Your Hosts | Julie & Jo
We are so happy you found us! We are looking forward to welcoming you to Glacier Country and our boutique retreat in the wilderness soon!
We live onsite at the property and are available to help.
We offer concierge and personalised advice if you desire it. Our wish is that this may help you to make the absolute most of your time in our gorgeous corner of the world.
We have lived in the area since 2000 and love to share our local tips and secrets.
Having studied Botany, Jo is passionate about the local flora and fauna, birdlife and wildlife. He enjoys sharing interesting stories and knowledge.
We are keen outdoors people and tramp as often as we can to see what changes have occurred in the dynamic place we live in.
We love sharing our unique environment with fellow travellers.
In the Beginning....
Our one hectare was bare land when we first moved there, just two paddocks except for a grove of totara trees. Jonathan has a green thumb and a passion for gardening. He had a dream to create a space with trees, planting native species as well as exotic trees for nuts and firewood.
We have planted more than 200 trees and shrubs leaving some open spaces to see through to the mountains and the kiwi sanctuary. Many birds now frequent the garden, especially tui, fantails, pukeko, tomtits, grey warblers and kereru as well as some common introduced garden birds.
Our Love for Glacier Country
We moved here twenty two years ago following Jo's promotion within the Department of Conservation as manager for the save the kiwi program in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park.
We chose the name “Ribbonwood” due to the large Ribbonwood tree beside the state highway in front of our home. Once common, these trees are palatable to possums as well as livestock and are now in decline. We planted Ribbonwoods and many other species to attract native birds back into our garden, much to the delight of the local Kereru, which feed on the leaves in early spring.
Jonathan studied botany at University. He came to Westland in the 80's to work for the Forest Service and never left.
Reliving his days as a possum hunter in the backcountry on the Coast, he will regale you with stories galore from 'going bush' for months at a time.
In 2000. he was appointed manager of the local Kiwi Recovery Programme, working for the Department of Conservation here in Franz Josef. Jo has extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna in our area and loved to share his knowledge and stories.
Julie's career highlight was gaining a Royal Society Science Award which enabled her to work with the Kiwi programme on Rowi.
Living overseas, she taught children in Jordan, Egypt and Italy. Julie was a teacher at the local school, fostering an appreciation for caring for our environment and won a West Coast Community Award for her environmental work with children.