We recently had the opportunity to stay at River Birches, a small lodge right beside the world-famous trout fishing river, the Tongariro which runs through the little town of Turangi on the southern shores of Lake Taupo. I gathered from the owners that the lodge had not been open long, but they had already received a 5 star Qualmark rating (a New Zealand tourism ranking system).
River Birches is really like a big house - three private suites and two comfortable communal lounges. It has live-in managers - Marilyn is a trained chef and cooked us a truly wonderful dinner and breakfast. Her husband Chris is a fishing guide and can take guests fishing on the Tongariro.
We had been travelling by car for a few days and chose to spend our last night at River Birches for a bit of a treat. Before joining the other guests in the lounge for pre-dinner drinks we enjoyed a warm soak in the cedar hot tub tucked under fern trees right outside our room - perfect.
Already we have discussed plans with friends to book the whole lodge for a night - we would be three couples which would work beautifully. We plan to spend our days enjoying the fantastic scenery around the region, out walking or mountain biking, and then we'll have an relaxing peaceful evening in front of the fire with another of Marilyn's fantastic dinners.
For those who like peaceful, tastfully decorated private lodge-style accommodation at relatively reasonable prices (about $NZ300/night/room + meals) then I recommend trying River Birches. There is such a lot of do around this Central Plateau region in New Zealand and even better to come home to be looked after at River Birches after a fun active day.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Superbly located for the Tongariro crossing, fishing, and skiing getaways. River Birches is an exclusive retreat alongside the Tongariro River. Listed in Travel & Leisure Magazine’s Best of 2007. It features luxury accommodation equipped with Wi-Fi, fitness room and onsite chef. Qualmark: Five Star rated. ... more less
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