Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki was set up in 1989 by conservationists Anne Saunders and Dr Gerry McSweeney in response to plans for further destructive logging in the region. As Conservation Director of the Forest and Bird Society, Gerry successfully argued that allowing tourists to enjoy the beauty of the area would be a more sustainable option for supporting local communities, and caring for the important flora and fauna of the coastline.
The family-run lodge lies within wonderful wilderness, and several days can easily be spent exploring the rainforest and lake grounds independently with the help of trail maps and walk notes, and opting for some of the complimentary or additional activities on offer such as kayaking, hiking and fishing.
As a result of living remotely, and in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, electricity is generated on-site by a hydro-electric turbine, food scraps are saved to feed to their pigs, and there is a guest recycling station too.
The lodge has a fascinating history, being the site of the original workers camp for the final section of the Haast Highway construction, completed in 1969, as the display in the lounge, formerly site of the illegal Red Dog Saloon, explains. Today, a range of comfortable rooms are on offer throughout the peaceful grounds, all designed to make the most of their views. A sumptuous three course evening meal, and extensive breakfast are included, with a well-stocked bar and library too, and lunches can also be arranged.
What our travellers love about staying here…
- Kayaking from their doorstep: the lake and its offshoots are home to black swans, giant eels, brown trout, and a number of deserted beaches, and framed by fantastic views of the Southern Alps
- Sitting by a roaring fire listening to one of the evening talks from Gerry, who has a wealth of knowledge about New Zealand’s wildlife, and hearing more about the organisations he works with in order to protect these species
- Visiting the rare Tawaki (Fiordland Crested Penguin) colony at nearby Monro Beach (in season)