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Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef, New Zealand

by Gaycation Magazine

Te Waonui Forest Retreat

The splendid Franz Josef Glacier is world renowned as the gem of New Zealand’s West Coast Glaciers. This region gives you the opportunity to experience the most spectacular glacier environment available to the general public anywhere in the world, with a wide range of glacier hiking tours to suit all levels of fitness and ability. The Franz Josef Glacier receives many more hours of direct sunlight throughout the year meaning there is more time to enjoy the spectacular scenery.

Reception Area

The Te Waonui Forest Retreat is a stunning, unique lodge-style hotel surrounded by native rainforest on New Zealand’s beautiful West Coast. Nestled between the mountains and the sea with the glaciers just minutes away, this exclusive retreat offers an experience you simply won’t find anywhere else in the world. It is an exclusive luxury hotel located at the heart of Franz Josef Glacier. A haven from the city rush, a foray into New Zealand’s pristine wilderness—this is truly a place to relax and refresh. All the focus has been on creating a healthy, environmentally safe habitat to maximise guests’ well being. With a natural, earthy ambiance and attentive service, there’s no better place to take a deep breath and simply unwind. Every aspect of the 5 star Qualmark rated Retreat has been crafted to an impeccable standard. From deluxe soundproofing technology between rooms to the five-course menu featuring local cuisine, every detail you can imagine has been thought out and applied.

Entrance To Frond Bar

Encircled by native bush, it’s only natural to find this retreat at the cutting edge of sustainable accommodation. Natural lighting is abundant, building materials have been chosen to minimise environmental impact, and the Retreat’s carbon footprint is reduced with energy efficient design. Furniture and fittings incorporate natural wool carpets, organic cotton bedspreads, and even possum skin cushioning, in-keeping with the character of the region. The sustainable, eco-friendly feel is enhanced by soft timbered detailing, natural colour schemes, and recycled local materials to make the hotel at one with its magical surroundings.

Luxuriously appointed guest rooms are generously proportioned and feature the highest standard of amenities, such as a personal pillow menu, natural wool mattress underlay, and high speed internet access. Guests can enjoy dining among the trees in The Canopy Restaurant, savouring quality local cuisine. The building itself features innovative, environmentally sustainable architecture.

Canopy Restaurant

Situated on the ground floor of the main public building, directly inside from the covered vehicle unloading bay, is the 24-hour hotel reception. Guests are greeted by a friendly attentive front office team ensuring they feel secure and cared for during their stay. Within this facility you will find twin check-in desks for independent travellers, a designated tour check-in area, local activity desk, comfortable seating area, and elevator access to the restaurant and first floor guest rooms. Other guest services are on offer to enhance the travellers’ experience. These include, valet parking by the hotel concierge, two complimentary guest laundries, easily accessible ice machines for in-room self made beverages, and 24-hour room service.

Comfortable Common Areas

An extensive range of in-room features and facilities have been provided to maximise guest comfort:

  • Heat pump temperature control system
  • Luxurious bed linen
  • Pillow menu
  • Private balcony or courtyard
  • Electronic security key system
  • In-room safe for personal use
  • Entertainment suite including
  • LCD TV with movies and music options
  • High speed Internet access
  • Personal beverage selection including teas, coffee and mini-bar

Te Waonui Forest Retreat is conveniently situated right next to the Franz Josef Hot Pools and is surrounded by some of the most stunning natural landscapes to be found in New Zealand—which you can either admire as you unwind or explore in more active pursuits.

Spacious Luxurious Rooms

If you do feel like venturing out then here is a selection of what’s on offer in the surrounding region:

  • Walking & trekking
  • Native bird watching
  • Fishing
  • Jet boating
  • Horse trekking
  • Eco tours
  • Rafting
  • Quad bike tours
  • Off road driving adventures
  • Helicopter & light aircraft flights
  • Glacier hot pools
  • Nearby White Heron (Kotuku) colony
  • Hukawai Glacier Centre
  • Department of Conservation Visitor Centre
  • Enjoy one of New Zealand’s most famous postcard views, the dark waters of Lake Matheson (west of Fox Glacier township) which  provides a picture-perfect reflection of the southern alps beyond.

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