Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Meet the People - 48
Another in the Series Meet the People - Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things - Penny How knows all about the benefits of life in the country. She and her husband, Bert, set up and run Peel Forest Lodge on the edge of Peel Forest, in South Canterbury. It's the sort of peaceful, unhurried setting that city-dwellers would pay millions for - not that the How's lifestyle is 'unhurried' exactly, because in addition to running the lodge, they also farm deer and run a horse-trekking business from their home-property, just down the road from the lodge.
Peel Forest Lodge is the ultimate 'secret hideaway' - a large, beautifully-made, 3-bedroomed log cabin (with sleep-out), completely surrounded by a thick stand of native bush that guarantees privacy. No one would ever know you were there. Giant totara and kahikatea tres dot the front lawn and lodge views encompass grazing deer herds and the bush-clad mountains beyond.
Bert built the lodge himself, from giant Douglas fir trees milled on the neighbouring property; and inside he's paid particular attention to creating a comfortable, restful mood that encourages guests to forget about their 'real lives.' The lodge is there for anyone - from large wedding parties to holidaying New Zealanders looking for time out - but Bert and Penny's main business is international hunting parties.
"We pick them up from Christchurch Airport, provide them with a hunting guide and they head off into the Southern Alps," says Penny. Penny prepares all meals for guests in the lodge's smart timber kitchen (unless they opt for self-catering) and wet, weary hunters come home from the bush to find home-cooked salmon, venison and rack of lamb dinners. For those not interested in hunting, the lodge is the perfect 'secret' base for a South Canterbury holiday (August through February), and it's close to white-water rafting, kayaking, horse-riding and plenty of great walks and picnic spots - and to Geraldine. It is in fact, just another 'unsung hero' in the rural New Zealand hospitality stakes. www.peelforestlodge.co.nz