74. The luxury of exclusivity at Cascade Creek Retreat
In New Zealand’s indigenous language of te reo Māori, tiaki means ‘to care for people and place’, and the country’s invitation for travellers to take the ‘Tiaki Promise’ inspires visitors to ‘care for the land, sea and nature, treading lightly and leaving no trace’: here is No. 73 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
Just 45 minutes’ drive from Dunedin/Ōtepoti, Cascade Creek Retreat is the passion project of Janene and Dave Divers who have set aside a slice of their 2000-hectare farm in the Clutha region of the South Island/Te Waipounamu for those wanting a retreat from the everyday with some serious eco credentials. The Divers combined their talents in tourism (Janene previously worked in travel in New Zealand and overseas) and woodworking (Dave spent time living in and building log cabins in Canada), and indulged their love of the outdoors, to create their self-contained log cabin where having the retreat all to yourself provides the ultimate luxury of experience. There is no internet, no mobile reception and no TV. The property is powered by solar and hydro power, with gas for cooking, and was constructed using as many natural and recycled materials as possible.
Dave created fittings and furniture including all doors, bedheads, mirrors and the mantelpiece over the fireplace from recycled timbers; many of the windows came from the local high school during its renovation (after being reglazed with double glazing to improve heat retention). The fire poker is made from steel from an old tramcar on the farm. Once settled in, guests can enjoy the blissful remove of the cabin, looking out to bush views, walking past babbling creeks and over verdant farmlands, and listening to the chatter from the likes of bellbirds and tūīs. While there, you can cater for yourself with provisions collected along your travels, or opt to book a stay-and dine package that will see either self-prepared meals delivered to the door or a chef arrive to cook for you, all from locally sourced ingredients, of course.