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“Luxury fishing trip with a mate...big mistake!”

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River Birches Lodge
Ranked #1 of 9 Turangi B&B and Inns
Reviewed August 27, 2011

Late in August I stayed at River Birches Cottage (That was to my pleasure and also my first mistake.) I should have gone with my lovely wife instead of my fishing mate.

Telling her where we stayed was the second mistake ...because she checked it out.

My wife loves it when we stay at luxury accomodation in the Taupo region. When we go together that is. I fish and she relaxes in her own way. Reading, walking, cooking....

She enjoys the comfort and pleasure of well apointed lodgings and in particular the facility of a great kitchen. Superb comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms are also high on her list.

All the above are here but the kitchen in this beautiful 3 bedroom cottage is fully set up for the most competent of cooks like my wife. Wayne and I did our best in the wonderful kitchen but ....

My mate and I also made the most of the comfort and the local fishing...but sorry Wayne...you are not coming next time.

The cottage is very warm and comfortable in a great location by the river for fisherman, skiers, tourists, honeymooners etc, Be great for a get together of 3 friends or couples because all of the three bedrooms are of equal spaciousness and comfort and the living spaces are large. In fact the whole cottage is of generous proportion.

Worth noting....Its not exactly a place to gut and fillet a fish but it does have the amazing amenity of a gear drying room and full laundry..both of which we availed ourselves of.

We will be back one day. ( Not with you though Wayne)

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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3  Thank craigh255106
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 - 94 of 133 reviews

Reviewed August 27, 2011

This is the second time staying at the River Birches Cottage, this time with two fishing buddies instead of the kids. First of all the fishing was great, everyone caught plenty of wild Rainbows and even a Tongariro Brown trout was landed. But this isn’t a fish report... Every one enjoyed our stay at the cottage. Comfortable and well appointed, a great place to wake up in and a joy to return to. Everyone was confortable in there own rooms, unfortunately I lost the toss for the master bedroom but it made little difference. The big and well-appointed kitchen really worked for us, plenty of room for all the cooks with an ample dining area to boot. It’s winter fishing so we really appreciated the drying closet for our waders and wet gear; the dryer in the full laundry was also given a workout.
All around it was great staying at the cottage, everyone was impressed with the place and we’ll be staying there again.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank SmithCreek_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2011

Visited a long lost friend in Auckland, we made a road trip down to Lake Taupo just to get away from big cities. We were recommended River Birches for accommodation. Checking online and saw great reviews so we decided to stay there for 2 nights. The place is GORGEOUS, luxury, and worth every penny. The bed was comfy, the food was great, the area around was nice and peaceful - exactly what we wanted. We dined in both nights and so glad we did it. Really do recommend DINE IN.

Room Tip: Recommend dining in the lodge
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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2  Thank i_ferenze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 15, 2011

My husband and I stayed at the River Birches Cottage with our two girls (age 3,5) in late July. We chose this location over Taupo due to its closer proximity to the Mt Ruapehu ski areas and I am so glad we did. Turangi is a lovely town right on the Tongariro River. It is small but has all the amenities (restaurants, supermarket etc) that you need on a holiday with a family.

The Cottage was gorgeous. Apparently it recently won an architectural award and I can see why. The living area is big, modern and open with lovely views from each of the numerous windows. It would be wonderful on a warm summer day when you could open the whole house out into the garden. The garden itself had a traditional English feel with a picturesque pond and great sitting area.

There are four bedrooms - a master with ensuite downstairs (which we didn't use because we wanted to be near the girls) and three bedrooms upstairs with a big family bathroom. We stayed in the large upstairs queen bedroom and the girls were in the twin room. The bedrooms are large with very comfortable beds and beautiful bed linen. The bathrooms are spotless, modern and luxurious with fluffy towels, quality natural bath products, heated towel rails(!) and heated tiled floors. The whole house is toasty warm due to the numerous heaters that you can easily adjust to the temperature you want.

I have stayed in a lot of self-contained accommodation particularly in Australia and often it is a bit musty or you feel you want to rinse all the cutlery and crockery before use but not here! The cottage and the kitchenware was immaculate. This is obviously a well managed property. The kitchen had everything you might need for a family visit or in fact to cater an eight course dinner party. When we arrived the fridge was stocked with bacon, eggs, tea, coffee, milk, bread, two types of cereal, butter and on the bench was a full bowl of fruit - none of which we were expecting so it was a lovely surprise. There was also a near new washing machine and dryer with soap powder provided.

Being a 3 minute walk from the river (and a fantastic suspension bridge) was great as was being able to see so many stars at night. We saw three shooting stars in fifteen minutes - a novelty for any city dweller. You can also hear the river from the cottage which is lovely particularly at night.

The drive to the Whakapapa ski fields was an easy 35 minutes and the manager of River Birches had recommended a ski hire place en route which was much cheaper than the on snow hire places (I think it was called Adventure Hut or something similar - service was excellent and very friendly). As we found almost everywhere we went in NZ the service at River Birches was wonderful. Very welcoming, very friendly and very helpful in providing information and tips on the local area. Also very welcoming of our small children.

