KIWI: Southern Comfort - Invercargill's Safari LodgeAfter spending three days hiking along the spectacular Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, I was a bit taken aback when I checked into the Safari Lodge in Invercargill for my last night’s stay in Southland to find the foyer decorated with an African shield, masks, carvings and a zebra skin.
AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER: ©Shane Boocock 2014
After spending three days hiking along the spectacular Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track, I was a bit taken aback when I checked into the Safari Lodge in Invercargill for my last night’s stay in Southland to find the foyer decorated with an African shield, masks, carvings and a zebra skin.
Safari Lodge is an Edwardian house of historic heritage, (originally it was named Wharepaka) but now houses an impressively fine collection of African artifacts brought back by the owners after they had spent five years (1999-2004) living in Mozambique. The couple also travelled extensively through southern Africa and say that every piece in their art collection has a story to tell.
The owners and hosts, Ray and Trish Winter bought the house back in 1987 when the property was in a run-down and dilapidated condition. Slowly over the years they have refurbished the lovely building as much as possible in line with the 1902 original construction, yet with a few modern additions such as a Victorian Conservatory and Spa as well as a full sized billiard room for their guests’ enjoyment!
Located close to Queens Park and the city’s Southland Museum & Art Gallery, this luxury heritage and African themed lodge offers a home away from home for weary travellers and businessmen alike.
The lodge features just four master bedrooms, three of them furnished with super King, four-poster canopy beds and large en-suite bathrooms all named after African animals. There’s the Elephant Room, the largest of the rooms is the Rhino Room and then there’s the Lion Room as well as a Queen size four-poster canopy bed in the Leopard Room.
Ray and Trish share a love of Southland, as they are both born and bred fourth generation Southlanders and take great pride in sharing their extensive local knowledge of the area. They’ll also ensure you receive friendly assistance with bookings, visiting tourist attractions and travel information about Invercargill, Southland, Stewart Island and Fiordland.
Once of Southland’s most anticipated annual events is the Burt Munro Challenge that takes place between the 27-30 November 2014 – this is a sell-out event year on year so confirm your bookings early. The event honours the town’s favourite world motorbike record holder, Burt Munro, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in the movie, “The World’s Fastest Indian.” The race events include: rally, hill climb, beach racing, sprint racing, speedway racing and a street racing.
For visitors who are looking to head out into the wilderness of Southland, take a drive out on the Southern Scenic Route - a spectacular piece of coastline and countryside. However to experience and see real pristine wilderness book a two night/three day guided hiking trip on the Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track and you’ll discover some of the finest scenic views anywhere in New Zealand.
If you ever get the opportunity to visit Invercargill, accept some southern hospitality and spend a few nights in Ray and Trish’s African themed lodge – it might even persuade you to take a real safari in Africa’s Dark Continent.
Shane travelled to the Southland region courtesy of Venture Southland.
P: 64 3 211 1400
Safari Lodge, Invercargill
P: +64 3 214 6328
Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track
P: +64 3 226 6739
Burt Munro Challenge
P: +64 3 211 1400
Southland Museum & Art gallery
P: +64 3 219 9069
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