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There can’t be too many places in the world where you find yourself in almost complete isolation within the splendor of nature while being surrounded by all the modern comforts and small touches of luxury.
This is the beautiful reality of Raetihi Lodge, nestled at the base of a fern-lined gully on the peaceful shores of the scenic Kenepuru Sound within the Marlborough Sounds.
From the friendly, small and laid-back lodge, the only sounds guests are likely to hear are the calls of the bellbirds and tui, along with the soft swish of calm waters lapping the pebbled shores and perhaps a passing boat.
This is because Raetihi Lodge is surrounded by 50 acres of private, pristine Marlborough Sounds native bush, creating a feeling of utter peace and providing rare uninterrupted views of untouched nature.
Here, guests can walk straight off the beach and onto the deck of their suite, stopping only to kick off wet shoes before walking inside.
Part of the joy of visiting Raetihi Lodge is the journey to get there. One particularly good way to see the best of the Sounds on the way is to hop onto a Greenshell Mussel cruise, which depart daily in summer.
Along the way, the boat moors up to one of the many mussel farms which dot the Marlborough Sounds. This is a chance to learn about the green shell mussel farming industry, the largest of our aquaculture exports and a species unique to New Zealand. It’s also a chance to sample this unique species in the form of hot, steaming bowls of mussels matched perfectly with another of Marlborough’s famous exports, Sauvignon Blanc.
You could also take a Link Transfer tour to Raetihi Lodge; a sumptuous full day tour which includes a wine tour in the morning, waterfront lunch and seafood cruise, with drop off at the lodge.
With just 14 rooms, Raetihi Lodge can accommodate 31 people and is large enough to cater for mid-size conferences and weddings but small enough to ensure a personal and intimate experience.
Given its central location within the Marlborough Sounds, Raetihi is also the perfect base for an active break away, taking in all the Marlborough Sounds has to offer.
Fishing, boating, paddle-boarding, kayaking, golfing, hiking, biking, cruises and guided tours can all be organised from Raetihi Lodge, with a range of equipment available complimentary to guests – as well as a pampering massages to balance out all that activity.
As the massage suggests, the lodge is equally well-equipped for a more sedate kind of holiday. Its homely lounge comes complete with comfortable sofas plus, a media room and a huge collection of board games and books. Wireless is available throughout the lodge.
You could very well choose not to leave your room; Each airy, spacious suite with king-size bed and ensuite has its own secluded outdoor area.
However, the temptation of a scrumptious meal may tempt you out of your suite and onto the alfresco deck and lawn, where three-course dinners, long lunches or simply a rich flat white are served within meters of the tranquil water’s edge. Once a month, live musicians make the scene even more special.
Dining is informal yet elegant with fresh local food and wines. For larger groups, the chefs fire up the huge barbecue and cook up the sumptuous seafood and wild game which the Marlborough region is famous for.
Raetihi’s indoor bar and dining area also capture the views, with full length folding doors leading out onto the deck; the perfect place for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc while watching another magical Marlborough sunset, followed by breakfast the next day with the tui.
Raetihi Lodge began as a guest house for holiday makers in 1931, but has changed hands many times since. A fire in 2000 devastated the lodge, but it was rebuilt and now has a fresh, modern yet relaxed appeal, synonymous with the quintessential kiwi bach.
What hasn’t changed is its magical location, and part of the joy of visiting Raetihi Lodge is the journey to get there. A myriad of options are available to guests, including road, air and sea.
For your return trip you could take a water taxi back to Havelock. Or a popular, and certainly the quickest, option is to take a charter plane, float plane or helicopter to Picton, Koromiko, Nelson, Blenheim or even Wellington airports from Raetihi’s private helipad or nearby Nopera Airstrip.
With all the fun, adventure and romance of the Marlborough Sounds, Raetihi Lodge is a place to embrace seclusion and totally get away from it all - without giving up the comforts of home.
Contact Marlborough Tour Company to organize getting to and from Raetihi Lodge - Email: email@example.com or phone: 0800 99 0800.