thoroughly recommend on quality and price.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Ian C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rivervalley1, Owner at River Valley Lodge, responded to this review, March 18, 2013
Hi Ian C

Thanks for your review. Sounds like you had quite a family outing with something for everyone to enjoy.
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Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
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 review, 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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Quebec City, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles 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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Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
1 review
4 of 5 bubbles 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...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about River Valley Lodge

Property: River Valley Lodge
Address: 300 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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Taihape
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — River Valley Lodge 3*
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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