The Day We Found Blue Duck Lodge

For those of you living in New Zealand or planning a trip to New Zealand Blue Duck Lodge is one special place you need to experience.

Great hospitality from Dan the manager of Blue Duck Lodge

Out one night having a couple of beers a friend of a friend said you should look up this place called Blue Duck Lodge. So naturally I got online and found they had a great website that clearly showed the natural beauty of the place and the host of activities on offer. We gathered and we headed deep into the central north island of New Zealand to see what this place was all about.

We arrived and were greeted by Dan Steele who is in charge down that way. At this stage Dan was basically a one man band running the farm, building lodges and looking after guests. We learnt a huge amount about the conservation he is committed to, the history of the area, all the activities on offer and on the last night how to dance on the table whilst looking like a stag!

Off the beaten track

The Blue Duck Lodge 4WD Eco tour is a great activity and one everyone can get involved with. We got the full tour of the farm which involves 4WD Polaris style motorbikes, gumboots and some really cool old huts that were built by hand by the first farmers and lots more interesting things along the way, like how the old paddle boat would bring supplies in and out, where the horse and cart tracks were and Maori Pa sites. As a bonus we managed to catch a pig out the back of the farm and cooked him up for dinner.

Horse trekking for the girls

The remote bush gorges offer great habitat for the Blue Duck and native bats which you can see at certain times. There is a large scale working programme in place for pest eradication and Blue Duck protection which Dan tells you about. These gorges also provide canoe and  jet boat options plus fly and spin fishing for trout.

Kayaking in a remote gorge

After the farm tour the boys went off for a hunt and the girls went for a horse trek down to the old supply hut. There are plenty of goats around so we did our bit for the environment and permanently removed a few. There is no wastage though and these goats were taken back to the kitchen and formed the main ingredient of our goat curry for dinner. Later that night we managed to claim a deer under the spotlight which was a bonus. I also guided a friend onto catch his first trout directly below the lodge we were staying in.

The next day we went for a short kayak in a remote gorge below a decent size waterfall. It felt like we were in dinosaur country. This is some pretty remote country! Just above the waterfall was a pair of Blue Ducks. It was amazing to see a live pair in the wild after learning so much about them.

We felt like we were just settling in when it was time to leave and head back to Auckland. The girls were a bit reluctant to head down in the beginning but come the last day we had to drag them home.

Soon after the visit, Blue Duck Lodge was added to the Stray New Zealand itinerary and it quickly became the top rated stop on the circuit. Stray Travellers love the opportunity to experience this wonderful natural playground and meet Dan who is a kiwi legend. You will be very well looked after, learn a lot and have life long memories of this special place.

Blue Duck Lodge is a “Strademark Place”.  Strademark Places are the places that Stray Travel goes that are off the beaten track. They embody Stray’s values and ethos as an adventurous, off the beaten track, travel operator.

Put simply, if they carry the ‘Strademark’ stamp they are what makes Stray stand out from the crowd and are not to be missed!


Get to Blue Duck Station with Stray! 

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Travel Mate (guest blogger)

Have you travelled on a Stray tour in New Zealand, Australia or Asia? How about creating a blog post about your experience? Or are you a frequent traveller and want to add your travel knowledge to our travel blog? Get in touch. We welcome relevant guest posts.

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