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  • Writer's pictureJulie Wolbers

The Beginnings of Ribbonwood Retreat in Franz Josef Glacier.

Updated: Oct 27, 2023



Holiday Cottage at Ribbonwood Retreat Surrounded By Native Forest And Southern Alps Mountains Franz Josef Glacier West Coast New Zealand

At Ribbonwood Retreat, our journey has been one of serendipitous encounters, a leap of faith, and an unwavering commitment to sharing the beauty of Franz Josef Glacier with the world. Let's take you back to the beginning and tell you about the beginnings of Ribbonwood Retreat in Franz Josef Glacier.


World Travelers In Japan

Jo and I are travellers at heart. We've treasured our global adventures, savouring the joy of connecting with people from every corner of the world. These experiences ignited a desire to connect with like-minded travellers and share South Westland, New Zealand.




How Ribbonwood Retreat Became a Bed and Breakfast in Franz Josef Glacier

As if guided by fate an unexpected opportunity knocked on our door one sunny day about 20 years ago. A local Franz Josef accommodation provider found themselves in a double-booking dilemma and reached out to us for assistance. Their plea was simple: could we accommodate two lovely women from England? Though we had no prior experience in the realm of bed and breakfast, we decided to take the plunge. Welcoming these guests into our home, we were instantly struck by the connection we felt and the genuine delight in taking care of them while they were embarking on their NZ South Island road trip.

West Coast New Zealand

This encounter with our English guests left an indelible mark on our hearts. Their appreciation for our hospitality and the wonders of the West Coast of New Zealand right outside our door left us inspired and eager to explore this path further.

Of course, there were indeed valid reasons for hesitation. Our home lacked the furnishings suitable for welcoming guests, our day jobs kept us occupied and my mother needed our support, requiring frequent trips back and forth to Christchurch. But the spark of possibility had been ignited within us and we realised we possessed something unique to offer - our home could be a haven for travellers seeking an authentic West Coast experience as part of their NZ South Island itinerary. With unwavering determination, we embraced the idea of hosting travellers full-time, particularly during the bustling summer season. And thus Ribbonwood Retreat Bed and Breakfast was born, with open arms to welcome the world.

Our Love for Glacier Country NZ

Lake Matheson Near Fox Glacier West Coast New Zealand

It hasn't always been a smooth ride, but we've learned and grown from each experience. Our passion for hospitality and the deep love we hold for Glacier Country continue to fuel our story.

Ribbonwood Retreat stands as a testament to the sheer joy of welcoming strangers to our doorstep and bidding them farewell as friends. Our doors are open and we invite you to be a part of our story as we continue to celebrate the spirit of hospitality and shared experiences here in Franz Josef Glacier.











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