logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
European Travel
Action Movies
Bible Basics
Houseplants
Romance Movies
Creativity
Family Travel


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Luxury Travel Site

BellaOnline's Luxury Travel Editor

g

Wildlife Watching at New Zealand’s Tree Tops Lodge


The Olive House is part of Hapuku Lodge, located in Kaikoura, about halfway between Picton and Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island. The size of an apartment and outfitted like one, with a full kitchen and a living room big enough for a wedding reception, the Olive House is the largest of the lodge’s “Tree House” suites.

Native woods and copper shingles suit the landscape well, and along with the buildings themselves, the hand-crafted furniture was designed by the owners – the Wilsons, a family of several generations of well-know architects. A quick tour revealed a double spa tub on a low platform in a window-enclosed corner of the huge bedroom.

We made note of that for later, but we had a date with a whale. Several of them, actually, and some seals and a pod of dolphins. We had added Kaikoura to our New Zealand itinerary because it’s the Serengeti of sea life, with seal colonies all along the shore, a sea full of dolphin pods, Great Sperm Whales and large colonies of Northern Royal Albatross (whose wing-span is about 10-feet) and the even larger Giant Albatross.

We started our wildlife watch close to the lodge, with an hour of delighting in the antics of a dozen seal pups playing in a high tidal pool.

Kaikoura offers a variety of ways to get good sightings or up-close experiences with the sea life, and we chose the best way to see the whales, from above, with Wings Over Whales. Sightings are almost certain because the planes can move quickly to circle a whale that’s surfacing for breath, and the perspective is the only way to see the whole whale, since they lie just at the surface of the water.

After watching several whales, we went dolphin hunting, and were astonished at the almost endless numbers of them we could see from the air. It doesn’t replace the experience of having these engaging creatures “playing” with a boat, but it gives a different view of their numbers, how they swim in formation and how pods interact. We finished off with New Zealand’s most popular half-day hike, around the Kaikouru Peninsula for more seal watching, all experiences suggested (or, in the case of Wings Over Whales, arranged) by our host at Hapuku Lodge.

Of course being close to all this seawater made us think of seafood, so we returned the lodge in time to relax before a leisurely dinner. The manuka trees’ thick foliage screened our windows from the ground, so we opened the bottle of wine we’d bought at Sileni vineyards on North Island and watched birds in the treetops at eye level, from our tub of swirling water.

While only the Tree Houses have spa tubs, all rooms (there are six more in the main lodge, in addition to the other Tree Houses) have many of the luxuries we found on exploring our own -- custom designed furniture, heated floors and towel rails in the bathrooms, rain fountain showerheads, DVD/CD players, complimentary wireless internet, coffee and tea makers, and pre-loaded I-POD sound systems.

One of Hapuku Lodge’s many attractions is its dining room, emphasizing local ingredients – seafood fresh from the boats and produce following the seasons at a local organic farm. We ordered two local specialties: venison and grilled crayfish – koura in Maori language, accounting for the town’s name, which translates to “crayfish place”.

After the four-course dinner we walked back to our lofty suite under a sky lit by 80% more stars than are visible from the northern hemisphere, and poured out the last two glasses of the bottle of Sileni Pinot Noir we’d begun as sundowners. We could grow used to this Kiwi lifestyle

If You Go
Air Tahiti Nui flies to Auckland, NZ, from New York, via Tahiti (ask about a free stopover).
Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Twitter Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Facebook Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to MySpace Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Del.icio.us Digg Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Yahoo My Web Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Google Bookmarks Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Stumbleupon Add Wildlife+Watching+at+New+Zealand%92s+Tree+Tops+Lodge to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Luxury Travel Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Barbara Radcliffe Rogers for details.

g


g features
City Luxury - Element New York Times Square West

Exploring Fjords from Grodås by Bus, Boat and Bike

Hospitality and Scenery in Norway’s Fjords

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor