Time of year: September 2016
Purpose of trip: This was a one night stopover on our drive up through South Island, during our round the world trip.
Why we chose this place: This accommodation was actually chosen for us by the travel agent who fixed the New Zealand leg of our 57 day trip round the world. But we would have jumped at the chance to stay here if we’d researched this ourselves.
How long we stayed: One night.
Our accommodation: This is a detached, lodge style house down a long, gravel drive off the main street in Murchison. It has four double guest bedrooms and one single. Ours was a large, superior double, in keeping with the lodge style, with a high, timbered, vaulted ceiling. There were comfortable wicker chairs and a coffee table placed by full length windows, leading to a balcony and stunning field and mountain views. The room, along with the rest of the property, was immaculately decorated and extremely comfortable, with ample hanging space and drawers, and a beautiful, contemporary shower room. As this was an uncharacteristically quiet time for the property, we were the only guests, meaning we had full and sole access to the beautiful lounge area downstairs, with roaring woodburner, guest fridge (well stocked, with an honesty tab!). There was free wifi.
Service: Co-owner Steve McDonald was there to greet us with tea and cookies (Rosemary was away on a short trip while we were there.) He was very friendly and helpful with information about the area, made sure the woodburner was well stocked, and that we had everything we needed. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting to him.
Location: Murchison is one of a number of similar, small towns that you are likely to encounter on the popular drive on the main route through New Zealand’s South Island. It is quiet and unassuming town, but has a close and friendly community. The Lodge is on Grey Street, just a few minutes walk from the main road through town.
Food: Dinner was not provided at The Lodge, so we ate out at a local pub. But breakfast was discussed with Steve the night before–a full range of continental and cooked options were available, and Steve rustled up a delicious hot breakfast in line with our wishes, along with fruit juice, tea and coffee.
What we paid: Because this leg of our trip was part of a full New Zealand package booked by a travel agent, we’re unsure of the rate but we understand that a night in the room we had (a superior double) would be a little over NZ$200 at this time of year.
Activities close by: Murchison itself is quiet, but the Lodge is within easy range of some key South Island destinations, such as the West Coast (via Buller Gorge), Nelson Lakes, Blenheim Vineyards, Hanmer Springs and Marlborough Sounds.
What empty nesters might really like about this place: Murchison Lodge is within moments of the highway through South Island (a very quiet route, despite its name), and an ideal stopping place for a driving tour through this beautiful region, or as an excellent base to explore nearby attractions, fishing reaches and breathtaking countryside.
What empty nesters might not be so keen on: While Murchison boasts a number of local eateries, there was just one within easy walking distance that was open on the evening we were there (normally there are at least two). The service was fast and friendly, and while the menu was varied; with dishes offered as takeaways or meals to eat in, it was pretty basic fare.
We did our New Zealand adventure independently as part of a round the world trip. If escorted tours are more your thing, this trip with Titan Tours covers a similar itinerary: