If you’re wanting to experience winter in New Zealand, you’ll have to go further south than Christchurch. Accustomed to full-scale, snow-globe, frostbitten winters back home, it’s almost a relief to see the snow-capped Southern Alps, even from a distance.
So, when an invite to stay at Isolation Bay came through, you’d better believe this Canadian was excited! I had heard about this gorgeous, lakefront retreat with its panoramic views and high ceilings, and was hoping to eventually make it down to Tekapo for a weekend getaway.
Located on the Western shore of Lake Tekapo, Isolation Bay lives up to its name. It’s a perfectly secluded and remote escape for families and friends alike. The space exudes laidback luxury with a roaring fire, gorgeous leather couches, and a large open kitchen. There are five bedrooms, which is ideal whether your group of friends is in need of a long weekend away or you’re planning a family gathering. The space fits up to 16 people, which is quite rare when you consider the location and unobstructed views! I’m actually a bit disappointed I didn’t book a stay there when I was travelling to Queenstown with my family after our wedding in March.
The house is sun-filled and glorious. Slide open the doors and you’ll have immediate access to the vistas of Lake Tekapo and the snow-capped Southern Alps. It’s truly a sight for sore eyes year-round, but extra magical in the winter. There’s plenty of outdoor seating for sunny afternoons; we enjoyed a platter at the picnic table and s’mores by the outdoor fire.
There’s plenty to explore in Tekapo itself. We embarked on a Lake Tekapo Farm Tour that proved to be equal parts fun and informative. You’ll be taken to breathtaking locations, meet and feed farm animals (sheep, alpacas, horses, oh my!) and learn about the history of the Mackenzie region. Without giving too much away, there’s plenty of off-roading and even a jaunt up the side of Mount John Observatory. There was even some cattle calling thanks to Bayley.
After the tour, we stopped into newly opened Our Dog Friday for burgers and drinks (order a hot toddy and thank me later). The restaurant is perfectly situated at the edge of the lake and the menu is super tasty. We tried everything from the gourmet beef and chicken burgers to the loaded fries. You’ll want to hit up this spot if you’ve in need of a mean feed.
After two relaxing nights at Isolation Bay, we packed up our bags and headed back to reality. While I’m physically back in Christchurch, I definitely left my heart in Tekapo. I’ll be reminiscing about the great memories made on this serene, secluded escape for months to come.