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Stay somewhere special

Extraordinary West Coast destination stays

Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park


Too good to leave. Stay somewhere super special — close to nature in a place you’ll find hard to leave. Meet the locals and experience legendary West Coast hospitality at these extraordinary destination stays.

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Te Aka Treehouse, Nelson Creek

Te Aka Treehouse is the West Coast’s new hideaway retreat

Retreat to a native forest

Te Aka Treehouse, Nelson Creek

Off grid, Te Aka Treehouse is the West Coast’s new hideaway retreat, a cosy nest snuggled into private native forest on a spectacular cliff-top perch.

As you settle in for a full forest immersion where the peace and quiet is only broken by the birdlife in the trees, spare a thought for the thousands of gold miners who laboured hard dramatically transforming this landscape back in the 1860s. They didn’t stay long but way down below in Golden Gully, they left their mark with diggings, water races and rusty relics testament to incredible super human endeavours.

You can scramble down the hill into the valley floor below or, better still, climb onto the trusty ‘side-by-side’ alongside Dave for a fun guided adventure into Golden Gully. Since your hosts Dave and Lisa (and their family) moved here five years ago, they’ve accumulated a mine of information on the local history and put a lot of love into the environment. Go creek hopping, try your hand at gold panning, explore tunnels and channels beneath the regenerating bush bringing back the birdlife.

Up in your treehouse, it’s all fully self-contained with modern comforts and cosyness. There’s a fireplace, firewood and a comfy couch in the living area, floor to ceiling windows out over the large deck, home-made goodies in the kitchen, a mezzanine bedroom and bathroom with a view. Wake up to the morning chorus, relax on the deck or in the hammock between trees, toast your toes by the fire or lie in bed watching the night sky through the skylights.

Travel tips: If you want to explore further afield, there’s a series of interesting, easy short walks starting at nearby Nelson Creek or it’s a 30-minute drive to the highly recommended Coal Creek Falls Track. Greymouth, Shantytown, Blackball, Punakaiki and the Paparoa Range are all within 30 to 60-minutes’ drive.

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Lake Brunner Eco Lodge

The lodge is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all destination.

Lakeside luxe

Lake Brunner Eco Lodge, Mitchells

Ready to slow down, leave the daily grind behind? The drive into Lake Brunner Eco Lodge will have you in the slow lane as you leave Kumara and head 21 km inland over the hills, across wilderness rivers and through the trees.

The West Coast’s largest lake, Moana/Lake Brunner, is a tranquil haven surrounded by mountain ranges and some of the world’s oldest protected rainforest, trees rising like primaeval giants from the pristine waters. On the southern shores, at Mitchells – a tiny settlement with a lakeside jetty and a handful of holiday homes – the lodge is the ultimate get-away-from-it-all destination.

Nature is the star attraction by day and by night. Go boating, kayaking or fishing for trout and salmon, or find a trail to suit your fitness. Climb up through the bush beside the lodge to misty Carew Falls for stunning views, or tackle the nearby Te Kinga or Mt French tracks. Due for completion in late 2024, the 12.6-km Lake Brunner Scenic Trail skirts the lake shore linking Mitchells with Moana, with the option of another 22 km along the road to Kumara and linking with the Wilderness Trail. Nights are spectacular because there is no light pollution. Stay toasty in the private hot tub while gazing into the universe, or go on a guided after-dark glow worm adventure.

Built of native timbers in gracious 1930s California bungalow style, with panoramic bay windows and a wide verandah, the hotel offers spacious surroundings and attentive service. It is owned and operated by the Lynch family, and facilities include a library, games room with billiards and darts, bar and restaurant with a menu based on fresh, local ingredients (lunch and dinners on reservation). Nightly rates include dinner and continental breakfast.

Travel tips: Winter is the best time for stargazing because nights are at their clearest and days are short. Lake Brunner trout are big and wily but, if you catch one, the hotel is happy to cook it for you. Lake Brunner Eco Lodge is a 45-minute drive from Arthur’s Pass or Hokitika.

