Updated: May 21, 2020
Te Wepu's private pods and wood-fired hot tubs are the perfect sanctuary for New Zealanders wanting to escape the busyness of everyday life.
“Richie often jokes about how no one listens to him when they’re at the pod site because they can’t stop staring at the view or looking around,” laughs Kate Bocock from Te Wepu Intrepid Pod Retreats.
The view she’s talking about is the one that first took the couple’s breath away when they moved onto their Canterbury farm. Just over an hour from Christchurch, three stunning New Zealand made, double-glazed pods are perched high above French Farm Bay, one of the most tranquil spots on the magnificent Banks Peninsula. By day, guests can explore the surrounding countryside or simply relax, read and listen to the wonderful birdlife.
“The birdlife is incredible,” smiles Kate. “We have a Morepork who lives in the barn, right next to the carpark and fantails will land on a stick held in your hand."
Night-time brings a tapestry of stars overhead, while soaking in your own private, wood-fired hot tub – or using the BBQ to cook the delicious local ingredients included in the Te Wepu hamper that is provided. There is also a roaring fire pit to keep you toasty warm.
Te Wepu has become a much sought after location for anyone wanting to get away from the worries and busyness of everyday life.
“We never in a million years realised they would be so popular,” says Kate. “We didn’t even think we would be booked out every weekend but before Covid-19 we had a long waiting list. Even post-lockdown, we are getting bookings with people commenting that they have been trying to get in for ages. All the feedback has been amazing…we have not had one bad review and we are so chuffed with that.”
The pods are a little different to the usual glamping options, allowing guests to get closer to nature without the inconveniences of a canvas tent.
“We wanted to do something different as yurts and tents were the go-to glamping options and pods, in our opinion, were more suitable for our variable South Island weather. They keep you warm and snug, whatever the conditions, while still allowing you to look out across those amazing panoramic views."
“We came across Mt Hutt Pods in Methven, and just loved their design. Our pods were made there, transported here and we had them helicoptered up to the sites. We really liked the look of them and Mark could adjust things to suit what we needed. The wood-fired tubs come from Alpine Tubs in Geraldine and are the perfect match for the pods.”
Kate has been delighted to see the variety of people that have enjoyed staying at Te Wepu since they opened their doors.
“Last year, we had an extremely famous New Zealand musician in one pod, health professionals in the next, and a builder with partner in the third pod. None of the other guests knew they were sharing the view with Kiwi music royalty and we loved that we had such a diverse demographic.
“We do get a lot of males turn up rolling their eyes as their partner has taken them away on a ‘romantic weekend’ but they come down at checkout just about thumping their chests saying ‘man make fire while woman sit in hot tub.'
"Also, we aren’t quite sure if it’s the walk up to the pods that weakens the knees but there have been many proposals over the last two years as well! We love that it’s as popular for men as it is for woman.”
What a day and night at Te Wepu might look like
We are in contact with all our guests at least a week prior to arrival with instructions on where to come and we ask what time they will be arriving. We like to have the food hamper ready, which contains our own Te Wepu meat, along with local fresh veggies and a few other treats. We get the hot tub fired up and heating as well.
Richie and I always meet our guests in the car park and we give them the opportunity to either walk or get a lift up to their pod. We always take their gear. The walk is 15-25 minutes and whether they walk or get driven no one actually sees the view or their pod until they get to the site and that makes it really special.
Richie runs through how to ‘drive’ everything as well as everything involving health and safety and then leaves them to it. Everything in the hamper can be cooked using the kitchenette facilities and we have Weber BBQ’s. A few bring their own food, which is fine. The hot tub is a big draw card but the fire pit is also a hit. The feeling of sitting around a fire just chatting is something else.
Because of our weekends being minimum two nights stays, our weekend guests often go to Akaroa which is only 20 minutes away. There are dolphins and penguins to see or plenty of walks around the Peninsula.
We have a late check out (11am) so there is no rush when leaving and guests just text us to be picked up in the morning. Again, they can walk down or catch a ride with their bags.
Te Wepu will be offering a complimentary farm tour to the neighbouring alpaca farm for anyone staying before 31 August.
You can find out more about Te Wepu here.