Last month we passed the shortest day of the year and already it is starting to feel like spring, even though there are officially a few more weeks of winter. We have plenty of new lambs in the paddocks, the donkeys no longer need their coats and the nights are getting noticeably longer. We have been so busy greeting guests, preparing our marketing campaign for next season and erecting new decks and planting new areas that it made me realise how wonderful glamping is for any season and how blessed we are in New Zealand to appreciate the bush all year round. I thought that I would share my thoughts with you about it.
Glamping in Winter (June, July, August)
We have been pleasantly surprised at how many guests want to glamp during the winter. We have been fully booked each weekend throughout June, July and August. July is usually the coldest month here in New Zealand and this year has been no exception. Nevertheless our guests have not been deterred.
We recommend that people bring plenty of warm layer clothes and we provide extra blankets and hot water bottles for evening warmth. In an off-grid experience, there is no convenient heater to switch on, or double glazing to keep out the cold. But, to make our guests comfortable, we have installed a wood burning stove inside our Friesian tent. The small stove throws out enough heat to keep the entire tent really toasty. We provide firewood as well as a chopping block and an axe for guests to chop their own kindling. Chopping wood is certainly an activity guaranteed to get you warm! When we have families staying, we encourage the kids to scavenge and collect pine cones for starting the fire.
We get most of our rainfall in winter, but this can still be enjoyable, especially the sound of the rain pitter pattering on the fly of the tent. One of our guests recently enjoyed being in the outdoor bath in a downpour, she said it was just like being in an infinity pool overlooking the bush.
Glamping in Spring (September, October, November)
Spring has to be one of the most delightful seasons because of the new growth on the plants and trees. The nights can still be crisp, but the days are simply glorious for tramping in the bush, swinging on the rope swing or enjoying a walk on the farm.
We have recently installed a campstove on the deck for cooking, which we anticipate will be wonderful for spring glamping. This is not so much of a heat source, but it complements the BBQ and gas ring for great campfire cooking. The smell of woodsmoke and hot coffee and the sight of bacon and eggs sizzling away on the campstove while you listen to the birds and enjoy the sun’s low angled rays warming the whole deck is a magnificent way to start a spring day.
We now have a firepit and have added a guitar and some binoculars to the items in our family Friesian safari tent, which we think will add immensely to the ambience for small families and groups to toast marshmallows, swap stories and have a general sing-a-long around the campfire.
Glamping in Summer (December, January, February)
The long, warm, sunny, dry days of summer are simply wonderful for lazing in a hammock, playing croquet on the lawn, strolling down to the river or just chilling on the deck with a glass of wine over a BBQ.
The sights and sounds of the bush are glorious as all the wildlife like the little pikawakawaka birds flutter around us on our walks. They know that humans disturb the leaf litter with their boots, turning over leaves to expose tasty little grubs and insects. The eels in the dam come up for bread that we scatter on the water and the long summer nights make glamping a sheer delight.
We opened our doors for glamping guests on December 21st last year, so we are looking forward to celebrating this important anniversary and to continuously seeking to make our guests ever more comfortable while helping them appreciate a slower way of life, enjoy good company and revel in the natural beauty all around.
Glamping in Autumn (March, April, May)
We were very fortunate to be hosting guests every weekend and for many weekdays during April and May. These autumnal months also happen to be the best planting season for us and we took the opportunity between guests to begin planting up our glamp site with lots of New Zealand native flax, bushes and grasses. We currently have two luxury glamping tents (Friesian safari and Angus bell) and will shortly have three (Dexter bell). The tents are a fair distance apart, about 30 – 40 metres. In order to get the heavy machinery in to establish the site, erect the tents and put in the plumbing etc, the site needed to be clear. Eventually however, we want each tent to be fully obscured from each other by a fantastic bush setting, so that each tent has its own secluded area. The plants we have chosen will complement the natural bush that already surrounds our glamp site. For example, we have planted a number of Manuka (tea tree) which are common on our land and will underplant the big mature Kanuka stands that are coming to the end of their natural lives. We have chosen several varieties of Hebe, New Zealand’s evergreen soft flowering bushes as well as flaxes and red grasses. Over the next few years, these should all grow to a nice dense 2metre high planting that attracts butterflies, native birds like Tuis and of course the native bees that are so essential to our eco-system for pollination and the health of the bush.
This year has definitely proved that glamping is a highlight for all year round. We are so pleased we remained open during autumn and winter and look forward to welcoming guests during spring and summer.