Tiritiri Lodge

Tiritiri lodge in Wanakais owned and run by Stephanie Pursley and Denis Costello. A modern and impressive, architecturally designed building that is positioned for its lake views and all day sun.

We arrived just as the other two guests who we would spend the next two days with did– some friendly Belgians - and all enjoyed some fabulous home-made orange cake and fresh south island fruit juices as we got to know each other.

After cake, Denis showed us to our room, a deluxe king room with balcony access, luxurious super king bed with the most divine linen including a velvet goose down throw! Very yummy.  And of course stunning mountain and lake views (we were starting to get rather spoiled with views by this stage…each one spectacular and unique).

The said view from this room can even be enjoyed from the bathroom with a glass window cut into the wall so you don’t miss out on any stunning sunsets while you shower before dinner.

Our first night at Tiritiri we ventured out into Wanaka to taste some of the local restaurant fare. Stephanie gave us a detailed over view of the available restaurants.  With us knowing that we were going to be having a delicious four course meal the next night at the lodge we picked the more casual option – a café called Urban Grind which served various styles of tapas and pizzas.

Tiritiri’s chef is Stephanie’s daughter Tiffany Firth, and what a fabulous chef she is! We enjoyed two incredible breakfasts and a night of the mouth-watering food that we had come to expect from staying in a lodge and all matched with excellent wines from Denis’ collection (well, the dinner was, not the breakfast, although I’m sure it could be arranged if you wanted!)

Something that the other lodges didn’t have that Tiritiri excelled in was an impressive DVD library – so impressive that I found a copy of my childhood favourite ‘The Never Ending Story’ which I had failed to source even when living in London.  For some reason the boy didn’t share my enthusiasm in this 1980’s German children’s fantasy story.

The lodge also has a beautiful spa set in a glass walled room in the garden overlooking a pond and mini waterfall and a guests lounge with a fully stocked fridge just in case you do fancy that glass of wine after breakfast.

Day two and we woke up to typically beautiful Wanaka Weather. We were keen to try the Rob Roy glacier walk that Stephanie, a keen walker herself, had recommended. She provided us with a map and careful directions – apparently there were 11 fords to cross.

We had fondly named our rental car the ‘juice box’ as it wasn’t much bigger than the said box. So I was a little apprehensive about all this water crossing we were going to have to take on. No worries there, weeks of no rain meant all but one of the fords was completely dried up!

The drive to the beginning of the walk is about 25km of unsealed road, adding to the adventure. We left the little juice box panting and tired in the car park and ventured out across the fields for the start of the walk.

Despite having done quite a bit of tramping throughout NZ I was particularly excited about this walk as I had never seen a glacier. The walk itself is fairly-easy with someslightly challenging steep bits and only took us two of the recommended three hours before you come out into a wide gulley for viewing the glaciers.

The gulley is studded with large flat top rocks so we picked one, took up roost and ate our lunch while eagerly awaiting a giant chunk of ice to fall off. Stephanie had told us that it was worth sitting there for at least an hour as it was highly likely you’d see some fall.

We waited for our said hour and nothing had looked remotely like moving so decided to head back (it was very near wine o’clock). On the way we passed our Belgian companions from the lodge and made the usual bad jokes about how much further away the glaciers were.

The joke was on us though, that night at dinner as we swopped stories they confessed to having seen not one but two giant pieces of ice come crashing to the ground. Turns out they got our piece as well!

Off to bed and tonight my pick from the DVD library was Muriel’s Wedding (once again, the boy was not impressed) Ready for our big trip (well…two and half hours) across the south island to our final stop on the lodge journey – Oamaru and historic Pen y bryn lodge.





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