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“Heaven on earth -- only one drawback”

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Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lochmara Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
114 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“Heaven on earth -- only one drawback”
Reviewed January 30, 2011

I LOVED this place. I practically had to be pryed away with a crowbar.

Every meal I had was excellent. It's maybe a couple dollars on average more than what you might pay in town -- but you are in the middle of a bay on the sound -- so food/drink was actually less than I expected to pay. And considering the quality, I thought it was quite reasonable.

My bayview room was very nice and comfortable, even if I didn't have that great of a view (of all of the bayview rooms, I had the worst view).

The grounds are vast and comfortable. You can relax in a hammock next to a llama or the tiny pigs that roam the large fenced-in area. The entire resort is very well and tastefully done.

It is a 1 hour walk -- and I mean WALK -- up to the QC track. The trail had been washed out in a couple of places and is still not for the faint-of-heart.

The only downside to this place is the noise during the day. It's such a great place to bring kids -- that people show up by the boatload -- and it simply isn't quiet during the day. There are dozens of hammocks scattered around the grounds, so you can escape the madness, but don't show up planning to spend your days by your room in peace or to the be only ones in line for the fantastic food/wine in the bar. Things start to clear out again in the late afternoon, but if 24/7 peace and quiet is a priority for you, I'd stay elsewhere, unfortunately. There are a couple other similar (but more expensive) resorts that seem to cater more to the adults-only crowd. I'd recommend hiking during the day to avoid the hoardes -- and return back to paradise just as they are all getting on their boats to leave.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank nnsanci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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197 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
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English first
Northern California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed January 10, 2011

My husband and I happened on Lochmara by accident a couple of years ago when traveling around the upper South Island. We loved it so much we made sure to include it in our itinerary for our Dec/Jan 2010-11 holiday trip to New Zealand. Lochmara Lodge, simply put, is elegant, casual, exciting, relaxing and educational--all rolled up together. The chalet rooms are great--but don't expect big hotel amenities. No TV, no phone, small shower, no frou-frou toiletries--but they're clean, big, have a 'frig and microwave, and an absolutely breathtaking view of the sound.

One thing that attracted us to the lodge on our first NZ visit was the wildlife recovery program and the lodge’s ‘green’ practice. It’s immediately obvious upon arrival at Lochmara that they take sustainability serious. Cudos—keep up the good work!

The trails around the lodge are great--something different around every corner. We were pleased to see the Alpaca are still at Lochmara along some new additions--pigs and sheep (loved the little piglets!). There was some slight trail damage from all the rain, but it only added to the overall charm. The glowworms and phosphorescence are amazing. Loved walking through the little orchard!

The cafe is excellent. Pretty good beer and wine selection (wish there was more Chardonnay). Prices are a bit steep, but considering the remote location and quality of the food, worth every penny. Ella was great!

We loved all the artwork, including the computer circuit board light fixtures (great idea for recycling!)!

My husband and I spent many hours over wine discussing the work that must have gone into creating this wonderful place, and planning our next visit!

Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank jirwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed December 31, 2010

Not a peaceful place. We had the unfortunate experience of staying over New Year's. Our room was tiny and noisy. The buzz and exhaust of engine fumes were pervasive. the trail out to the Queen Charlotte was damaged due to rain, so no access to waterfall or the track.
the staff were pleasant, but it was a great disappointment. they suggested we hike to the hammocks for some quiet, but the weather was cool and we were resting our legs from previous hikes.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Wvan57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lochmara, Manager at Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre, responded to this review, January 5, 2011
Thank you for your review. We take all feedback very seriously and I have looked into the situation around your stay. As you mentioned, unseasonal storms closed roads and caused flooding throughout the country this new year's. We were let off lightly, and our access to the Queen Charlotte track is open again now. While it was closed we did offer FREE water transfers to and from the track for our guests, which I understand you accepted? Our own nature walks on our property were open throughout. In regards quiet, at this time of year we are a popular family choice and some noise from other guests at the beach and outdoors is unavoidable in our units. For peace at any time of year we recommend staying in a chalet, or visiting one of the 40+ hammocks tucked into quiet spots. I have looked into your feedback re boat noise and fumes and can’t find any reports of problems during your stay – if you could email us with further particulars of this so that we can follow up, that would be great.
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Vasteras, Sweden
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed November 19, 2010

My partner and I spent three nights at Lochmara while travelling New Zealand in October. We had high expectations after browsing their web site but it turned out to be even better! The location is just fabulous in the Marlborough Sounds, close enough to reach Picton within 15 min with water taxi but far enough to feel secluded. The room was basic which is quite appropriate since you wouldn't want to spend your days inside anyways given the location. The staff was super nice and made us feel so welcome. The food was great. There was plenty to do - our favourite activity was problably kayaking (there are kayaks for free use). We also spoiled ourselves having massages and a lovely hot bath in the bath house overlooking the Sounds.

We would recommend this place to anyone looking for a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The stress free environment made the three days feel like a full week and we were able to continue our NZ tour fully invigorated.

