We haven’t stopped raving about our trip to Longspur Eco Cottage since we left. Our travels here fell on Matariki, our Māori New Year. As the name of the cottage suggests, its the perfect place to unwind in the heart of a natural environment, without impacting on the surroundings. Just a 35-minute drive from Martinborough – wine central, Longspur Eco Cottage is hidden off-the-beaten-track, surrounded by regenerating native bush in a tranquil spot. Privacy guaranteed! PS. Keep your laptop and phones at home, they won’t work, not here in paradise!
We started our Wairarapa Jeep Adventures at C’est Cheese in Featherston. This store is our picnic go-to! From delicious NZ made cheeses, chutneys, salamis, olive oils and a wonderful selection of speciality goods, finger foods and platter fav’s. My favourite thing about C’est Cheese is their love of local, we are introduced to new kiwi producers almost every visit. It’s hard for us to attempt a ‘quick-stop’ here without surrendering to the Cheese Bar where you can tuck into cheesy delights like Mac ‘n’ Cheese and my personal favourite Mushroom on Cheese Toast.
Before heading to our destination we made an impromptu visit to The Wine Bank while passing through Martinborough. Isaac and I will definitely head back sans children in-tow, we think it will be a fantastic date-night. Though a brief visit, I enjoyed discovering what it was all about via a quick introduction from the pleasant staff. Here you can taste locally produced wine available (also by the glass) delicious small plates & platters all set in a luxurious yet warm and inviting venue. Quite partial myself to ‘try before you buy’ I really enjoyed myself choosing and pouring my own tasters at my own leisure. If I had questions there was always someone on had to help us out. I chose a beautiful bubble of Ata Rangi Rosé after my tasting.
Modernised with sustainable principles in mind the simply gorgeous eco-friendly cottage felt like our own ‘haven in the woods‘. I love places which have loads of character and the wow factor – at the same time being suitable for families. Having this space all to ourselves and plenty of room to run outdoors kept the boys busy, we could watch them from the deck above while giving them lots of freedom below to explore independently.
Sleeping arrangements include a one-bedroom with a king-size bed and fold down bunk style bed. In the lounging area, a climb-up ladder reveals a light and airy loft containing 2 foam mattresses (arrange as you need). The loft isn’t suitable for small children, It looks terribly fun to climb as you’ll see in the pictures below, I decided to style the ladder with books to act as a shelf, worked a treat! While the boys did notice the room above they didn’t realise it was a ladder to climb. Legendary work I know, Mum 1 – Boys 0. A double fold out sofa bed is also in the lounging area. Longspur can accommodate 5 Adults comfortably, be sure to communicate with the host’s numbers prior to your stay.
Longspur Eco Cottage is well suited to families like us that have are conscious of disconnecting and exploring experiences away from technology. A stay here encourages quality time and deep connection. I know all too well the challenges that complexity, clutter and the focus on material or the unimportant things conceive, so creating experiences like these are important. Time away with family doesn’t always have to be about fancy activities. What I loved about Longspur is it bought our whānau back to basics. Puzzles, board games, slingshots, reading, lying out on the grass laughing at the animal-shaped clouds and counting shooting-stars in wide dark skies. Making the kind of memories the kids will cherish, these experiences are absolutely priceless to me.
Cooking is easy in their charming self-contained kitchen using the gas hobs and oven or you can enjoy a BBQ outside on the deck. We opted for a catered meal to enjoy on our last nights stay. Their meals are made with fresh local produce where possible, cooked to perfection and delivered straight to your door. Dinner was tasty, homely and plentiful. Just like your mums homemade cooking kinda-feels, soul food.
On the menu:
Wild venison and cashew stirfry.
Roasted beetroot salad with feta and walnuts.
Fresh pea and chickpea salad.
Freshly baked choc brownies with raspberry coulis.
Native bush walks throughout the property are available for adventurers literally right at your doorstep. It’s a little over 5km to the top of Rocky Knob (an exclusive summit to the property). The pay-off, 360-degree rural views rolling out to the sea in the distance, it’s spectacular! I carried AG 2.5 km uphill, one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I have ever done. I get prouder of myself and our little whānau each hike. Enjoy making new friends among the many species of birds you’ll see and hear on your trek. We had a very up close and personal encounter with a huge stag. It had a gorgeous winter coat on it. It wasn’t spooked or concerned about us at all. It was curious for a moment and then just like that, pranced off into bush-clad, happy as larry, leaving us all gobbed smacked like, did that just happen?
A quick expedition before our time is up at Longspur. Why-yes, we are back at the Tora Coast! This time at opposite ends, south-east of Martinborough at White Rock. A place well known to the locals, a hidden gem otherwise. Alba the Jeep tackling the long and winding gravel road out here like a champ, it’s a great 4wd adventure. The wandering stock and inquisitive horses are absolutely enchanting, it’s like a scene out of Lord Of The Rings. It is important to note the route here is not for the faint-hearted, much more suited to off-road vehicles or skilled drivers. We recommend you do your homework before driving out here, no local shops, no toilets and we saw zero humans the 2 hours spent here. Be prepared!
The scenery and drive out to White Rock is enough to give you a deep-dose of New Zealand’s most rugged untouched beauty. When we travel to these spots we are respectful of farmers, land, animals and sea. Take your camera, I took what feels like 7589353 shots and they were all INCREDIBLE!
Now after all our adventuring we are due for a special rural retreat! Next week on the blog our last Wairarapa Jeep Adventure! We are taking you to quite possibly the most gorgeous 1860’s shepherd’s cottage I have ever seen nestled in the heart of historical Pirinoa Station. Two words, complete tranquillity!
AD – This a non-profit project. Partners involved are gifting their name, time and services to help encourage kiwi travel and supporting local. Support local and food purchases are at our personal expense.