Though it’s not one for regular Saturday morning, this rates as one of the finest breakfast venues we’ve seen. Rumbling into the perfectly coiffed driveway in our beaten up hire car, we were a hotel’s worst nightmare – grubby, tent-laden and skint. Nevertheless, the staff at Hapuku Lodge welcomed us with an ingenious mix of informality and attention to our every want and need, while subtly offering us the use of their laundry service as soon as we’d found our room.
Kaikoura itself isn’t much to look at, with a strip of tourist shops, off licenses and shifty looking skateboarders hanging around the (one) street corner. Hapuku, however, is a wonder: there are six treehouse lodges that have been built to take in the incredible views, with balconies on either side for sunrise and sunset. From the rooms on the highest ‘bough’ you can see both the snow-topped mountains and the sea, though it would take keener eyes than mine to spot the sperm whales which make this such a popular spot to visit.
Amongst joys such as a stocked woodburner, coffee grinders for fresh coffee beans, self-heating jacuzzi baths, a DVD library and a fridge stocked with beer, there’s also some very fine food. Breakfast was as local as you can get, with eggs from their own hens, olive oil from their own groves and home-smoked bacon and salmon; the water even comes from their own well. Having been spoiled in their restaurant the night before, I opted for porridge that was perfectly cooked, the Egg Poacher’s eggs were declared ‘divine’ and the spread of fresh breads, pastries and tropical fruits were every hungry backpacker’s dream.
Price: B&B from $600 per night.