Wharekauhau Lodge & Country Estate
Located just a scenic 1.5 hour drive from central Wellington, the idyllic Wharekauhau (pronounced Far-e-cow-how) Lodge and Country Estate is worlds away from ordinary. Nestled on a sprawling 5,500 acre property above Palliser Bay, with manicured lawns and gardens, bright green paddocks, rolling hills, ancient beech forests, and stunning river and ocean views, this country estate and working farm has an endless list of available activities. And with such friendly, warm, and lively hosts, it is easy to make yourself right at home at Wharekauhau, even if you can’t quite perfect your pronunciation of its name.
From the moment you see the Wharekauhau sign and climb the first hill onto the property, you get the sense of the Estate’s seclusion. Offering 10 intimate, well-appointed guest cottages, a 4,600 square foot, 3 bedroom chateau, and a 3 bedroom, family style cottage, the property is intentionally private, allowing for the most personalized experience possible. And, such was our experience during our visit, as our group was fortunate to have Wharekauhau all to ourselves.
Our gracious hosts, Kristy and Nico, along with the rest of their friendly and knowledgeable staff, exude an endearing sense of camaraderie. That sense of family carries over into the feelings of the rooms and buildings, too. From the open, country-style kitchen, to the living room-esque lounge, to the elegant yet homey dining room, the general feeling of the entire place is simple elegance (think sheep farm meets chateau) and everything is magnificently done. Some of the highlights from our visit were:
- A fun and informative farm tour with Ian and Joe, including a ride through the sheep and cow paddocks, through a river and along the beach, a nature walk through a native beech forest, and an intriguing (if not somewhat creepy) introduction to native longfin eels.
- An impressive sheep-herding and shearing presentation with on-site shepherd, Jacques, and his team of well-trained and energetic dogs.A fresh and delicious 4 course dinner, complete with expert wine pairings, introduction to the chefs, and wonderful company of both proprietors.
With such wonderful food, wine, facilities, activities and company, Wharekauhau is a true New Zealand gem, and a must-stay when visiting the North Island.