Te Anau, New ZealandFiordland, on New Zealand’s south west corner, has long been recognized as one of the great eco-heritage areas of the world. Now discerning visitors to the region can enjoy a level of comfort previously unavailable there.
It is on the edge of this mighty wilderness that Ron and Robynne Peacock have built an imposing luxury accommodation lodge, Fiordland Lodge.
Just north of the township of Te Anau on the road to Milford Sound, a private road leads to Fiordland Lodge, which sweeps into view briefly and only at the last possible moment. It is effectively camouflaged, having been built with materials such as western red cedar shingle roof, and sited for the best possible views from the inside, but practically unseen from the outside.
Entry is through two huge oregon doors and, once inside, an 11-metre high floor to ceiling wall of glass gives unimpeded views of the South Island’s largest lake, Lake Te Anau, and the Kepler and Murchison Mountains beyond.
Built from nature’s materials, the main building has 10 ensuite guest rooms, including an executive suite, a Great Hall, dining room and bar, library and reading room plus a small conference room, while two two-bedroomed log cabins nearby give an alternative for families or small groups.
Within the building, some of the many natural features include massive logs and native timbers used as structural supports throughout. Hundreds of oregon logs, sourced from the Dusky Forest near Tapanui in northern Southland, support the ceiling. The timber floors are native silver beech, milled and kiln-dried at Tuatapere in western Southland. In the foyer a kowhai tree, salvaged from Te Anau Downs, supports the mezzanine floor, and a massive slab of native rimu, washed ashore on the Fiordland coast, serves as the bar and reception counter.
In the Great Room a massive welcoming open fire entices guests to linger and exchange travel tales over pre- and after-dinner drinks.
The fireplace, built of stone from nearby Upukerora River, encompasses an entire wall, complete with a mantle piece fashioned from beams from old bridges on the Milford Road.
Overhead, lighting comes from two immense wrought iron chandeliers with huge fishing flies supporting the lights.
The décor throughout Fiordland Lodge reflects the ever-dominant Fiordland landscape with muted greens and fawns and rich browns with textures reminiscence of flax and bark.
A feeling of quiet solitude on entering the building is replayed as you reach the guest’s rooms.
Each unit with its super-king/twin bed has the same unimpeded view of the uninhabited land and lake-scape, while the rich browns and textures of the décor and top quality bedding, towels and toiletries add a sense of pampering. The ensuite bathrooms merge porcelain and swamp kauri with the latest bathroom conveniences. All the rooms are fully serviced daily.
Fiordland Lodge is a place of discovery or of quiet personal contemplation – a sanctuary in the real sense of the word.
For Robynne and Ron Peacock, the region of Fiordland is intricately woven into their lives. Each having a background steeped in the ebb and flow of this vast wilderness.
Ron was a National Park Ranger with the Department of Conservation for twenty-five years and he has been a nature guide and fishing guide for the last ten years.
With up to 40 rivers and streams within one and a half hours travel of the lodge, fishing packages are just one of the accommodation features on offer. Lodge guests fish at upstream sites for rainbow and brown trout. All fishing is catch and release; a policy strictly adhered to in order to conserve the fishery.
Guests can linger over delicious food, prepared by their chef, enjoy fine New Zealand wines from the well-stocked cellar or a cocktail from the full bar service, and savour the view all from the small and intimate dining room. There is no set dining time. All services are offered to suit the in-house guests.
A full range of accommodation packages is available including sightseeing, honeymoon, family fun and special interest group packages such as bird watching, alpine botanicals and golf packages. Special guided fishing and walking tour packages incorporating overnight wilderness camps are also available.