Elisabeth Easther stays at Karaka Cottage, Waiorongomai Station, South Wairarapa.

Getting there:

It's on the Remutaka Cycle Trail so most people arrive by bike, taking about seven or so hours from Petone. Ride along the Hutt River, up over the Remutaka ranges and down to Lake Wairarapa (the third largest lake in New Zealand).

Check-in experience: Letting yourself in, your arrival will be overseen by Lulu, the house cow, and a few sheep. Proprietor Karla may also be on hand to greet you; in winter, the fire will be blazing.


The rooms: There's one bunkroom and two bedrooms with three single beds, all super-cosy. Sleeping a maximum of 10, Karaka Cottage is one of three houses you can rent at Waiorongomai Station.

Bathroom: A shower and separate loo — all you need, simple and clean.

Toiletries: Hand soap, all else is BYO.

Food and drink: Either Karla can provide tasty meals you cook yourself, or you can self-cater. Whatever you choose, the kitchen is well equipped.

Local history: Waiorongomai Station has been in the Matthews family for seven generations and you can sense the pride. To learn more, read the cottage's copy of Waiorongomai: The Land and the People by Linda Thornton. Well written and genuinely interesting.

Snug as a bug: The cottage is beautifully presented from the golden floorboards to the upcycled furniture. Rustic, elegant, welcoming.

The neighbourhood: You're right in the middle of country, so there's no nipping down the local pub; save that for Martinborough. Instead you've got peace, tranquillity and birdlife.

Devoted: Consecrated in 1927, Waiorongomai All Saints Church appears just before you get to the cottage and is like something from a postcard.


Minibar: Tea and coffee are provided but stronger beverages are your responsibility.

Entertainment: There's no television, hooray! But there is a radio, so why not make your own fun with conversation, reading or cards.

Floral tribute: Vases of flowers in all the rooms make for a homely feeling.

Value for money: Just $50 a night per person.

Fully woke: Dawn here is spectacular and the fire quick to coax back to life. Quardle oodle ardle, the magpies said.

Contact: waiorongomai.co.nz
Perfect for: Single cyclists and larger groups, family reunions, country weddings, getting away from it all.

The verdict: Cycle disciples will love the newest addition to the Remutaka Cycle Trail.