One look at the weather map on Thursday morning told us that it would be warm and sunny on the West Coast with rain everywhere else. There was nothing for it but to book into the Cottage for the weekend. It was my birthday on the Friday and, after a lunch meeting, we packed up the car and headed off to Westport, over the Lewis Pass. It was 4 hrs 15 min door to door from Christchurch, with a very short stop at Maruia Springs (watch out for the vicious sandflies there!).
The cottage was easy to find on google maps and the directions were good. We rolled up to the cottage and everyone went "wow". The setting is sublime. Views of the ocean are tantalisingly close and the surrounding scenery is definitely in the "peaceful escape" category.
It was 7pm so tummies were rumbling. We went into the cottage and found our dinner ready to be heated up. We popped the yummy looking lamb shanks in the oven and then brought in all our gear. The cottage is a perfect size for a family of 4 (or 5) with plenty of sofa lounging space, even with a couple of gangly teenagers slumped over them.
The information provided covers everything you need to know. The magazine collection was fabulous. Current copies of anything you might be interested in leafing through in your downtime. The kitchen was very well equipped and breakfast goods were supplied though, of course, you could bring your own.
We scoffed our delicious dinner and dessert (sticky date pudding) and settled down to watch the sunset. We all slept well and woke to the birds singing in the silence. We spent the day walking at Tauranga Bay (10-15 mins drive) and then had a fabulous lunch at The Townhouse in Westport. We spent the afternoon walking the Nile River track, which is worth a look (just by Charleston).
That evening we dined at the Lodge and enjoyed the hospitality of Andreas and Alison, whilst meeting some other guests. Before that we had enjoyed the outdoor bath, which was great fun and a wonderful way to relax after a day out walking.
It was a struggle to leave the next day, as everyone was happy lying on the sofas reading magazines or watching Downton Abbey (they have a good selection of DVDs). But eventually we levered ourselves off the sofa and packed up. We said our goodbyes (Andreas gave us some tips on good places to go) and headed down to Punakaiki and on back to Christchurch via Moana.
This is a really wonderful spot. It's got everything you could possibly need and is situated in a stunning space. It's completely private and self-contained. Hard to ask for more. It's also well located in terms of being close to Westport. There is plenty to do in the local area if you need to stretch your legs.
It was a real find for us and we had a wonderful time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Birds Ferry Lodge where you will enjoy a wilderness location just North of Punakaiki. This modern and stylish solid timber lodge features comfortable en-suite rooms with baths & balconies with superb mountain, bush and ocean views. The Self-contained cottage "Ferry Man’s Cottage" in its own private garden is perfect for couples seeking privacy or families needing space for children to run. The twin garden baths with hot piped water are a popular ‘kiwiana’ feature! On-site masseuse and day spa. Alison enjoys sourcing local fish and lamb for use in the Lodge kitchen. We grow almost all of the fresh produce used in the kitchen in our 1 hectare vegetable garden along with our own free range eggs from very happy chickens. Be sure to book a dinner which will be a highlight of your stay! FREE WIFI. Nearby are Norwest Adventures, Charleston where you can explore ancient limestone caves and see millions of glow worms. Stay 2 nights to enjoy 10% off the price of this tour. Also nearby is Tauranga Bay where you can view one of New Zealand’s large fur seal colonies and enjoy a scenic cliff top walk to the light house. Stay 2 nights & enjoy a complimentary tailor made local tour with Andre as well as a reduced tariff. NEW for 2011/12 is the "Denniston Experience" which is a short drive from Birds Ferry Lodge. This is a guided trip into a historic coal mine and is outstanding. ... more less
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