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Wood Pigeon Lodge, Raurimu National Park, New Zealand

by Gaycation Magazine

Just twenty minutes to Whakapapa skifield and twenty-five minutes to the start of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Wood Pigeon Lodge is an ideal base for all local summer and winter activities in the Tongariro World Heritage and Whanganui River areas. In this natural setting you can wake to the sound of tui and bellbirds from the private bush and neighbouring conservation reserve. It is quiet and secluded with volcano, rural, and Raurimu Spiral views.

The Barn

The Barn

The nearby Raurimu Spiral is a single-track railway spiral, starting with a horseshoe curve, overcoming a 132 m height difference on the North Island Main Trunk Railway. It is a notable feat of civil engineering, having been called an ‘engineering masterpiece’. The Institute of Professional Engineers (NZ) has designated the spiral as a significant Engineering heritage site. Established in 1887, Tongariro was the first national park in New Zealand and the fourth in the world. It is also a dual World Heritage area, a status which recognises the park’s important Maori cultural and spiritual associations as well as its outstanding volcanic features.

Rustic Surroundings

Rustic Surroundings

Wood Pigeon Lodge is a great destination all year round for skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, walking including the Tongariro Crossing, kayaking, rafting and sightseeing. They offer two delightfully rustic accommodation options called the Barn and The Hut; both are unique, cosy and have spectacular views.

The Barn is located well away from Top Mill Road, which is a quiet ‘no exit’ road, therefore giving guests privacy and comfort. You will feel like you are away from it all and free to enjoy the privacy of the bush garden with the birds that abound, including the native wood pigeon which gives the business its name. The smaller accommodation unit is The Hut. It has stunning views of all three volcanoes (Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu) and is also set in a peaceful, rural environment but is still just minutes from the cafés, bars, and ski-rentals of Raurimu and National Park villages.

The large accommodation unit is a converted barn on four levels. The Barn sleeps eight in comfort, although can accommodate eleven. When you book The Barn, the whole building is yours; no other guests will be sharing your facilities. On arrival, your beds will already be made, with linen and towels supplied. A wood-stove warmly heats The Barn’s open-plan design. It has all facilities, including: a lounge with TV, stereo and DVD player; a kitchen with a full-sized oven, microwave, fridge – although you may prefer to use the barbecue on the deck; a bathroom; a drying room and clothes drying rack and a washing machine, with soap powder supplied. All firewood is supplied. There are two mountain bikes with helmets which guests are free to use.

Spacious Kitchen

Spacious Kitchen

The Hut is styled like a back country shepherds’ hut, with one main room and an attached bathroom. It sleeps two in comfort, with a maximum of four. On arrival, your beds will already be made, with linen and towels supplied. A wood-stove warmly heats The Hut. The stove can also be used for cooking, although The Hut also has a full-sized oven, microwave oven, and a barbeque on the deck (as well as a fridge). All firewood is supplied. There are two mountain bikes with helmets which are available for guest use. The Hut is appointed to make the most of the spectacular views of the surrounding farmland, bush, and volcanoes. You can relax on the deck, kick back with a drink and a book and ponder if you ever need to return home. Soak up the view, watch for the low-flying wood pigeon and then top up that drink before retiring inside for a warm romantic night indoors.

The Hut

The Hut

There are many activities to keep you busy during your stay in the area. Experience world-class walks and tramps—from twenty minutes to five days long—including the very popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing known as “The best one-day walk in New Zealand”. You can ski or snowboard New Zealand’s largest ski area, canoe or raft down the historic Whanganui River as well as the mighty Tongariro and Whakapapa , visit the Bridge to Nowhere, fish for trout in the world-famous Tongariro and  Whakapapa rivers, as well as the not so well-known Manganui-o-te-Ao, Waimarino, Ongarue and Retaruke rivers. You can hunt deer in the neighbouring forest, or mountain bike the many tracks that dissect the local area, bird watch the many endemic species, train spot on the neighbouring Raurimu Spiral and photograph to your heart’s content. There are hot pools, golf courses, scenic flights, jet-boat trips, bungy jumps, waterfalls, volcanic thermal areas, caves and cafés—or you can just stay put with a good book and relax.

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