At the head of Lake Wakatipu you'll find a small town
filled every holiday season with campers, couples and
families. Olivia Caldwell discovers why Kinloch is no longer
Just an hour and a-half out of Queenstown, Kinloch offers a
refuge for locals and tourists through its long beach, fine
dining and leisurely or challenging walks.
Kinloch Lodge owners of 11 years John and Toni Glover said it
is the interaction with the outdoors and the surrounds of
national parks that keeps pulling the visitors year in and
"Whether it be fishing, hiking, hunting or painting, there is
a lot you can do here," Mr Glover said.
January was their busiest time of year, which would explain
why the lodge was fully booked out for New Year's eve before
"They can do as much as they want in one of the most
beautiful places in the world."
He said the people that stayed at their lodge and at the Doc
camping site, within a minute's walk, varied from long-time
stayers who returned every year to tourists who had heard
about Kinloch through travel websites.
"It varies so much. A very mixed range of people."
"We get people who have stayed in the most beautiful places
in the world, where a budget is no barrier, to your
backpacker looking for a cheap night before a long hike the
Mrs Glover said the place was small enough to "know every
guest by name".
It was a place people came to "nuture the soul".
"It's one hour and a million miles out of Queenstown. The
last hut type of experience."
When Queenstown bars charged party goers at the door on New
Year's Eve, Kinloch had a party of its own going on, at the
lodge and campsite combined.
Tents fill the grounds by December 31 with young couples,
families and groups of friends. The place is by no means
quiet on this particular evening.
One Australian family spent Christmas at the lodge after
hearing about Kinloch through the travel guide Lonely Planet.
"Now that we are here, I keep saying: `Why did it take us so
long to get here?"' Geoff Boucher, of Geelong, Melbourne,
The family had never visited New Zealand and were "blown
away" by the scenery and walks surrounding Kinloch.
The world-class walks of the Routeburn Track, The Greenstone,
Mt Alfred, Glacier Burn and the Lake Rere Loop are minutes
away from the lodge and for those seeking thrills, the Dart
River company is based next door in Glenorchy.
Other activities include fishing, kayaking or just a relaxed
spa pool at the lodge, with views of the lake and mountains.
Like its North Island counterpart near Taupo, this Kinloch is
based by the lakeside, but mountain views and the untouched
feel is something all its own.
One couple who shifted from Queenstown to Brisbane in October
last year have a soft spot for Kinloch. They had their
wedding there in 2003.
Garry and Kiri Ferris have come back to Kinloch for the past
two summers with their 7-year-old daughter Aria and planned
to keep up the tradition.
Between the pair of them, they have family both in Queenstown
and Cromwell, where they spent Christmas visits before Mr
Ferris headed home, where he works as the deputy editor of
one of Brisbane's weekly newspapers.
Mr Ferris said Kinloch offered the complete opposite to the
busy technology-driven lifestyle of Queensland.
With plans to come back to Queenstown and visit the small
piece of paradise at Kinloch, he said he was not a converted
Australian just yet.
"It's the serenity here."
Mrs Ferris had some close ties to the Kinloch Lodge. Several
family ancestors helped when Queenstown's first
harbourmaster, Richard Cougar Bryant built the lodge in 1868.
Before 1974, the only access to Kinloch was by boat, and TSS
Earnslaw brought thousands of day trippers and trampers to
Mrs Ferris said Kinloch was the perfect holiday spot for her
family because it was "low key and unconnected".
"It's so peaceful here."
Although the lodge offered an internet connection she said
she liked to keep that small detail from her working husband.
"It's a place to get away from it all properly. You have to
"Anywhere else, you are tempted by the shops. Here, there is
no temptation to go anywhere, no shopping, no video shop.
You're stuck here."
She said the thing that attracted her the most about Kinloch
were the mountains and the lake and "the fresh air".
"It's full of nature lovers, which adds to the place.
There's no parties and it's perfect to bring children."
"I could easily spend a couple of weeks here."
The Northside Brisbane family had enjoyed their summer
getaway in Kinloch and would look forward to coming back to
the the same place at the same time next year.
"I like to think so, it is a beautiful place."