Penguins, seals and ancient trees.
The Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, on the South Island’s West Coast, is a sister lodge to the beautiful Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass in mid-Canterbury. But that’s where the similarities end. Whereas Arthur’s Pass is a dry alpine environment, perched in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, Lake Moeraki sits down near the west coast, amidst wet temperate rainforest and bearing the brunt of the wild storms that blow ashore from the Tasman Sea – which is what makes it such a fabulous place to visit.
Recognised now as the best place in the world to observe the gorgeous Tawaki, or Fiordland Penguin, it offers bird-lovers a very special stay through October to December, when the Tawaki come ashore to breed in the surrounding temperate rainforest.
Although on the main highway Lake Moeraki is a remote place. It’s a very long way from anywhere, except the wild exposed coast, the still deep lake, the beautiful native forest and the rich selection of sea and bird life that crowds into this stunning World Heritage environment. The lodge sits beside a small river that connects Lake Moeraki to the sea. It’s a gentle place, sheltered and protective and an easy kayak trip from the lake. It’s also only a 45 minute walk to Monro Beach, a wonderfully secluded patch of rocky coast which is home to penguins, seals and sea birds. There’s a huge selection of outdoor activities and tours to join in throughout your stay including bird-watching, hiking, kayaking, ecology tours and historic walks. A 2 night minimum stay is recommended so you can experience all that this lodge offers.
Twin lodge itineraries featuring Lake Moeraki and Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodges can be arranged, ensuring you get to experience both of these exceptional places
there are 4 luxurious Riverview Rooms looking out to the Moeraki River and rapids
rooms are spacious, with super-king beds, and each has a deck and outdoor seating. Bathrooms have spa baths and separate showers
there are also 20 Rainforest Rooms, with either a king or queen-sized bed and a single bed
these overlook verdant native forest and are very nicely appointed. Bathrooms have a shower only
there are 4 simply appointed Garden Rooms with a queen bed and a single bed
all rooms have tea / coffee-making facilities
the Rainforest Rooms are suitable for families and some have interconnecting doors. The more luxurious Riverview Rooms are suitable for 2 adults only
The Main Lodge
the lodge generates all its own power from a mini hydro scheme on the river
public spaces include two comfortable lounges and a library
all meals are served in the Riverview Restaurant
the dinner menu changes daily, with several choices, and features the best meats, fish and produce available
talks are often given in-house on the ecology and flora and fauna of this special area
Rates are per night and include breakfast, dinner and 1 – 2 hours guided activities per day
Riverview Room – $NZ 1080 - 1270 for 2 people twin share; single $NZ 645 - 790
Rainforest room – $NZ 880 - 960 for 2 people twin share; single $NZ 540 - 585
Garden room – $NZ 760 - 840 for 2 people twin share; single $NZ 480 - 520
2 night minimum stay 10 Dec to 1 Mar, subject to availability.
Children (2 – 12 yrs) stay at half adult rate if sharing a room with 2 adults
Open from Sept to April each season. Surcharges and minimum stay requirements over main holiday times
the World Heritage setting means basically that the natural world is all around this beautiful spot
two shorter guided nature activities a day are included in the tariff (1 – 1.5 hours)
these include wildlife and forest walks, kayaking, glow-worm walks in the evening and eel feeding
Tawaki penguin viewing is a key attraction from October to December
there is a big selection of longer walks, kayaking on the lake and nature activities
take penguin, seal and dolphin discovery walks along nearby beaches
all of the above can be combined into private guided tours