While we were there we had a look at the rooms in the Lodge and they were also very nice. The Lodge had a warm, luxury feel that would be great for couples. For us though the Cottage was perfect. The rate we paid was not unreasonable either as they did not charge for the children. For what we got, we thought it was a very fair price.

We will definitely be back to this place, hopefully next time with more of the extended family. I can certainly see a Christmas lunch out in the Cottage garden in my future at some point!

Room Tip: For families the Cottage is perfect.
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  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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4  Thank Dboo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2011

There is a Wow here. Once we walked in there was a nice relaxing wow feeling. We came to do the Tongariro crossing and some fishing while on our honeymoon. Stayed two nights. First night we ate out because we did not want to commit in advance to eating it. Eating out was a disappointment. Expensive and not great. Second night we ate in. This was the right choice. We should of opted to eat in both nights. The lodge has 3-4 rooms and the owners cottage. We did not go for the Admiral's room because it was the premium room and this was close to the end of the trip and our funds were getting tight. The manager showed us around and we even got to use the wooden hot tub that is connected to the Admiral's since no one was there. The Admiral's rooms looks very nice. However the others are very nice as well. The cottage is pretty private and has a good vibe to it. We surfed the web a lot before the trip. This was the right choice for us. We both will be back.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank travelalltime
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 21, 2011

We are a Christchurch New Zealand based family with an 11 year old girl and 7 year old boy.
We embarked on a NZ road trip for our annual holidays this year and stumbled across 'paradise' in River Birches on the edge of the stunning river in Turangi.
A beautiful and peaceful setting, with the gentle sounds of the river and wind in the trees to sooth the busy world our of our minds. Stunning walking tracks in nearby Tongoriro National Park and plenty of activities to experience in any weather condition It rained during our stay) The cottage we stayed in itself was simply stunning. Very comfortable, very well appointed too, we cooked two stunning meals in the beautiful kitchen. In fact it was difficult to leave! We will be back soon without a doubt, and definitely for longer than our initial two nights stay. Maybe a winter trip as well for some skiing. There is just too much to see and do.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank vanHfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2011

There is no doubt that this is physically a very nice property but its pricing and what is provided does not come close to the prices that are charged.

There are three rooms in the main "lodge" - Admirals, Duchess, and Major. The Admirals and Duchess rooms look out onto the garden area at the back of the property. These rooms are relatively small and offer very little privacy when the curtains are open. The Major room is a separate building with a few onto a small garden.

The properties website says to join for drinks and canapes in the summer. In the two days I was there these were not offered.

Breakfast was terrible.

On my first day I was given a bowl of fruit - cantaloupe and blueberries. The cantaloupe was over ripe - mushy. No cereals were offered - more on this later. The eggs which I requested - scrambled with salmon were undercooked. The flat white coffee was served near cold. This was because the hostess, Anthea, made the coffee and then spent 10 minutes searching for an appropriate milk. The end result was a tepid coffee. Could I have asked for all of this to be redone - yes - but I chose to go on my hike for the day. I asked about fresh fruit juice - none. I stayed at several upper end properties in New Zealand at half the price - fresh juice and more.

The next breakfast was not any better. Juice was once again bottlled Apple or Orange. My attempts to get unsweetened cereal resulted in Anthea bringing me a tub of grains - yes, raw seeds and grains. I guess I could have toasted these and made a cereal. I passed. My "eggs over easy" were cooked to solid yolks.

It is amusing that the owner says Anthea is a good cook. That is certainly not what I experienced. It took a while to find her on my last day. I came close to cooking my own breakfast.

The bottom line is easy. Very expensive and not worth what is paid. Breakfast is a sham. Anthea would make a nice grandmother. By the way, her first words were "could I book you a flightseeing trip?". Perhaps she was looking for some income enhancement through a commission.

Consider other options unless you have money to burn.

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank AlwaysOnTheAirplane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about River Birches Lodge

Address: 19 Koura Street | Taupo, Turangi 3334, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Waikato Region > Taupo District > Turangi
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 B&Bs / Inns in Turangi
Price Range: $412 - $681 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — River Birches Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
River Birches is the closest boutique five-star Luxury Lodge to the Tongariro Crossing. The Lodge is set within a peaceful garden-scape beside the renown Tongariro River. Guests can select from a range of exciting activities, from fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking the riverside trails, white water rafting, golfing to winter skiing on Mount Ruapehu. River Birches offers single party, privately guided Tongariro Crossing. Positioned alongside the Lodge, sits The Cottage at River Birches. This beautiful self-contained property provides a superb option for families and larger groups of travellers who appreciate the privacy, spaciousness, and independence of a high quality architecturally designed, luxury residence. River Birches Lodge and The Cottage at River Birches proudly support Destination Charging for Electronic Vehicles and has two TESLA EV chargers. ... more   less 
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