A school trip to NZ brought us to Out in the Styx, and my initial impression was a homely guesthouse set in pretty countryside that looked not much different from the UK or Germany. The dining area was cosy (with free wi-fi - just ask Lance for the password), the outdoor seating area afforded views of the rolling countryside and their beautiful garden.
My room had a double bed and two single beds and an attached bathroom. It was done simply, but adequately. Towels, toiletries are provided. I slept well enough, though I woke to the sound of others walking by as walls are thin and the rooms are not entirely soundproof. Bring ear plugs if you're a light sleeper.
Other than that, the stay at Styx was fantastic. Dinner was sumptuous with beef casserole, beans, baked carrots (delicious), starters of bread and various dips were all homemade and delicious, dessert - we had homemade passionfruit and pepper ice cream (hmm!), and the best bit - three different NZ cheeses with NZ cherries and fruits. I enjoyed that a lot.
There isn't cooked breakfast but great homemade jams with the toast, and musli, yoghurt, fruits. Lunch was a simple cooked noodles in soup.
The best bit of Styx is that it is located just 2 mins drive to Maungatautari Reserve, all 47km encircled by a predator proof fence, and populated by kiwis, kakas, hihis, takahes... We set out for the night walk at about 8.45pm, at dusk, and it was magical. When we got to the tower, we waited for kiwis' calls and were not disappointed. The walk back - admittedly, quite dark but we simply used our digitalcamera's 'play' function to illuminate our path (a torch would have been too bright) - was out of this world, with the silhouettes of the forest and glow worms lighting our path. Magical!
In the day, Maungatautari was just as beautiful, if not even more. The forest were all ferns and towering trees, and punctuated by many birds' calls. It was what I imagined NZ to be, and it surpassed my expectations. I came across a pair of Takahes, calm and cute as they are, foraging for food. Kakas flew overheard, and came very close to me. A pair of volunteers helped to feed the Kakas at an area close to the tower (food stands), and I was treated to many different birds feeding - Hihis, the NZ pigeon, many Kakas... even the Takahes came to feed on apples dropped to the ground.
Would definitely return - and next time I'd try to make it to the peak.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our family have been living here and operating as a restaurant and guesthouse for over 20 years. We don't have a menu but our guests are always satisfied with the delicious meals we prepare and the gorgeous setting. We are very fortunate to look directly up at the the forested mountains within the Maungatautari Ecological Island, a 3500 hectare pest free scenic reserve. We operate a drop-off service for hikers walking the traverse and our van can take up to 8 cycles for drop off and pickups on the Waikato River Trail. We are between Rotorua and Waitomo and our rates include a four course dinner and a two course breakfast. ... more less