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Grasmere Lodge ****

State Highway 73-Cass-Canterbury-Private Bag 55009

 

Grasmere LodgePanoramic View

Historic Grasmere Lodge, nestled in the mountains of New Zealand's South Island, is a country retreat of unrivalled charm and distinction.

This traditional New Zealand high country station ranch, set amid towering 7000 ft peaks, is a haven for those in need of relaxation and a wonderland for those seeking a more adventurous interlude. For the discerning guest or traveller, Grasmere Lodge offers the highest level of hospitality in a wild and invigorating landscape.

The original wing of Grasmere Lodge was built of limestone in 1858. The present owner, Oliver Newbegin, has extended the Lodge to create a memorable retreat.



History

The Hotel named the Guest Rooms after former owners of this historic farm. The homestead is one of the oldest-inhabited in the high country and, like most of them, has enlarged and altered. The original two Room cob-and-slab hut built in 1858 is still contained within the larger house, faced with limestone from the rocks at nearby Castle Hill. The Upper Waimakariri Basin was first explored in 1857, by Joseph Pearson from England's Lake District. The lake visible from the front door here reminded him of Lake Grasmere there, hence the name. Nearby Lake Sarah is named after his wife. Pearson took up land in the area himself, after burning off the tussockland so that sheep could graze on the new grass.

His employer Joseph Hawdon settled on what became Grasmere Station, when he moved to New Zealand that year from Australia, where he had been a notable explorer and pioneer. Originally he hailed from Durham, also in the north of England. Pearson named another nearby lake, Marymere, after Joseph's wife. The Hawdons built that first hut, and would have had no easy life. Later the station ownership passed to Joseph's son Arthur, and he built the stone part of the house when he married in 1872. His wife was Elizabeth Barker, best known for being the first white baby born after the settlers arrived in Canterbury in 1850. Unfortunately, a declining economy cost the family the station in 1876, and it passed, like many others, into the hands of Dalgety and Company, a stock and station firm. They sold it to John Sim in 1898, and Sealy Rutherford bought it from him in 1903. He added Cora Lynn Station next door in 1907, but struck trouble in 1917 when the University of Canterbury leases came up for auction. In 1873 the Crown had granted Canterbury College an endowment of 26,000 hectares, comprising the Grasmere and original Craigieburn and Avoca high country runs. The pastoral leases are now granted for a term of 33 years, with perpetual rights of renewal.

Back then, such properties were in high demand, and Rutherford couldn't afford the final bid of £800 a year, so Grasmere's leasehold land went to Joseph Studholme and Walter McAlpine, who already had neighbouring Mount White and Craigieburn Stations. Rutherford was left with the Grasmere freehold around the homestead, and Cora Lynn. He sold this a few years later to Walter Taylor and Harry Faulker, and in 1927 they bought back the Grasmere lease from Studholme and McAlpine. They ran the station in conjunction with another farm down-country, which provided winter grazing for the sheep. Taylor was a wool-scourer from Timaru, and in 1930 the falling price of wool forced the partnership to sell out to David McLeod and Leslie Orbell. McLeod was a Cambridge graduate, but he came to New Zealand in 1925 and spent four years learning what it takes to be a high country shepherd. After a brief trip Home trying to borrow family money to buy a farm here, he found a partner in Orbell, who was from a well-established farming family in South Canterbury. Later he bought out Orbell, and spent the next 40 years at Grasmere, which at one stage covered 60,000 acres 24,000 hectares.

In 1970, David McLeod handed on the farm to his son Ian, who ran it till 1978, when he sold it to Dugal Harcourt. Oliver bought the Grasmere freehold of 1500 acres 607 hectares in 1988. As well as farming, David McLeod wrote many books about life on the station, most of which are in library if you want to find out more. He writes with great passion for the land, and the books of yarns can be read a little at a time if you're not here long enough to finish one. Totally committed to the high country, David was heavily involved in founding the South Island High Country Committee, to represent high country concerns to the government, and later chaired the committee. He was also chairman of the Tussock Grasslands and Mountain Lands Institute until 1973.

David came to visit us each year at Grasmere, and he understood the need for farms to diversify these days. We were proud to have his blessing, and he was glad to see us provide a way for more people to come to know this wonderful region. He died in Christchurch in May 2000, two weeks before his 98th birthday. Today the farm specialises in breeding ultra-fine-wool Merino sheep 14-17 micron. About 1000 ewes and 50 rams provide lambs which are sold at about six months old to down-country farmers. The farm property also has 100 breeding cows, Hereford and Aberdeen Angus (the black ones). The calves are sold before winter, to be fattened by Canterbury Plains farmers for beef. A herd of deer provides venison (Cervena) for the restaurant market and the stags' antler velvet is exported for medicine and tonics in the Far East.

Grasmere LodgeRoomGrasmere LodgeJunior SuiteGrasmere LodgePanoramic ViewGrasmere LodgeLoungeGrasmere LodgeExterior View
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Additional Information

The Grasmere Lodge situated on State Highway 73, 120 km west of Christchurch and 30 km east of Arthur's Pass Village, near Cass.

