A Funky A-Frame Resort for Adventure Travelers in New Zealand
Classic architecture, stunning terrain, and mellow prices make the Wonderland Makarora Lodge a bucket list stop for travelers not afraid to rough it
Wonderland Makarora Lodge
Field Mag's benevolent overlord, formerly of the PNW and now residing in NYC. We apologize in advance for his many mispellings.
Modern A-Frames, mobile micro cabins, shou sugi ban boxes, and off-grid eco retreats. It’s. All. Good. But at the end of the day, many of the cabins featured here on Field Mag are luxe private properties inaccessible to the average Joe (myself very much included). Which. Isn’t. That. Cool. So, for this week’s slice of architectural inspiration we’re psyched to shine some light on the Wonderland Makarora Lodge, a long running public resort on the remote South Island of New Zealand.
Set in the forest at the mouth of the Makarora Valley and the foot of the Southern Alps, surrounded by rivers, lakes, mountains, and a handful of renowned trekking trails—plus the nearby Blue Pools glacier river—the family-run resort features a dozen or so funky little A-Frame cabins of varying size, color, and style. And best of all, each cabin is available for rent for between $71 and $122 USD a night.
Sure, a few of the cabins could use a fresh coat of paint, and the grounds are far from luxe (and you might want to get a tetanus shot before touching those sheet metal roofs), but this is New Zealand after all, a land of wild weather, unimaginable terrain, and prehistoric animals, so that’s all pretty much par for the course. There, your on your own. Which makes everything feel just a little bit more exciting.
And for the record, I actually quite like the patina affecting the property as a whole. The aging architecture feels well loved. But not entirely lived in—interiors are crisp and clean of course. Think of it like your old favorite hiking boots. A shine may make them look more at home in the city, but among the dirt on the trail, they’re exactly how they should be.
Though it’s no small feat to get to En Zed, and the Makarora is still an hour drive from world famous adventure town Wanaka (and four hours from Dunedin, a picturesque coastal college town this very writer once called home for a few seasons), once on the ground all will have been worth it. Intriguing architecture blended with affordable prices and a breathtaking location. What’s not to love?
Looking for more nature-focused resorts? Check out British Columbia's beautiful Bodega Cove cedar cabins.