We very much enjoyed our stay. Beds were comfortable and linen to a high standard. Everything you need is provided ( with the exception of free wifi - so we used data). The hosts were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable about Stewart Island and in particular the flora and fauna. Peter is an ex ranger and knows Ulva Island like the back of his hand. He and Iris picked us up, dropped us off and were happy to pick us up after walks. The house is shared with others but you do have your own ensuite and while there is a shared kitchen and lounge we enjoyed getting to know the other guests. A few games of 500 and a joint New Year Celebration was had. Most of the Island this time had kiwi tourists which was really great and unusual. We all got to appreciate our own backyard and to learn about things we take for granted. Thanks Peter and Iris you are treasures! Oh yes and we saw a real kiwi i( feathered kind) in daylight! …
We had several problems/issues arise with both the listing and the hosts for this lodging: 1. The lodge was advertised as having free wifi in all areas. This is wrong. They do not provide wifi at all, but instead refer you to a company that charges. 2. Our room was listed as a king room where it was actually two (very soft) single beds, each with their own linens. The beds kept sliding around, and we were constantly falling into the gap! We felt misled. When we tried to raise this concern with our host, he did not apologize or express any regret for the misleading listing. In fact, when we suggested that it might be a good idea to change the wording in the website description for future bookings, he became hostile and angry. (Note: The hosts changed the listing description on at least one site just after we left, so even though we were treated poorly, apparently at least it sunk in.) 3. The check-in process lasted over an hour, not including the transport from the flight. The other host sat us down and gave a painfully detailed lecture about the kitchen, the toaster, the cooker, the thermostat, how to dial an emergency number, etc. It was really overkill. We hadn't eaten yet, and by the time it was over, all of the restaurants in town had closed for lunch. 4. The booking includes a half-day trip to the Ulva Island bird reserve. However, when we contacted the host the night before, we were told--not asked--what day and time our Ulva tour would happen. He didn't ask us whether we had any other bookings that might have conflicted with this. (FYI, it is only a NZ$20 return ferry ride to Ulva island, so an independent trip is easy.) 5. The listing says there is a 2.5% surcharge for credit card payments. We contacted the host the night before arrival to confirm our stay, and mentioned we were planning to pay cash to avoid the surcharge. He thought about it for a second, then told us he would not accept cash! Every other place we stayed in NZ accepted cash, and most preferred cash. The listing did not indicate this issue at all. The surcharge added almost $40 to our bill. (We also noticed that another reviewer also had a bad experience with the host when they raised this payment issue .... we were apparently lucky that our reservation wasn't actually cancelled!) 6. Last, the hosts encourage guests to feed a threatened species of bird (the kaka) on the porch, directly against Department of Conservation (DoC) guidelines and widespread signage in town imploring people to *not* feed the birds (“A fed bird is a dead bird”). Even the healthiest human food is not their natural diet and it habituates them to humans, which makes them less safe. If you care about conservation, you will likely find it upsetting to see wild, protected animals acting so unnaturally and begging for food. Overall, these outright misrepresentations in the listing, and the host’s unfriendly and even hostile reaction to our raising them, really soured our experience. There are better options on Stewart Island--do yourself a favor and avoid Kowhai Lane Lodge.…
Cancelled reservation when asked if payment arrangement can be done differently to avoid the card surcharge which at 2.5% for $2k. If alternative payment is not acceptable then say just so and we can decide if we are ok to pay the surcharge or cancel the rsvn. There is no harm asking as it is a question and not one where the guests insists.
Peter and Iris have created an outstanding holiday home. Peter meet us and delivered us to the start of track. Every bedroom has its own magic . With a good size kitchen and 2 lounges there is plenty of room for groups to spread out as our group of 6 did. The added bonuses of the wonderful deck looking over the township, keruru roosting in the garden trees and cheeky kaka popping in for a piece of apple added to the magic. Peter taking us to Ulva Island was a wonderful extra addition.
We stayed 3 nights in the self catering apartment which was cosy, well equipped and very comfortable. Peter met us from the ferry and took us on a short trip around the main area of Oban before taking us to Kowhai Lodge where we were greeted by Iris his wife. Despite the rain the half day trip to Ulva island with Peter was extremely interesting as was the 2hr trip around the island.
We stayed for 4 nights and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The self catering rooms are en suite and share a kitchen plus 2 large lounges. They are well equipped and our hosts did everything they could to make our stay enjoyable. There are a number of cafes eat in town and the supermarket is pretty well stocked for DIY catering.
We spent three nights at Kowhai Lane and really enjoyed it. Comfortable bed, hot shower, lovely views, use of a kitchen and 2 lounge areas. Iris and Peter were friendly and most accommodating, and Peter's tour of Ulva Island was excellent. Highly recommended.
Spend a few days here with Peter and Iris Tait as your hosts, and you won't want to leave. From the time Peter collected us from the ferry until when he dropped us back, they were there when we needed them and in the background when we wanted time to just soak in the atmosphere by ourselves. We had 2 of the 4 rooms in Kowhai Lodge, both with ensuite and so clean you could eat from any surface. Our rooms were beautifully appointed, quiet and with views down to Oban and the bay. Everything had been thought of - from apples to feed the Kaka sitting on the deck railing, to torches for kiwi-spotting, and ample suggestions of how to spend your time. Their guided trip trip to Ulva Island (see separate review) was exceptional. Very highly recommended.
From the time you get off the ferry or plane, Peter and Iris will help you enjoy what Stewart Island has to offer. Kowhai Lane Lodge is comfortable, clean, and well-equipped. The view is superb. Make sure to book the Ulva Island tour. Peter has extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna. Far more than a nature walk! The Taits will take care of restaurant bookings and make sure you get to go kiwi spotting with the right guide! Book in advance!
We had a lovely two days staying here and Peter & Iris made us very welcome. Nothing was too much trouble. I'm sure that if they could have improved the weather, they would have done. The accommodation was excellent, everything we needed, comfy bed, great amenities and tastefully decorated. Such a lovely place and a lovely couple who are only too happy to share their knowledge and advice with you to ensure you have a memorable stay.