Ribbonwood Retreat is located in the heart of Glacier Country on the secluded West Coast of New Zealand. The property is surrounded by nature abundant with wildlife, sprawling valley farmland and rainforest that eventually kisses the base of the mighty Southern Alps towering out of the ground.
Ribbonwoods intimate connection with nature is one of the reasons we love sharing the space with people from all over the world, so that they can experience New Zealand culture at its best, the way we get to every day! From the moment you step outside of the Cottage or our Waiho Rooms and breathe in the fresh country air, it's as though the kaleidoscope of West Coast lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and streams envelope you, pulling you into the present, stimulating your sense of adventure and conjuring a deep appreciation for the natural surrounds.
We are proud to have created a space and experience where nature is quite literally on your back door step with the accommodation set upon two and a half acres of lawns, natives and edible gardens creating fresh produce for our guests year round, yet we are located merely a few minutes to the hub of Franz Josef Glacier. It is here that you can jump on a helicopter to experience the world renowned Glacier Heli Hike, pack a picnic, soak in the famous Waiho Hot Tubs and take a dip in nearby Lake Mapourika, dine at one of our boutique restaurants and cafes or take a stroll through temperate rainforest on one of our many short or long walks.
Read on to see why Ribbonwood Retreat is a must-stay for nature lovers or those longing for slow-down, rejuvenation and reconnection. Lets bring it back to New Zealand nature...
Ribbonwood Retreat is located in the heart of Glacier Country - a mecca for native birds, with the iconic rowi or Okarito brown kiwi found only here. Our land is home to a combination of natural wetlands, such as the Okarito Lagoon, coastal forest, farmland and alpine forests - it is not surprising Ribbonwood Retreats backyard is abundant with birdlife.
We encourage birds to linger in our backyard by planting bird-attracting tree species - there are many self-seeded native trees growing in our garden. One of these is fuchsia (Fuchsia excorticata), one of our few deciduous trees. Its prolific flowers attract bellbirds, wood pigeons and the tui bird to the garden in early spring. We witness beautiful bird song from dawn to dusk, starting with bellbirds at first light then tui and the fantail bird all day long. This winter we put up a sugar water feeder in a fuchsia and after waiting with anticipation, eventually a tui started feeding there! The tui would come to the dining room window to remind us when it was empty.
Descending to just 250m above sea level, Franz Josef Glacier is one of only three glaciers in the world that drops into a temperate rainforest zone, the others being Fox Glacier located a slow one hour drive from Ribbonwood Retreat and the Perito Merino Glacier in Argentina.
Ribbonwood Retreat is lucky to be surrounded by this gorgeous rainforest no matter which direction you turn. We have 5 metres of rain a year in Glacier Country, most people exclaim with horror when they hear this but the thing is, when it rains it pours and we are well balanced with long fine spells in between making for the perfect opportunity to explore the glacier and glorious rainforest right in our backyard. The waterfalls come gushing down, our mountain views are stunning, the glacier is just “a stone’s throw” away from the village and of course, without the rainfall we wouldn't have our stunning forest!
A Unique Stay in Glacier Country
Another way in which Ribbonwood Retreat is uniquely connected to nature is because we are located in a UNESCO World Heritage site. UNESCO is tasked with safeguarding living heritage for future generations and we do what we can to support that by giving back to nature whenever possible.
Environmental sustainability ethos exists at the heart of our core values – that is why we use environmentally friendly cleaning products, make our soap in-house and provide NZ-crafted, eco-friendly products. We have planted 500 trees on the property as a carbon reduction initiative and are actively involved in community environmental projects. At present we are setting up our own predator control programme in the glacier valley.
A little taste of how our retreat connects you with New Zealand nature...
Our sunny and private cottage is set in passionately landscaped surrounds offering views to the glaciers and glorious mountains of Westland National Park. We invite you to relax on your large private deck and witness the breathtaking colour palette one of our famous West Coast sunsets. Embrace the welcoming warmth of the Scandinavian style cottage built from solid timber.
The Waiho Suite boasts views of stunning Westland National Park and vistas that travel as far as the eye can see, inviting you to truly let go, relax and jump off the conveyer belt of life. The Wahio Suite encompasses two bedrooms of which both have ranch slider doors that open out onto private decks, perfectly positioned to soak up the majestic nature scapes.
Retreat to our Rainforest Garden
We have a large garden and tunnel house, producing vegetables and berries which are served as part of the food experience at Ribbonwood Retreat - another way in which we connect you with nature! Bringing it inside, on your plate!
Our large walk-in berry house houses garden fruit including strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, especially grown for our guests breakfasts. Explore our raised and covered garden beds which provide a variety of seasonal produce including spinach and silverbeet. Will you be inspired to grow your own food at home?
Jonathan was pleased to learn that hazelnuts suited the poor silty soils here, as these are his favourite nuts. Over the years we have planted nearly 100 hazelnut trees of five different varieties to enhance pollination. Enjoy reaping the hazelnut tree rewards every March.
All green waste is composted with leaves and grass clippings and layered onto the beds to enhance soil fertility and drainage. We love watching the native trees and shrubs we planted years ago mature, providing food and habitat for so many birds.
We look forward to welcoming you to Ribbonwood Retreat soon :)
Keen on the outdoors, we often hike around our local area so we can pass on all our knowledge about Westland Tai Poutini National Park.