A very special lodge in a very special placeMarch 11, 2014
When you choose New Zealand as a destination, you are choosing one of the world’s special places. Narrow that choice to New Zealand’s South Island and it becomes even more so. Narrow it still further to the Nelson Lakes National Park and world-renowned, five star luxury Lake Rotoroa Lodge accommodation and a memorable experience awaits you.
Surrounded by the finest brown trout fly fishing, Lake Rotoroa Lodge sits in the midst of what might truly be described as one of the ultimate locations, whatever your objectives and desires might be: golden beaches to snow-capped mountains, wilderness to bustling cafés, or heart-stopping adventure to heart-resting relaxation. There are few places in the world where all of this and more can be enjoyed within little more than an hour’s radius.
We are a piece of New History
It’s a fact that probably wasn’t on the mind of retired farmer Alfred Flower when he built this grand inn, but his legacy lives on in the ambience here at Lake Rotoroa Lodge, and so does his tale.
It was 1863 and the American Civil War raged. Abraham Lincoln kicked the year off by signing the Emancipation Proclamation, and Queen Victoria was reigning head of state of this fledgling colony known as New Zealand. And in Nelson, Alfred Flower was born. His family eventually pulled up stakes in the1870’s, and it was here in the sweeping Gowan Valley that they settled.
Like many raised in the rugged South Island ranges, Alfred was drawn back after making his way around the world. After a prosperous career in Nelson, he set his mind to build a grand inn where Lake Rotoroa (Maori for “Long Lake”) flows into the small but mighty Gowan River. He enlisted the expertise of Nelson Contractor JB & L Robinson to tackle the job with local materials and a labour pool, including itinerate doctors and lawyers, jobless like many of the day. It was an impressive operation, with its own steam-powered sawmill so stands of local timber could be wrested and used in the construction.
But this was primitive land, and without a proper road to Lake Rotoroa – or Alf’s venture – the Flower family trundled along dirt tracks peppered with tree stumps. That all changed, of course, on Christmas 1924, when Alfred Flowers’ accommodation house was opened for business.
Electricity finally reached the Lodge on 13th August 1963 and the ensuing party, a weekend-long affair, swept up residents along the valley; until that day, power was raised with a hand primed generator.
The property remained a working farm until Phil & Margaret Lusty took it over with their two sons soon after. While living upstairs, the Lusty’s primped and painted downstairs, even tinting its façade in the characteristic Redwood which is still evident today.
Soon the old inn was again attracting avid fans of the outdoors as Mountain Lake Lodge, tempting anglers with an abundance of browns and rainbows and Margaret’s legendary farmhouse menus.
Many prominent guests have stayed at the lodge from sporting personalities to movie stars and even former US Vice President Dick Chaney once rested here. These guests sought its idyllic tranquillity and remote natural setting in these ranges on the cusp of the Southern Alps.