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Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

A unique ‘glamping’ destination on the stunning Ross Beach.


Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park

Ready to chill at the beach, can’t wait for summer? Just like the ocean, beach holidays are year-round at the Ross Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park – a unique ‘glamping’ destination with a line-up of super beachfront and park view motorhome sites, snazzy facilities, smart container pods and the latest addition of four sumptuous Geodesic domes where camping finds another level.

For a spot of indulgent winter glamping, your cosy geo dome comes with heating (cooling for summer), a super comfy queen bed with luxury linen, ensuite (shower, vanity and flush toilet), lounge and smart kitchenette complete with a nespresso machine. A two-night stay includes a continental breakfast delivered to your room.

This is about the closest you can get to luxury in nature. Relax to the constant thrum of the surf, settle down in a comfy lounge chair to listen to the birds, watch the sun setting through the trees. Light a driftwood fire on the beach or book the private hot-tub spa to enjoy the glorious night skies. Once installed, you won’t want to leave.

Ross Beach TOP 10 sits right on the Tasman Sea-front with a wild, sandy beach as far as the eye can see, mountain backdrops and front-row views for those glorious golden West Coast sunsets. This is the southern trail head of the Wilderness Trail. In summer, there’s a beachfront ‘chill out’ zone with an off- licence, pizza takeaways and large outdoor lounging space with bean bags and a fire.

Travel tips: If you want someone to cook dinner, the Empire Hotel in Ross – 5 minutes up the road – does good pub fare and takeaways, 7 nights a week. Explore the little museum and old mining trails around the Ross Heritage Centre or drive to the artist workshops and hospitality of nearby Hokitika (20 minutes). It’s 1.5 hours south to Ōkārito or Franz Josef village.

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Awatuna Sunset Lodge

Sunsets and 5-star hospitality, just north of Hokitika.

Come home to Awatuna Sunset Lodge, Hokitika

Spectacular sunsets and rave reviews for 5-star hospitality. Just north of Hokitika, boutique accommodation Awatuna Sunset Lodge is a rising star on the West Coast, thanks to hosts Elizabeth and Selwyn who make hospitality an art form as they open their home and hearts to their guests.

Set on a gentle west-facing rise above the beach, the lodge is a spacious, purpose-built home and accommodation with three guest suites, guest lounge, dining and kitchenette. Two ‘ocean view’ suites open out onto a verandah overlooking the garden with wide views of the sea and long, glorious West Coast sunsets — an ideal vantage point to soak in the sights and sounds of nature.

Elizabeth is an accomplished chef, specialising in Mediterranean-style cuisine, learned at home and in the family restaurant in Sydney, so dining in is a special feature at the lodge. In the evenings, they invite guests for complimentary ‘sundowner’ drinks and canapés. Available on reservation, dinner typically features fruit and veg from the garden, and other local produce which could include whitebait caught (in season) in the stream below the house. The tariff includes a generous breakfast menu (starring their own free-range eggs) and guests have free access to the kitchenette which is well stocked with home-made goodies.

Take a long walk to fossick for pounamu (greenstone) on the driftwood strewn sandy beach or climb aboard ‘Radar’, the amphibious craft piloted by Selwyn, for a spin on the beach. Spot kororā (little blue penguin) in their nesting season (May to November), kayak in the creek, pan for gold, or do nothing at all — sipping champagne in the spa pool.

Travel tips: Make the most of shorter winter days — fly into Hokitika from Christchurch and return on the afternoon TranzAlpine train, dining on board while you enjoy the spectacular scenery. Awatuna Sunset Lodge offers complimentary airport and train pick-ups and drop-offs. Facilities also include several powered sites with sea views for self-contained motor homes. The lodge is on SH6, 10 minutes north of Hokitika, 20 minutes south of Greymouth.

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