• Donna Thomas CTC, 118 South Bellevue Avenue, Langhorne Borough Pa 19047
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16 Years as Travel and Leisure Magazine Top Travel Expert for New Zealand and Australia

Travel and Leisure says: "Donna Thomas has explored many corners of North and South Islands in search of hidden gems. She can help birdwatchers see the endangered yellow-eyed penguin or send avid trekkers on guided hikes to secret waterfalls in Paparoa National Park."


Wharekauhau Lodge - Wairarapa

Wharekauhau Lodge is recognised as one of the world’s exclusive retreats based on a 5000 acre working sheep station overlooking the spectacular Palliser Bay in the Wairarapa region of New Zealand. The Lodge is the heart of Wharekauhau. Modelled on an Edwardian country mansion, the Lodge was designed by Queenstown Architect Fred van Brandenburg, and it is here that guests dine and mingle.

In the Grand Hall, huge mullioned windows frame views of awe inspiring beauty and massive fireplaces recapture the grandeur of yester-year. Expansive sofas and deep armchairs are dotted around the living room and hall, inviting guests to pause for conversation, a quiet glass of fine wine, or to take up a good book.

Come evening, guests gather in the living room for aperitifs, before moving to the dining room, where elegantly decked tables promise a feast to remember.

The Lodge is imbued with a warmth and character seldom found in a modern hotel. The fine design, sumptuous furnishings, exquisite tableware and outstanding cuisine all combine to satisfy the senses. Luxury accommodation at Wharekauhau is provided in self-contained cottages. Designed for privacy and comfort, they are perfect for honeymooners. Dotted throughout the estate, the cottages house Wharekauhau’s guest suites and offer superb ocean views.

Natural materials are used throughout the guest suites, including clay tiles, pebble mosaics, plastered walls, rich New Zealand wool carpeting, cotton bed linen and hemp curtains. Each suite has a super king sized four poster bed, open fireplace, under floor heating, deep sofas, a fully stocked bar, and dressing room with full length mirror.

Ten minutes by air from Wellington and ninety minutes by road Wharekauhau is framed by the Rimutaka Ranges to the west and Palliser Bay to the east. With private native forest, spectacular beaches, rivers, lakes and wetlands, Wharekauhau is a haven from the outside world. Fly from Wharekauhau and head north west over the Rimutaka ranges to the west coast of the lower North Island to the championship Paraparaumu Golf Course on the Kapiti Coast.

Paraparaumu Beach Links is rated as the best course in the country and, because of its qualities as a traditional links, ranks 79th in the world. Links golf is unlike that played on inland courses. The well drained undulating fairways, fierce rough, fast greens and intimidating bunkers combine with the naturally windy coastal weather to create a truly challenging golfing experience. Graphite-shafted clubs, green fees, golf cart and shoes are all provided. There are heli-tours to Nelson, Marlborough and Kaikoura to take in the amazing sites of Able Tasman National Park, the Marlborough Sounds, or to be up close with the whales and dolphins. Fly into the world famous bird sanctuary of Kapiti Island off the North Island’s west coast. Wildlife and history are alive on this island, where guests can walk among flocks of native wood pigeons and rare takahe birds. Wharekauhau Country Estate offers guests activities to suit all tastes. Whether you’re feeling adventurous, or in need of a rest, at Wharekauhau the choice is yours: sit back and savour the tranquillity, or take on the great New Zealand outdoors.

If you wish to stretch your legs, take to a hiking trail through Wharekauhau’s 5000 acres, encompassing native forest, idyllic lakes and rivers, farm land, and the breathtaking South Wairarapa coast. For guests seeking an adrenalin rush, they offer a four wheel drive safari, horse trekking, and trap shooting on their private clay field, set in spectacular rural terrain. There is archery and jet boating available and Quad Bike, four wheel motor cycle, is great fun and can be ridden by anyone with a taste for adventure. Accompanied by an experienced guide you can explore Wharekauhau’s black sand beaches, river banks and pasture land with the wind in your hair. Many guests take the opportunity to visit the renowned Martinborough wine growing region, an easy drive from Wharekauhau. Martinborough's wines are internationally acclaimed, particularly its Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Why not have lunch in the vineyard cafe at Murdoch James Estate or check out the boutique stores and galleries in the area?

Or, simply stay put, and let Wharekauhau’s own facilities keep you amused. The Lodge offers gentle activities such as croquet, petanque and backgammon. Or you can work out in the fully equipped gymnasium, take in some laps of the heated indoor pool, or play a few sets on the astro-turf tennis court.

Taking advantage of the Spa can be the perfect way to ease aching muscles and stiff joints after a long flight or car journey, to prevent stiffness after a horse back ride or quad bike adventure, to rehydrate skin from the drying effects of the New Zealand sun, or to just pamper yourself and enhance that feeling of relaxation and well-being that is such a part of the Wharekauhau experience.  

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