We are dropped back off at the lodge and spend some time sitting out on the front porch, drinking pinot, with some home made shortbread, looking out at the ocean, watching the day become night. I do enjoy living in the city, but the peacefulness of being out in the country is rejuvenating.
Pre-drinks and canapes are being served at 6:30pm so I decide to go for a quick swim before dinner. Unfortunately for me, the heating system is broken so the water is a little chilly. Not nearly as freezing as the ‘plunge pool’ in Queenstown, but cool enough that it takes me a while to actually get in.
The pool room is a tropical oasis (except maybe for the water temperature) It is next to a courtyard filled with tall trees and citrus fruits. The ceiling is glass and I swim a few laps (or should I say float awkwardly around with a pool noodle) looking up at the sky.
Time for drinks and canapes. We get dressed up and walk over to the lodge. The walkway is lit up and the lodge looks very grand. We take a seat and give our drink orders. Wharekauhau have their own Gin called Lighthouse, made with natural spring water taken straight from the grounds at the lodge. I have never tried a G&T so I decide now is the time to give it a go. It’s quite a refreshing drink and I am a fan.
We are served several delectable morsels of food while chatting to the hosts who are naturally some of the friendliest people I have met. We are then seated in the dining room ready for our 4 course Trust the Chef culinary experience. The food was all amazing. I am a vegetarian and I am always wowed by how they can serve a meat meal to Daniel and a vegetarian meal to me and have them still looking the same. When they served my main course I double checked that it is in fact vegetarian, as my egg plant looks so much like a lamb steak. While I am not usually a big fan of eggplant, this is delicious.
All the guests are chattering away and a lovely elderly couple make their way around all the tables, introducing themselves and getting to know everyone. They even start a couple of rounds of ‘happy birthday’ for some of the guests. They were meant to be on a Mississippi River Cruise celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, but as we all know, travel plans this year have been turned upside down. I think Wharekauhau was a great choice.
We head back to our cottage to find our free mini bar restocked and a chocolate truffle beside the bed. Yum. I could get used to this service.
Its a cool night, but it also means that it is a clear night and the sky is lit with stars. Wrapped in a blanket with lantern and camera in hand, I take my chair out into the night to sit and stare at the stars. This time I manage a somewhat OK photo of the night sky. It really doesn’t do it justice, but if I keep practicing, I might be able to take some great astro photography shots one day.
Its getting late so I head back inside to find Daniel stretched out on the couch in front of the gas fire, fast asleep. He assured me he would be wide awake to watch the MotoGP live, but sleep has won him over. I on the other hand want to make the most of our 1 night stay, so at around midnight, I run a bath filled with bath salts. Its right next to the window so I can soak in the bath while gazing at the stars.
Finally sleep wins me over and I take myself off to bed listening to the soothing sounds of the mighty ocean near by.
The morning arrives and our time hear is drawing to an end. We do have a late checkout though so while Daniel sleeps I make myself a peppermint tea to sip in the sun while I read my book. We make our way to the conservatory for breakfast. I love porridge. I know, it’s one of the cheapest, easiest meals to make, but I love it. And so I ordered it. Smooth and creamy, topped with nuts and poached pears from the garden, it hits the spot.
We have a quick game of croquet before it’s time to put on our gear and pack up the bike. At check out we are given a (rather large) bottle of their Lighthouse Gin to take home. Our bags are full but I manage to make room.
It’s time to say goodbye to this Grand Olde Lady. She is full of charm, decadence and warm hospitality. I hope we will return one day.