One of the very first adventures I embarked on upon coming to New Zealand last December; was a visit to a stunning lodge based in Apiti, Manawatu in the North Island. Makoura Lodge hosted a spectacular day in which myself alongside a large group of friends attended, filled with an array of activities overlooking the stunning valleys and rich greenery of the countryside.
The family owned business provides a variety of services and functions such as wedding events, family and friendly holidays and retreats as well as a wide range of recreational and sporting activities. The area is located just outside of Palmerston North and overlooks a magnificent landscape; filled with exotic trees and of course, New Zealand’s scenic mountain views.
Having had the entire area booked specifically for us; we were met with a tremendous welcome and the staff’s incredible hosting. We kicked off the day with a photo scavenger hunt as we split into 2 large teams in competition against one another; which bought me back to basics as I haven’t really participated in family driven activities like that for so long! With the seemingly mild weather suddenly turning into torrential rain; it was rather amusing attempting to run outside without getting too soaking wet in order to capture the photos required.
Other activities in which we participated in included horseback riding through the gorgeous forests and valleys. It truly left me in awe; I had never seen hillsides and gorges so magnificent up close which honestly felt like magic. Alongside this, we played golf on the hills which I certainly failed at; missing the golf ball every time I attempted to hit it, as well as archery; which instead surprisingly, I was rather good at. Whilst normally I prefer to relax, I found these activities recharged me and reminded me of how fun it is to play!
I certainly encourage those in New Zealand to consider a fun retreat and to check out Makoura Lodge or other venues similar to this; and those not, to attempt to gather with loved ones somewhere where bonding through exploration and play is available.
(All photographs taken by myself.)
SOUTH SINAI – EGYPT (AUGUST, 2016)