Welcome to Grasmere Lodge

Grasmere Lodge — where luxury and natural splendour come together in the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, to form what one international guest described as “a whole other world of peacefulness & serenity.”  Grasmere Lodge is tucked away in the heart of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, an approximately 90 minutes drive from Christchurch city in the glorious South Island of New Zealand.

Built in 1858, the original limestone homestead, now the core of the lodge, introduces you to the style of personal pampering that earned the Harper’s Hideaway Report Grand Award in 1998.

At the same time this traditional New Zealand high country station (ranch), set amid towering 7000 ft peaks, provides a wide range of outdoor activities for those seeking a more adventurous interlude.

Grasmere Lodge also offers a richness of traditional New Zealand hospitality. Owner, Tom Butler, and his staff epitomise New Zealand friendliness and generosity of spirit. Together they take great delight in sharing the magic of Grasmere with their guests.

Every exclusive New Zealand lodge is unique; each offers something entirely different in both setting and accommodation style.  It is futile to say that one is better than the other – that would be comparing apples with pears – but it is fair to say that Grasmere Lodge does have an indefinable quality that isn’t replicated anywhere else in New Zealand.

By virtue of its dramatic location near Arthurs Pass, its ever-changing climate and its unashamed emphasis on quality and quiet comfort, Grasmere will always be an unparalleled experience.

It is a proud member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, the Lodge Association of New Zealand, and Select Hotels and Resorts.

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Experiencing the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand

from Rebekah

It was a fantastic trip!  Only the weather could have been improved.

Accommodations were lovely. Amber Court stood out for their personal attention. The Napier hotel gave us a fabulous corner room with a view of the beach on two sides. There was some electrical problem in the room, but we weren’t there long enough for it to be much of an inconvenience. The Wanganui hotel was very nice, also. The US Rugby team had stayed there for 10 days and was scheduled to return the night we stayed, but changed plans. Too bad.

Napier, New Zealand

The side trip to Napier was worth the long drive (from the one who didn’t drive the long curving route for 12 hours total on the unaccustomed side of the road). A detour over the mountain in the middle of a HUGE wind farm was interesting, but really not too much of a thrill. There had been a rock slide on the gorge route, which from the name I assume was probably not a better drive. Napier is lovely, and the wine tour was fun.

Mission Estate Vineyard

We enjoyed the Mission Winery visit and the Churchill Winery tour that we did independently for the individual attention from the “duty managers”. Grape Escape was fun, for the added camaraderie of the group. Our final conclusion is that, except for a syrah from Churchill and a port from each of two wineries on the tour (Moana Park and Crossroads), the whites were by far our favorite find. The winery buildings were a study in repurposing of structures, as was all of Napier. An old mission and former horse farm were transformed beautifully to winery use. The Napier trust buildings were a study in what can happen with a dedicated group effort to convert a community. It was surprising how many buildings throughout the town recreated the art deco theme.

Everywhere we encountered delightful people. This started with our first flight on Air NZ, where everyone accommodated us well for the long flight. As mentioned earlier, we became fast friends with Sandy and Carolyn at Amber court. We met Trevor at Newport through his wife who was security guard at the museum/ library. He took us to his social club, to watch opening ceremonies and the opening game on a big screen TV, while we had dinner with him and his friends. Designated volunteer ambassadors on the streets helped us find what we needed in town. A WWII vet started a conversation with us on the street at Napier. We met the author of a book on reclamation of Napier after the earthquake, as we were deciding to purchase the book. The manager at the Mission winery was particularly friendly. Our companions on the wine tour were a very congenial group—a Brit, a South African, a Welch couple and us.

New Plymouth, New Zealand

The rugby game venue in New Plymouth was well managed, unlike reports we read about the venue in Auckland. New Plymouth was undoubtedly smaller, and as people accustomed to UT football, we knew what a big game meant inside and outside the stadium.

As an observation, we found prices of everything to be quite high. Gasoline by the liter translated to about $8 per gallon—in an island that has been producing oil since the mid 1800’s!! Mac Donald’s burger, fries and coke was $15, just for familiar reference. And tax was 15%, rounded up. Hooray for not having to count nickels and pennies!!

We appreciate your help and your tips, putting this great package together so quickly.

