There are many reasons to love New Zealand’s South Island, including Wanaka Homestead Lodge & Cottages. We recently stayed here for six nights — a long stay by our standards since we usually prefer to move about and see as much of a region as possible. However, the location of Wanaka Homestead proved an ideal base camp for our outings to Treble Cone, Cardrona, Arrowtown and Queenstown. Returning here each evening to relax by the fire was the perfect way to end each day.

Ed and Carol, along with their darling doggie Douglas, manage the homestead and welcomed us with open arms. Each day began with a homemade breakfast around the communal table — a great way to get to know fellow guests and learn about their adventures, since the South Island is loaded with options. The great room within the lodge offered a place to relax, watch a movie or dine in with a wood-fired pizza from Francesca’s. Our room upstairs — the West room — was spacious and comfortable with fast wifi and an en suite bathroom. Wanaka Homestead has numerous cottages as well — rooms accessed from outside that are just a few steps from the main lodge.

As it’s winter down south, we dined indoors but the outdoor fireplace, barbecue and eating area looked very inviting for warmer weather. A hot tub, laundry facility and secure ski storage shed are also on property. Wanaka Homestead is adjacent to a historic park with wide trails along the lake shore — perfect for walking or biking. All of these amenities and conveniences made this place feel truly like we were staying at a home, not a hotel.

Nearby Arrowtown is charming, and Queenstown offers the hustle and bustle of an active mountain community with great dining options. Yet if you long for a quieter place with a more relaxed pace, Wanaka delivers. Just ring up Ed and Carol, give them some notice and they’ll stoke the fire for your arrival. Perfect.

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