Accommodation & Activities Update


Aspen Court Franz Josef – now Qualmark accredited

Complex set amongst native bush within easy walking distance of all attractions and amenities in Franz Josef Village.

Beautifully designed and modern units, Aspen Court Franz Josef is set amongst native bush providing a very peaceful ambience. Internally the units are large, practical and modern with all containing quality furnishings and fittings.

20 units:

  • 9 x Studio (incl 2 accessible ones)
  • 4 x Spa studios
  • 5 x one bedrooms with spa
  • 2 x Two bedrooms with spa

Now Qualmark Bronze


Holly Homestead (Franz Josef) reopens after 18 months hibernation

Hibernation is nearly over.

This colonial homestead full of character built in 1926 which whispers history with its beautiful warm native timbers reopens October 2022.

The hosts Bernie & Gerard will offer your guests refreshments on arrival to enjoy either in the cosy guest lounge or an outdoor setting.

This accommodation is surrounded by breath-taking views of the beautiful Franz Josef scenery: The upstairs balcony to enjoy the sunsets or on a clear day some spectacular alpine view of the Southern Alps and the Franz Josef Glacier Nevé from the breakfast table awaits.

Four upstairs guest rooms with their own private ensuite.

Children 12+ welcome.

Holly Homestead is a great base to explore all the Glacier region has to offer.


Ocean View Retreat (Punakaiki) - Richard Benton departs

"My work as The Owner's Representative for The Ocean View Retreat has now been completed with the re-branding and strategic work and plans/redevelopment all now in place - and a very promising season ahead for the property.

"The transformation from The Punakaiki Resort to The Ocean View Retreat has been a really exciting journey and I’d like to thank Alexander, Andrew and all the team- and all our trade partners for their help in achieving this work - work that we can all be so very proud of.

"I’d like to thank Spence Farms Ltd for their commitment to a significant re-investment in the property and thank all the team for their hard work -that has delivered consistently 5-star reviews that we have achieved with both TripAdvisor and other customer feedback channels.

"These reviews (since we re-opened at the end of January 2022) are the ultimate measure of our success.

"I am confident that The Ocean View Retreat is very well placed to take advantage of the tourism recovery - which is showing some really promising "green shoots” and will continue to wish Spence Farms Ltd and all the team the very best of success.

"Please kindly address all future emails to Joanne Pickering - Reservations & Channel Manager.," said Richard Benton.

An arial view of The Ocean View Retreat - Punakaiki.
Grans Ocean View Rooms

New GM reopens Te Waonui (Franz Josef) on October 1st.

New General Manager, Carey Lister comments: “Whilst the global pandemic has changed many things about our daily lives, rest assured that the peace, tranquillity, and natural beauty of the west coast has remained exactly the same, just as it has for thousands of years. As the new General Manager for Scenic Hotel Group’s Franz Josef properties, I am absolutely delighted to reopen Te Waonui on October 1st, and look forward to welcoming travellers back to this little piece of paradise”.

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Westwood Lodge (Franz Josef) welcomes new managers

Westwood Lodge, Franz Josef, which is part of the Azure Sapphire Accommodation Group is thrilled to announce the appointment of Ashley Lepper and Steve Seymour as the new live in managers. Business Development Manager, Jim Little says "I firmly believe that Ashley and Steve will rejuvenate Westwood Lodge with fresh ideas and enthusiasm."

Westwood Lodge

Wilderness Lodges reopen for the Summer

There are only two Wilderness Lodges in New Zealand:

  • Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki in southern South Westland is alongside Highway 6 in the heart of Te Wāhipounamu, the South-West NZ World Area. On the shore of the lake, it is surrounded by ancient kahikatea and beech rainforest and lies a short 40 minute walk from the Tasman seacoast.
  • Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass on Highway 73 with its own 1650 hectare merino sheep farm and nature reserve just south of the West Coast border. It is surrounded by Arthur’s Pass National Park.

Both Wilderness Lodges have been open through the Covid pandemic but, like so many South Island tourism businesses, they have been operating at a much lower level of activity compared to pre-pandemic times.

The Wilderness Lodges have just opened for 2022-2023.

Lodge Managers Anne Saunders and Gerry McSweeney at Lake Moeraki and Michael and Hannah McSweeney at Arthur’s Pass have been really pleased by the interest in booking accommodation and nature activities both from New Zealanders and from international visitors.

Founders and owners of both Lodges for the last 32 years, Anne Saunders and Gerry McSweeney comment that Americans in particular are booking in even greater numbers than pre-Covid. Anne and Gerry are also heartened by the continued New Zealanders interest in staying at the Lodges even with our international borders now open.

At Arthur’s Pass, springtime in the mountains is a lovely time to visit. There are cute Merino lambs on the farm. Alpine flowers emerging from their winter dormancy are a highlight of our national park guided trips. Snow across the mountain tops is also great for photography and scenery.

At Lake Moeraki springtime is bird breeding season. Kowhai is the first native tree to flower in spring throughout the West Coast. Kowhai trees are crammed with bossy tui and korimako/bellbird gathering nectar. Kereru pigeons gobble whole kowhai flowers and leaves. White clematis is also now flowering. Giant fuchsia trees lining riverbanks and roadsides all have new leaves and flowers attracting pollinating birds. The Lake Moeraki forests are now a stronghold for rare kaka and kea parrots both of which are benefitting from 24 years of ongoing DOC landscape scale aerial pest control that started here in 1998.

The highlight for nature and photography enthusiasts are Tawaki/Fiordland Crested penguins. These are 4 times the size of the better known Little penguin/Kororā. Tawaki breed in the forest along the southern South Westland coastline from July through until the first week of December. Tawaki are the third rarest of the world’s 18 penguin species with their world population only around 7,000 birds (see box below) and breed only between Bruce Bay and southern Rakiura/Stewart Island.


Across Country Quad Bike (Franz Josef) – Business closure

It is with deep regret that they will no longer be taking bookings at Across Country Quad Bikes. Unfortunately, the owner and director tragically lost his life over the winter.

The family has made the difficult decision to close its doors as the business simply cannot function without him.

All our thoughts are with them in these difficult times.

National Kiwi Centre (Hokitika) – now Qualmark accredited.

The National Kiwi Centre is situated in the heart of Hokitika and provides the opportunity to get up close and personal with New Zealand’s national icons: West Coast Kiwi, Tuatara, Giant Eels, Crayfish and Whitebait. Family-friendly indoor activites.

Now Qualmark Bronze