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From Allen & Melissa in Tennessee

When we contacted Susan with Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel about planning a two-week New Zealand vacation, we had a number of cities on both the North and South Islands that we wished to visit as well as a laundry list of activities we wanted to try but no knowledge on how to schedule and link them into a seamless trip. Susan visited with us in our home and truly listened to our main vacation must-sees and –dos. She even bolstered our wavering confidence when we shared that we had contempleated bungy jumping in our forties. (There is nothing more fun than the bungy bounce after the free fall!) Then, tailoring the travel itinerary to our time and budget limits, she crafted a full vacation plan that allowed us to do the things we most wanted while not leaving us breathless and cranky from continual rushing.

New Zealand is simply breathtaking! Such a beautifully green landscape, dotted with majestic mountains, gently grazing sheep, and very warm, welcoming citizens. The Milford Track, a five-day guided hike through the world heritage fiordland area in the South Island, was the pinnacle of our trip. In addition to the stunning beauty that greets you with each stone-studded step of the hike, you can literally drink out of the flowing, untreated rivers and streams. It is the outdoor experience of a lifetime, and New Zealand is assuredly the emerald gem of the Southern Hemisphere. Thank you, Susan, for making possible these great memories!

Allen & Melissa, Tennessee

Escort Your Own Group to New Zealand

Wuld you like to escort your own group to New Zealand?

Groups with a common interest often enjoy travelling together – we can put together a customized, private tour group for wine lowers (touring a selection of wineries throughout New Zealand), whale watchers, or golf enthuiasts.  Or how about a group of adventure-adrenalin junkies?  Lord of the Rings fans?   Groups can be found just about anywhere!  The only limitation is your imagination.

You can also escort your group onboard a cruise.  You can pick from one of our group cruises, or pick another ship & itinerary and we can arrange group fares & amenities for your private group.

After travel is completed, group leaders are reimbursed for their travel based on the number of people that travel in their group (land or cruise). 

If you have an idea for a group (cruise or land based) that you would like to escort, email us (info@shipsntripstravel.com) to schedule an appointment to discuss your proposal.  We will discuss what you need in order to have a successful group, and what we can do to help you.

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CNN Says New Zealand is the Place to be

New Zealand has been named the second best place to be by in 2011 by the global broadcasting network CNN.

CNN, which consulted Lonely Planet US editor Robert Reid, guidebook creator Pauline Frommer and travel firm executive Martin Rapp, said the Rugby World Cup was adding excitement to an already popular destination.

“Wellington, which brands itself as the ‘coolest little capital in the world’, will host some of the activities and hopes to attract fans who want to explore other parts of the country,” CNN reported.

It quoted Reid as saying Wellington was “a great kind of springboard” and that he was planning a visit and determined to learn the haka.

CNN said the film industry was thriving in New Zealand, referring to Sir Peter Jackson’s latest work on The Hobbit and his success with The Lord of the Rings.

The network said Rapp also recommended New Zealand for its “most fantastically luxurious lodges”, including The Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawkes Bay, Huka Lodge near Taupo and Otahuna Lodge in Canterbury.

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Otahuna Lodge Re-Opens

Otahuna Lodge has re-opened its doors and extends a very warm welcome to its first guests four months after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Canterbury, New Zealand.

The earthquake restoration programme of 115-year-old Otahuna is thus far the most advanced undertaken to any heritage building in the wider Canterbury region.  A daily average of more than 40 tradesmen, engineers and architects have been working onsite since September, focusing on roof repairs, seismic strengthening and the re-creation – in both brick and lightweight construction – of Otahuna’s eleven Victorian stepped chimneys.

“Our goal in rebuilding the chimneys in such a fashion was of course to recreate the original architectural whimsy of their respective profiles,” says Managing Director Hall Cannon, “while also recording the effects of such a major event on the building’s celebrated history.  Our vision for Otahuna has always been for the property to shine as an example of how careful architectural conservation can enrich a contemporary environment.” 

All of Otahuna’s 15 wood-burning fireplaces, including 8 in the Lodge’s suites, have been restored to their previous condition. 

“The team is thrilled to be resuming normal operations and looking after our guests as before,” says Cannon.  “We would like to thank our guests too, many of whom have postponed their holiday in order to be able to include a stay at Otahuna after our 10th January re-opening.”

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New Zealand Hotels on Travel & Leisure’s 500 World’s Best Hotels for 2010

Travel & Leisure has released their 2010 list of the world’s top 500 best hotels, including five in New Zealand:

  • Westin Auckland Lighter Quay (Auckland)
  • The George (Christchurch)
  • The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs (Matauri Bay) – in the top 25!
  • Huka Lodge (Taupo)
  • Farm at Cape Kidnappers (Te Awanga) – in the top 25!

Click here to see the full list.

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Cape Kidnappers Luxury Lodge

Kauri Cliffs Luxury Lodge

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