These days guests prefer larger bedrooms than when Grasmere was established in 1858, and accommodation has been purpose-built in several newer buildings. Every guest room at Grasmere Lodge has a king bed or two single beds, two armchairs and a coffee table, CD player with Ipod dock, minibar, wi-fi, a work desk and chair. Each private patio or deck has two outdoor chairs for enjoying the views and fresh mountain air. A selection of teas, freshly ground coffee, home-baked cookies and port is also provided in each room. The tiled ensuite bathrooms feature a jacuzzi bath, separate glass shower, double vanities, thick bathrobes, hairdryer, and nightlight. They have underfloor heating and demisting mirrors. Each room has original artworks inspired by the landscape outside, and is decorated in the rich colours of the tussock-covered hills.

Grasmere Lodge

This building was added in 1998 and extended in 2000, designed with the early colonial farmhouse style in mind. Breakfast and lunch are usually served here in the Verandah restaurant, taking full advantage of all-day sun and great views. The lounge is perfect for chatting with other guests over afternoon tea, or finding a quiet corner and a good book on the mezzanine. Feel free to stay in practice at the grand piano, or to stay in touch with home with the complimentary internet access.

  • Lake View Deluxe Rooms

The six lake view deluxe rooms in the Lodge building were added in 1998 and 2000. Each measures 37 square metres (400 square feet), and has a view over the lawn and deer farm, to Lake Grasmere and the Puketeraki mountains in the distance.

  • Grasmere Junior Suite

Two lake view deluxe rooms are interconnecting. Another connects to the Grasmere Junior Suite. This room is 65 square metres (700 square feet), with a "sink-into-me" sofa and armchairs in front of the schist fireplace, and a walk-in wardrobe.

Mountain View Chalet

The Chalet is a short walk from the Homestead, set amongst well-established pine trees for shelter, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is built in a Colorado alpine style, clad in cedar with copper spouting. Each junior suite can be booked individually and has separate outside access. Alternatively, a central lounge or Great Room measuring 54 square metres (580 square feet) can be combined with one or both downstairs rooms. The lounge has an eight-metre (26 feet) high beamed ceiling, with leather sofas seating eight, arranged in front of the huge log fireplace of stunning South Island West Coast schist. Internal access to the lounge is available if the upstairs rooms are booked by the same party.

  • Mountain View Junior Suite

The four Mountain View Junior Suites in the Mountain Chalet are 48 square metres (500 square feet) each, with their own gas fireplace and butler’s pantry (wetbar), as well as all the features of Grasmere’s other rooms. Each junior suite can be booked individually and has separate outside access. Alternatively, a central lounge or Great Room measuring 54 square metres (580 square feet) can be combined with one or both downstairs rooms to form the Chalet Suite.

  • Mountain View Chalet Suite

The Chalet is a short walk from the Homestead, set amongst well-established pine trees for shelter, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.It is built in a Colorado alpine style, clad in cedar with copper spouting. The four mountain view junior suites are 48 square metres (500 square feet) each, with their own gas fireplace and butler’s pantry (wetbar), as well as all the features of Grasmere’s other rooms. A central lounge or Great Room measuring 54 square metres (580 square feet) combines with one or both downstairs rooms to form the Chalet Suite. The lounge has an eight-metre (26 feet) high beamed ceiling, with leather sofas seating eight, arranged in front of the huge log fireplace of stunning South Island West Coast schist. A TV and video/DVD player is available. This is a perfect combination for two (or more) couples travelling together, or a family. Internal access to the lounge is available if the upstairs rooms are booked by the same party.

Riverview Cottage

New in 2004, the Riverview Cottage has enormous windows to take full advantage of its sweeping views down the Cass River and across to the Puketeraki Range. With a full lounge between the two junior suite bedrooms, this can be taken by one couple that enjoys space and privacy, or is perfect for two couples or a family. The snug has leather armchairs, books, TV with satellite connection and video/DVD player and CD player with Ipod dock, to provide a cosy hideaway in front of the double-sided log fireplace in cooler weather. The Cottage can be booked by only one party at a time.


 

  • Heated outdoor Swimming pool
  • Fireplace
General

Restaurants Sports Meeting Rooms Mountain Ski Sports Nearby Horseback Riding Diving Centre Indoor Swimming Pool

Rooms

Internet Access Bathroom with Shower or Bathtub Hairdryer Music System Mini Bar Jacuzzi

The Grasmere Lodge is proud to offer an experience of refinement and pleasure in a setting that will long be remembered for its seclusion and beauty. Open fireplaces dominate the large panelled lounge and den where guests can meet for a drink and swap adventure tales. The fine cuisine of Grasmere Lodge uses the best local ingredients including venison, beef, lamb and salmon. Trout caught by guests often features on the menu along with seasonal delicacies such as West Coast whitebait and Kaikoura crayfish lobster. The lodge has an extensive cellar of award-winning New Zealand wines.

Hotel Policies
Check-in

From 12:00 hours

Check-out

Until 10:00 hours

 
 

 

 
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