High Peak Station: New Zealand's Best Kept Secret

edventuremama's picture
Country: 
Kids: 
14 years
12 years
10 years
Author: 
Parent
Date: 
2013-03-18 to 2013-03-24
Description: 

We spent a full six months in New Zealand. During that time we made loops around both islands and had a lot of adventures, from visiting glaciers, to climbing mountains, to cycling, fishing, hunting for gemstones, finding wild penguins, and so many other things. There are adventures for everyone and we’d love to have another six months some other year. Without question, the best place we went, and the best adventure we had in New Zealand was at High Peak Station. On a whim, my Uncle Dick flew over and we spent six days hiking, hunting and having adventures in the highlands around Mt. Hutt. 

High Peak StationHigh Peak Station does family adventure travel right, like nowhere we’ve ever been. The Guild family started out as our hosts, but by the time we left, they were good friends. Simon has an amazing ability to balance world-class hunting with the needs of a family and the interests of kids who’d really rather be horse riding or jet boating than stalking a buck through scratchy undergrowth. Simon and Kate will custom design an itinerary for your family, but here are the highlights from our week:

Day 1:

Uncle Dick and I headed out to the range to hike, sight in the gun, do a little target shooting and gain an appreciation for the terrain, the scale of the operation, and the animals that are kept in the wild. We climbed a mountain, had a picnic on an outcropping of rock with a spectacular view of the valley, saw wild boar, arupawa sheep, fallow deer, red deer and more than a few spectacular stags (what Dick had come to hunt.) 

Day 2: 

Red Stag, High Peak StationThe hunt began. I’m not a hunter, but I had a fantastic time learning from the professional photographer on staff the finer points of a photo stalk, how to frame up a moving animal. Listening to him tell me about how his job was more exciting than hunting because he captured the memories forever reminded me of why I was along on this journey: to collect memories with my dear uncle and to tell the stories.

Day 3:

Our overnight in “The Hut” was, by far, the highlight of our week. Dick and I share memories of off-the-grid cabin life on a lake in Ontario, Canada, so walking into this primitive camp felt like a homecoming for us. I laid in front of the fire, late into the night, listening to the men swap stories and eating some of the best of New Zealand wild caught foods: Paua, grilled to perfection and venison that was melt in your mouth delicious. The wood fire crackling was the only sound in the darkness.

Day 4:

Mt. HuttDick got his stag. He’d flown, literally, half way around the world for the privilege of hunting at High Peak Station, but his 350 SCI rating stag was not even close to the highlight of our week. It was a pretty special moment to share with my uncle, and a story that will live in our family for generations. That’s the thing that the Guild Family does really well: they build memories, and craft experiences that become legends for their friends. It’s quite a gift... to give, and to receive.

Day 5:

Back at the elegant base camp kids were whisked off to check out the jet boating on the river, horseback riding with snow capped mountains in the background, and hikes in the wilderness. Simon is great with kids. He took ours out in his truck (giving us some much needed adult time!) on multiple adventures. The taught them how to shoot, pointed out the tiny creatures that give off a single drop of sweet liquid that gets turned into bush honey, let them feed the sheep, a baby deer, and answered their million and one questions with a smile.

Day 6:

Feeding the baby deer, High Peak StationDinner with three generations of the Guild Family was my highlight of the week. Anna cooked up a roast lamb from their own paddock and enough potatoes to feed an army (our army!) We stayed too late, listening to stories of their farm life, sharing music and singing together, listening to James tell jokes that reduced my boys to piles of giggly mush, and admiring the artistic diversity of their family. 

If you go to New Zealand, you must go and see our friends. It will be the highlight of your trip, I promise you that. James is the patriarch, and visionary of station. What he, and his artist wife, Anna have built is nothing short of a real life miracle of determination and innovation. He’s got a shrewd business mind and a keen interest in conservation, while Anna makes everything she touches beautiful: from child life, to gardens, to wall art. Simon and Kate are the dynamic duo with a vision for family adventure. They are hosts, par excellence. Amelia and Tom are a balance of sparkle and steady. She’s an actress and artist, like her mother. Tom is a professional skier with an eye for excellence. Go in winter and he’ll be your personal ski instructor and raise the bar on any previous mountain experience you’ve ever had. 

As a mom, the thing I noticed about High Peak Station was how much I rested: Bridget, our personal chef had every meal, snack, cup of tea, or juice request from a child covered. We’d leave the chalet in the morning and return to crisp beds, clean fluffy towels, plates of h’ors d’oeuvres, a fire in the hearth and the hot tub heating. Every single thing was taken care of before I could have thought to ask for it. Now THAT is my kind of vacation!

Gallery: 
Chalet, High Peak Station
The Hut, High Peak Station
Red Stag, High Peak Station
The Hut, High Peak Station
Chalet, High Peak Station
Bridget, High Peak Station
Mt. Hutt
High Peak Station
High Peak Station
Ameila's art, High Peak Station
Inside the Hut, High Peak Station
Dick's stag, High Peak Station
Feeding the baby deer, High Peak Station
Family, High Peak Station
Shooting, High Peak Station
Horse riding, High Peak Station
Places: 
Article Type: 
In-Person Impressions

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