Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge
In the heart of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage
Area...where the Tasman Sea meets ancient rainforest.
...Spectacular beaches, home to fur seals and crested penguins, untouched lowland rainforests spread between pristine lakes and rivers which drain the snow capped Southern Alps.
Few places on earth can match the unique natural setting of the Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki in the heart of the 2.7 million hectare South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, Te Wahipounamu (Maori translation: the place of greenstone jade).
You are invited to explore our rainforest trails, canoe on Lake Moeraki and join our nature guides on journeys of discovery in one of the most wild and natural places left on earth.
The Lodge is a paradise for nature lovers and for those wanting a relaxing retreat away from the pressures of the modern world. On arrival we give you a copy of our current activities programme, maps and information.
Forget your car for a couple of days, settle in and explore.
Food and Wine
Let yourself be spoilt in the Moeraki Riverside Restaurant...
Lawns sculptured down to the river's edge
where there are rising trout, water birds and stunning
reflections give the Riverside Restaurant and Moeraki
Lounge one of New Zealand's finest restaurant
Relax, enjoy a drink and savour great wilderness food - whitebait from the river, seafood from the coast, game from the forest and delicious fresh vegetables and fruit are our speciality.
Our wine cellar holds a selection of New Zealand's finest wines. Pinot Noirs from nearby Central Otago feature alongside crisp Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs and Hawke's Bay Syrahs. After a day of exploring the wilderness quench your thirst with a local West Coast beer.
Guests can choose to dine with others, a great chance to meet other travellers, share stories and gather ideas about what to tomorrow, or dine alone and soak up the atmosphere and river and rainforest views.
The Restaurant offers a 'table of the house' evening menu that changes daily and offers two choices per course. Vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements can be catered for - let us know in advance and we will prepare something special.
After dinner enjoy a fresh brewed tea or coffee in the Moeraki Lounge, browse the library and chat with fellow guests. Once darkness falls you may like to join a guide for a gentle stroll to see glow worms and southern stars (every second night).
Complimentary Nature Activities
Each day the Wilderness Lodge offers two complimentary guided nature activities...
Discover the diversity of the Moeraki Wilderness. The rainforests, lakes and rivers surrounding the Lodge provide a glimpse of what New Zealand would have looked like when the first Polynesians stepped ashore 800 years ago. Our short twice-daily nature activities are led by ecologist guides, offer a wonderful opportunity to sample the delights Moeraki has to offer and are included in the tariff.
See Tawaki Penguins on Wilderness Beaches
Tawaki, or Fiorldland Crested Penguins Eudyptes pachyrhynchus are the second rarest penguin species on the planet (behind the Galapagos penguin). Only in the southwest corner of New Zealand's South Island, particularly along the Moeraki coastline, can you see these special birds.
Tawaki penguins breed around Lake Moeraki between July and December 10th....
Their total population is estimated at 2,000 pairs with about 10% of these found around Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki. While they spend much of their lives navigating the oceans, far from land, they return each year to breed in dense coastal rainforest between July and December 10th.
Watching Tawaki penguins on Moeraki's wilderness beaches is a truely special experience, very different to seeing penguins in a zoo or on television. These are wild creatures and this is their realm. From the Wilderness Lodge walk by yourself to Monro Beach, or join a Wilderness Lodge nature guide to several secret, protected sites and watch these delightful birds cross the beach from the Tasman Sea to their rainforest nests. Under a special Conservation Department guiding licence, every breeding season since 1989 we have offered guided trips to view penguins.
We have 24 Rainforest Rooms and 4 more luxurious Riverview Rooms
- These rooms look out to lush West Coast rainforest.
- You can watch for birds right from your window.
- Each room has a private bathroom, tea & coffee making facilities, fresh fruit and flowers.
- Suitable for a couple or 2 adults with one child under 12 years sharing.
- Rooms with interconnecting doors are available for families.
- These are our premier rooms, perfect for those wanting to treat themselves to an extra level of comfort and style.
- They all have beautiful views down the Moeraki River Rapids and their own sun decks
- More spacious and luxurious with spa bathes and separate showers.
- They are perfect for a couple or 2 adults. They are not available for children.
Each day the Wilderness Lodge offers two complimentary guided nature activities...
Discover the diversity of the Moeraki Wilderness. The rainforests, lakes and rivers surrounding the Lodge provide a glimpse of what New Zealand would have looked like when the first polynesians stepped ashore 800 years ago. Our short twice-daily nature activities are led by ecologist guides, offer a wonderful opportunity to sample the delights Moeraki has to offer and are included in the tariff.
Some of our complimentary guided activities...
of the Rainforest - A Step Back in Time.
ancient rainforests, home to 1000 year old
trees and a myriad of lush ferns. Forest
giants like kahikatea tower up to 200 feet
high and perched in their uppermost branches
live lilies, orchids and delicate mosses.
