“Celebrating 10 years at the Lodge”

by Violaine – 25/07/21
“It seems to me an eternity ago, and at the same time, yesterday, that after few weeks in New Zealand, I came to this corner of the world to be a wwoofer (help in exchange of food and accommodation).
I’ve been greeted by the lovely Mel who was there only a few days and Craig, knowing I was hitchhiking, being drop off at Clifden, decided to drive there to pick me up, but I didn’t know and found a ride before. So we cross paths but he eventually came back.
I don’t really remember how the day or days went, but I know that I wanted to learn the most I could for the one week I scheduled to stay and help as much as I could too, even if my gardening skills were more than limited. I was struggling with my English in every way, but I loved the place and enjoyed Craig’s attitude. Sophie, his teenage daughter, was there and very welcoming too. I felt at home. There was also “Jazz” working with Craig, but no one else. It was winter, I had fun, so I decided to stay one more week… then another one (why bother looking for another place when the winter seems sweet and interesting here)… but then I got closer with Craig and it got difficult to leave!
I decided to take a month to travel around the South Island and come back to help him with the summer season. And never left since, except to go visit my family and friends some winters 🙂
I love how the place and the work evolved in 10 years: first the landscaping, with the gardens and trees which grown so much, then the different renovations – the deck, the lounge, the rooms. We enjoyed serving meals to the locals and welcome all sorts of people from around the world, who looked for a relaxing visit along the South Coast or to hike the Hump Ridge Track, and give them a taste of Craig’s delicious recipes. Now we have limited our operation for many reasons – that would be a whole other post – and it’s been great! We’ve been working really hard, especially Craig, this past ten years, but we are still excited by what the future may look like.

And now our Family extended with our son Max, 14 months old today 😛 I am so glad that I took the decision to visit this incredible and beautiful country for a year and end up making an amazing life in this corner of the world. Tuatapere is such a peaceful place with lovely people and beautiful scenery. The Lodge is my home. And of course, I am so grateful to have meet Craig.

Happy 10 years to us !”