Sofia and Robert, Vasteras, Sweden

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Sofia_Robert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lochmara, Manager at Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre, responded to this review, January 5, 2011
Hi Sofia and Robert. Thanks so much for the lovely review. It was a pleasure having you to stay, and to hear your kind words. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your visit to Marlborough and New Zealand.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle, Australia
Level Contributor
57 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2010

Stayed here for 1 night as part of Queen Charlotte Track walk package, so arrived late afternoon and left early, and did not really get the full benefit of staying at Lochmara Lodge. Lovely comfortable room with great view and fantastic pillows. (there are different grades of rooms, so not all would be as good). We had a really great dinner in the restaurant, and breakfast was good too (wonderful freshly baked danishes). Lots to do - extensive grounds, birds, animals etc, so would be good for kids. Very friendly helpful staff.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Sueg0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lochmara, Manager at Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre, responded to this review, January 5, 2011
Hi Sue - thanks for the review. We look forward to seeing you again when you're back this way. Join our page on Facebook (search Lochmara Lodge) to stay in touch with special deals and what's happening at the Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre. See you again one day!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, NZ
Level Contributor
35 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2010

We spent two nights here on our honeymoon after a civil union. We enjoyed early morning kayaking (saw dolphins just off the beach from the lodge), delicious meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in the restaurant, with views out over the bay, relaxing in many of the 50-odd hammocks and reading. There are star-gazing hammocks, hammocks with views, hammocks in the shade, hammocks in the sun... Double hammocks, single hammocks... We found the staff very friendly and accommodating. Our room was tiny; room for a bed and not much else and the bathroom was VERY tiny. But this was reflected in the price; we opted for a 'budget' room and splurged on good food. Even though the room was 'budget' it still had a great view out over the bay.
The lodge has a very special 'feel' with sculptures hidden around every corner and wonderful birdlife. We will definitely be back for another stay.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank MatWtgn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germany
Level Contributor
128 reviews
119 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2010

We stayed for 3 nights at “Lochmara Lodge” in January 2009.

Location:
The lodge is located in the Marlborough Sounds, more or less on the other side of the bay from Picton, and can only be reached by boat from Picton or via the Queen Charlotte Track (one hour down from the track). The lodge has an own boat and collects new guests every day from Picton. It takes only a short time on the boat to get there.

Rooms:
We stayed in a Luxury Chalet. The interior was clean and tastefully furnished. It provides a bedroom & sitting area, an open kitchenette and a bathroom. The kitchenette was not suitable for real cooking (no heating plates), it was ok just to prepare things and to boil water. The chalets have their own private deck with a table and chairs to sit outside and a view over the wonderful bay. You feel like being in the middle of nature when lying on the bed and seeing the fern trees and other plants touching the windows or growing just next to you when sitting on the deck –absolutely great!

During our stay they had some trouble with the water tank (it was empty and it takes some time to refill it), so the water stopped sometimes, for example for 30 min in the evening, and they could not really tell at what time there would be enough water in the tank again. So be aware that you maybe cannot rely all the time to a permanently working water supply.

The restaurant is really cool, with lots of art and special things around, and the food was good. They serve small dishes, cake, drinks and coffee until the late afternoon, and main dishes in the restaurant in the evening.

The grounds are very large, so you can walk around, see the “Punga people” and other art distributed around, a lot of hammocks, too, everything really special and cool.

You can use the washing machine, but this room and the room next to it (some kind of kitchen for people working there) is more the backpackers’ way than anything else.

One thing that should be improved: the dates that are made for transfers should be more reliable. We wanted to hike a part of the Queen Charlotte Track (from Anakiwa back to the Lodge with a side-trip to the hilltop lookout, took us about 6 hours –recommendable, excellent view from there!) and asked if the owner could bring us to Anakiwa with the boat next morning. They said he would be able to bring us at 10 am, which we found to be too late, because we wanted to spend more time out on the track, but they could not arrange it earlier, so we agreed, because there was no other possibility. Next morning we waited and waited until 10.30 am until he arrived at the pier to bring us. This was really annoying for us, because it was not the first time (he was also much too late when he collected us from Picton on the day of arrival). This is not really a disaster, but there are for sure better things to do than spending the time with just waiting for transfer.

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank TravelSiMa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre

Property: Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre
Address: Queen Charlotte Sound, Lochmara Bay 7201, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > Marlborough Region > Lochmara Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lochmara Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:4 star — Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre 4*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great accommodation in 14 units & bay view chalets set on the tranquil shores of the Marlborough Sounds, a short cruise from Picton in our water taxi (Lochmara can easily arrange this for you, there are no roads to Lochmara). Explore the Wildlife Recovery & Art Centre, nature & sculpture trails, Queen Charlotte Track, art gallery, wildlife, free use of our kayaks, or relax on the beach, hammocks or Bath House spa. Licensed cafe/restaurant serving local and seasonal produce and local wines. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lochmara Lodge - Wildlife Recovery And Arts Centre Hotel Picton

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