The birdlife in these forests is impressive
thanks to comprehensive pest control. Watch
fantails and tomtits in the understory and
listen for the wing beat of the threatened
New Zealand pigeon. Your guide will bring
this magical world to life.
Ecology of the Moeraki River.
|Fed by an annual rainfall
of over three and a half metres (12 feet),
the waterways around the Lodge teem with
life. Discover the snails, shrimps and other
invertebrates that support a complex underwater
food web. Look for whitebait and brown trout
and feed the 'river monsters' of
the Moeraki River, giant friendly eels.
These top predators can grow to over six
feet long and live for 80 years. If you
are brave enough they will eat right from
on Tranquil Lake Moeraki.
|Our open kayaks are
very stable and perfect for beginners. Your
guide will provide instructions or, if you
are unsure, can tow your craft behind them.
The calm waters of Lake Moeraki are home
to black swans, grey ducks and many other
water birds. Take in the views of the upper
Moeraki Valley and spot cruising brown trout
in the clear lake waters. Without any noisy
engines all you will hear is native birdsong
and the gentle lap of water on the shore.
Morepork Owls & Stars of the Southern
|An easy after dinner
walk to discover the sights and sounds of
rainforest after dark. Spot the gentle blue
lights of glowworms amongst the ferns and
listen for the clear notes of the the morepork,
New Zealand's only surviving native
owl Stargazers are in for a treat under
the clear Moeraki sky. With no other habitations
apart from the Wilderness Lodge, light and
air pollution are non-existent. See the
Southern Cross, Milky Way and Clouds of
Trips Around the Lodge and Further Afield
As well as exploring on your own and joining in with our complimentary activities you can also join in our longer guided wilderness adventures.
Rainforest Walking, Easy Canoeing and Spectacular Wilderness Seacoast Seal and Penguin Adventures...
Join a small group and accompany our skilled nature guides. On safe, well-planned adventures you will get close to wildlife, learn about the forest, experience amazing scenery and friendly company. We run trips to fit with weather conditions and, for seacoast walks, tides. These activities can be organised once you arrive at the Lodge.
Some of Our Trips...
- Wilderness Seacoast, Fiordland Crested Penguin and New Zealand Fur Seals Tramping Adventure - our "signature walk" This is a dramatic and challenging walk along a rugged section of the Tasman seacoast. It requires moderate fitness and provides great wildlife viewing opportunities. We will see New Zealand fur seals, penguins (in season) and possibly an elephant seal. Enjoy refreshments beside a waterfall tumbling down to the beach after some scrambling over volcanic beach boulders. Fossick for natural beach treasures and finally climb steeply up from the shore into the dense rainforest.
- Wilderness Seacoast, Hector's Dolphins and seashore ecology A gentle walk along a beautiful yet rarely visited piece of seacoast. We will discover rockpools, islands and coastal caves and we will probably see Hector’s dolphins, the world’s smallest marine dolphin species and maybe New Zealand fur seals. Following the coast we search for polished beach pebbles and wave-sculpted driftwood.
- Lake Moeraki Kayak Safari to Glacier Beach and the Giant Rimu Trees Our nature guides give you instruction in our safe and stable kayaks. We then paddle upriver past tall rainforest to enter the shallow wetlands of Lake Moeraki looking for water birds like black swan and crested grebe. On reaching the head of the lake we enjoy refreshments on a delightful beach tucked between the lake and the rainforest before visiting some of the largest trees in the Moeraki Valley.
- Ancient Rainforest Guided Walk and Canoe Safari to the Lower Moeraki River and the Tasman Seacoast. Easy Option: Canoe the Moeraki Lagoon Our nature guides take you on a gentle walk down the valley through giant rainforest trees, past historic cottages and across freshwater springs and wetland moss forest. At the Moeraki lagoon our canoes and life jackets are waiting. We paddle down river beneath the forest and out into the Moeraki lagoon. We reach the Moeraki beach and walk to the Tasman seacoast where we enjoy refreshments, fossick for gemstones, shells and driftwood
- The Moeraki Mountains, Historic South Westland Pack Track, Moeraki Rapids and Blue Hut The Moeraki Valley was the last valley in South Westland to be accessed by road in 1965. Prior to this the only way south to Haast by land followed a historic pack track at the foot of the mountains. We drive 8 km up the valley to the start of this walk. The track crosses a series of small steams as the thunderous noise of the Moeraki rapids grows louder. When we reach these spectacular rapids, we cross on a high swingbridge then continue a short way to the historic Blue Hut. We enjoy lunch either at the hut with a roaring fire and billy tea or beside a huge pool in the Moeraki River.