Vacationing in the Wilderness

By: Phoenix Delray

For a unique New Zealand Vacation destination, Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki stands out above the rest. Owner Gerry McSweeny, a biologist who also heads the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, created the lodge together with his wife Anne.

When we established the lodge in 1989, says McSweeny, the immediate concern was to create jobs with ecotourism as an alternative to the timber industry, which was logging 1,000 year old podocarp trees. Now weve moved on to other conservation efforts.

The lodge, located in the lakeside clearing in the historic podocarp forest, is run entirely on hydroelectric power courtesy of the nearby Moerkai Rapids. Guests can enjoy guided treks to the Tasman Sea coast, to view fur seals and Fiordland penguins, take a canoe ride along Lake Moeraki and hike the nearby trails.

The neighboring Te Wahi Pounamu Reserve makes up more than 10% of the total landmass of the country, and is the perfect place for an eco friendly New Zealand vacation. These days, going green is all the rage, and what better place to do so than at one of New Zealands premier eco tourism destinations.

With 24 new Rainforest Rooms, each with private facilities, the lodge itself is the pinnacle of eco luxury. The forests, mountains, rivers, and wildlife around and within Lake Moeraki are protected as property of the South West New Zealand Te Wahi Pounamu World Heritage site, and offer visitors a myriad of sights to see and experiences to enjoy.

The Monro walk, a four hour trek in an exotic rainforest, is perfect for do-it-yourself naturalists and eco adventurers. On the way, the Giant Rimu lookout, with its breathtaking and picturesque views is not to be missed. There are also shorter walks to the Paringa historic cattle track, the Hapuka estuary, and the Cascade Valley glaciers.

Where can you explore a rainforest, view penguins and seals in their natural habitat, explore the cultural origins of the Maori tribe, hike a canyon to a waterfall, and so much more?

New Zealand, of course, and the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki is the perfect place to begin. Book your trip early, as the lodge does tend to fill up fast, particularly during the peak tourist season. Your travel agent will be able to assist you with all of the final details of the planning the perfect New Zealand vacation, and help you chose the itinerary that is perfect for you, so make sure to avail yourself of their expert opinions when it comes to travel.

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