There’s no shortage of luxury glamping spots around New Zealand that elevate the experience to the level of a five-star hotel, we’re talking lodgings with hotel-style beds, extravagant furnishings and amenities closer to that of the Sofitel than an actual campsite. If you’re searching for a more authentic kiwi off-the-grid adventure however and for those who aren’t necessarily looking for Kardashian-like luxury in their escape from the every-day, but for a unique, simply unforgettable, hassle-free camping experience you’ll write to friends across the globe about, then the Purple Hut at Kawakawa Station is for you!
The iconic Kawakawa Station is one of the Wairarapa’s oldest Sheep Stations. Located along the South Wairarapa coastline and only 40 minutes from the wine village of Martinborough. We booked our stay here to celebrate our 5th year wedding anniversary and with all the incredible memories we created during our stay I can tell you now it’s going to be pretty hard to top! The most talked-about attraction at Kawakawa Station is the three-day walk where you will explore impressive landscapes from the foot of the Aorangi Forest Park to the bush-clad high country down to the river streams and out to the stunning South Wairarapa coast. On the walk, delicious country-style meals and chilled drinks will be ready & awaiting and your luggage transported to the lodgings you stay at. For more on Wairarapa’s best-kept secret, the Station Walk, tap-here.
The Purple Hut wasn’t what I expected. Firstly….it’s a soft shade of purple, SOOO pretty! Don’t know why I was envisioning it to be barney-bright! After a thrilling 25-minute 4WD adventure up the river bed through jaw-dropping scenery, you’ll arrive at the hut. The Otakaha Stream runs close, literally 50% of our time was spent in the crystal clear swimming holes making friends with one particular Long Fin Eel family we fed every day. I’d never seen eels that wild and BIG! The Purple Hut is actually a two-bedroom ex-army lodge brought in by keen hunters over 60 years ago. The original hut had two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a dining space. Two cabins have been added and the hut now sleeps a total of 11 people across multiple rooms.
Where possible, Isaac and I do a whole lot of relaxing and reconnecting as a family out in nature. The kids spend their time treasure hunting, making all sorts of handy gadgets out of natural resources to assist in their bush exploring and learning new life skills outdoors, we don’t take toys to camp, just items to help them explore (binoculars, magnifying glass, tweezers and critter cases, kids books on kiwi trees, plants etc). Wherever you glamp and camp, it’s fun to try all the local food and drink, a TOP priority for Isaac especially being the foodie he is. We love bonding over food at camp, we BBQ together, we toast together, we tell stories and we s’mores together! Yum!
My favourite thing about owning a Jeep is its made for these environments, it made exploring this place particularly easy!
Nights at Kawakawa Station are insane! The nightlife is loud yet weirdly lulling, the song and dance you’ll hear from the bird and wildlife’s orchestra will send you to sleep peacefully. It’s terrifyingly beautiful! Eery dark skies lit up with the brightest stars I’ve ever witnessed, the shadows and movement in the woodlands that surround you to the snapping and crackling of the trees. You have to experience it, it will give you chills, especially when you realise, you are 25 minutes away from human contact on the station, its just you, and nature. I mean, THAT’S THRILLING! We also experienced a small earthquake and it felt and sounded like a giant took a big step outside our window. Childhood fantasy of seeing a giant…..close enough, TICK!
I finish this post by mentioning how wonderful our hosts were at Kawakawa Station, you couldn’t ask for more! Rebecca and Ian, the owner and operators are obliging, laid back and super-thoughtful. For those who might be a little more anxious being so deep into the bush and off the grid, the two-way radio to keep in touch with home-base if need be is a reassuring touch. We’ve been invited back to experience their luxurious Lotus Belle Star Gazer Glamping. We are incredibly excited and of course, can’t wait to share that with you guys!
See you, love you, BYE!