Queenstown’s MajorDomo brings Mahu Whenua Ridgeline Homestead & Eco Sanctuary to the luxury international tourism market

7th November 2016

A new luxury accommodation, eco and wildlife experience in New Zealand is being launched this summer.

Queenstown-based accommodation and concierge company MajorDomo is introducing an exclusive-use hosted experience at the Mahu Whenua Ridgeline Homestead & Eco Sanctuary to the luxury international tourism market.

It will feature rustic yet stylish accommodation sleeping up to 12 guests and an array of private guided and hosted experiences at Mahu Whenua – over 550 square km (200 square miles) of stunning high country owned by globally-recognised record producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange.

Situated near Wanaka in the stunning Southern Lakes area of the South Island, not only is this some of New Zealand’s most beautiful land, its allure for visitors will be in the richness of the story of Mahu Whenua.

Mahu Whenua consists of four high country sheep stations – Motatapu, Mt Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak – stretching between Wanaka and Queenstown.

Lange’s vision has been to regenerate the land. While introducing sustainable farming practices he has started an extensive plant regeneration and native bird breeding programme.

This programme has been an enormous success. To ensure this continues, more than 90% of the land is protected by covenants (Queen Elizabeth the Second Trust), making it the largest conservation undertaking on private land in New Zealand’s history. Mahu Whenua aptly translates to “Healing the Land”.

This land and its homestead and cottages are set amongst glacial valleys, mountains, alpine lakes, bush, forest and meandering rivers.

Now MajorDomo – an award-winning company providing luxury holiday accommodation and concierge experiences around New Zealand – is launching Mahu Whenua to high-end visitors from around the globe.

The MajorDomo team has worked to create experiences for guests that coincide with Mutt’s long term vision. 

MajorDomo co-owners Lisa Hayden and Fiona Stevens said it was “an honour” to introduce Mutt’s “gift to the world” to like-minded guests who would appreciate the environmental programmes.

“While small areas of the land are currently open to walkers, runners or bikers on high ridge trails, there are tens of thousands of hectares that are 100% private to guests, making this a truly exclusive and unique experience,” said Lisa Hayden.

“After much deliberation, Mutt decided earlier this year to open up the homestead and station to like-minded guests who will now be able to share his vision and the environmental programmes that are in place to preserve and improve this land in perpetuity.

“We’ve worked with him on developing the Ridgeline Homestead as a fully hosted, rustic yet modern lodge which sleeps up to eight guests, together with two separate guest cottages accommodating an additional four guests.

“It’s hugely exciting news for the luxury tourism industry especially as the demand for this type of experience is very high for our client base.”

Fiona Stevens said, “Guests could revel in this conservation hideaway for the duration of their stay and never see another soul on the property, apart from those who are there to ensure they get the most out of their experience.

“The beauty of Mahu Whenua is that while it bears all the hallmarks of an extremely remote location, it’s only a fifteen-minute drive out of Wanaka township. Once you’re on the property you are surrounded by rolling vistas, immense mountains, grand rivers and pristine lakes, making it a haven of privacy and exclusivity.

“All stays will be fully hosted with experienced guides on hand for our guided activities, New Zealand chefs to cater exceptional cuisine, and a wine list filled with the very best local wines.”

Bespoke holidays at the property will be managed and supported by one of MajorDomo’s experienced concierges.

Guided onsite experiences will include horse trekking, overnight stays at shepherds’ cottages around the station, heli-skiing, mountain biking, 4wd adventures, farm tours, picnics alongside pristine alpine rivers, backcountry touring and wellness experiences such as yoga.

Guests will also be encouraged to watch or engage in conservation practices such as replanting areas with native trees, and learn about the native weka and pukeko breeding programmes. If they’re lucky, they can even give the pukekos or wekas their evening meal!

Off site, it’s just a short distance to Milford Sound and exploring the Fiordland region. A guide can catch crayfish and cook it on a mountain top for guests’ lunch. Hunting and fishing are additional optional off site activities.

While the four stations have been significantly dedicated to conservation, it remains a working high country sheep station, giving visitors the chance to immerse themselves in farm life.

“We believe our guests will truly feel some ‘ownership’ of the environmental work that’s underway at Mahu Whenua,” said Lisa Hayden.

“Our Mahu Whenua guests will range from adventurous and fun-loving ‘doers’ to those who prefer a luxury retreat in supreme exclusivity. We’re looking forward to welcoming many ‘multigenerational travelers’ of grandparents, grown-up children and children to the property as we think it’s perfect for this market. It offers complete flexibility, privacy and tailored activities ideal for all ages.

“It’s also likely to attract groups of friends travelling together, those looking for the perfect location for a small and exclusive destination event, wellness retreats and corporate groups.

“While our primary target is groups likely to stay for three nights or more, the property may also be open at certain times of the year for boutique off-peak day visitors attending a product launch or as part of a corporate or incentive trip.”

Mutt said visitors to Mahu Whenua would help accelerate the healing process already taking place on the land after the ravages of grazing, mining and rabbits since the 19th century.

“This was a land that time forgot, but through truly sustainable farming, with economic and ecological elements working in harmony, we’re healing a land that many felt had been lost forever,” he said. “I hope visitors enjoy it as much as I do.”

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