Lochmara Lodge – A Wildlife Experience
15 minutes by boat from Picton into the Marlborough Sounds is a quiet and peaceful natural world but in this case all the personal pleasures thrown in.
As I stepped out onto the pier I was startled by a pukeko waddling up to me as my greeting host along with several Lochmara Lodge staff all with welcoming grins.
Puke, as the pet pukeko is affectionately called, required a scratch around its head and then escorted me along the pier. A few more steps up the path to the lodge and a weka popped out of the bush to have a look at me. The path was lined with plants covered with bellbirds and assorted other birds. Quite obviously I had stepped into a real wildlife sanctuary but one that contained a fabulous lodge that offered quality accommodation and great dining. All this only a fifteen minute boat ride from Picton into the Marlborough Sounds.
I was here to check out Lochmara Lodge that had just won the Department of Conservation’s Conservation in Action category at the Tourism Industry Awards. An award greatly appreciated by owners Shayne Olsen and Louise Bright who have spent the past thirteen years transforming their original backpackers into this fourteen chalet lodge that is the central attraction in the wildlife recovery centre they have developed.
The lodge itself was a finalist in the Small/Medium Attraction and Activity category for all the quality it offers its guests.
In addition to the lodge and the wildlife conservation they are extremely active with providing an Art Centre with resident artists on location along with a myriad of at work throughout the complex and along the many paths they have developed through the four and a half hectares of natural bush surrounding the lodge. There is also a hammock
heaven to stop and enjoy, an art studio, the Wildlife Recovery Centre with kararika, weka, weta, gecko and much more. My favourite is Crumpy’s Camp a replica of an old bushman’s cabin and camp Shayne and crew created deep in the bush. You expect someone to offer you a billy tea.
The lodge interior is also full of art for sale. It is these sales that help fund The Wildlife Recovery Centre so there is a very integral style here unique to any other lodge.
Even though it provides quality accommodation and a great restaurant the art work one discovers here is quite spectacular.
If you are staying here one of the magical treats besides the fabulous food is the opportunity to have a relaxing massage and a hot soak bath overlooking the bush with wine in hand.
Another very unique aspect of Lochmara Lodge is it is just a two hour jaunt from Mistletoe Bay on the Queen Charlotte Track and a favourite stopping spot for trampers. Can you imagine doing the tramp along the beautiful Queen Charlotte Track and dropping down into the Talk about luxury tramping.
So through the efforts of Shayne and Louise and dedicated crew with their personal love of the outdoors wildlife conservation has been accomplished and shared with like minded individuals who enjoy the luxury of a very quality place waking up in the morning to the sound of bird song and the opportunity to look out across the placid waters of the Marlborough Sounds far removed from the every day world. Imagine no TV!!! And no traffic!! Pure bliss to the nature and art lover…
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