One lesson I have come to learn on my travels is that, especially in small communities, the best guesthouses often double as the best restaurants. It took a mere couple of hours for me to be certain this analogy was right even in Taupo’s sleepy outskirts. Whakaipo Lodge is one these rare cases where the reiterated saying of a home away from home indeed rings true. Besides the home-cooked culinary gems, it comes with hectares of land to play on and a unique sense of serenity New Zealand countryside is much loved for .
Angie and Garth quite obviously pour their heart and soul into this two-room guesthouse. Said rooms are luxurious enough to get your money’s worth ($275-$395 per night), without feeling foreign or impersonal. Breakfast, afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapes are part of the story; all homemade with local ingredients and, best of all, very vegan-friendly. Given its remote location, fast wifi wasn’t to be expected. But then again, the lodge and its surroundings clearly invite to escape reality and focus on what matters; nature, great food, and good people. [If life only was so simply all of the time.] Speaking of nature, mountains bikes are waiting to be taken on one of the many local bike trails, and all kinds of adventurous activities from skiing to fishing are organised in-house. On a clear night, stargazing is a must.
Staying at this clean, homey lodge a little way up from the main town is like visiting your favourite Auntie. You get to know your fellow guests and hosts and get plenty of individual attention and advice. The views from the rooms are splendid and the meals rival anything I have sampled elsewhere in the region.