Windsor Lodge was founded in 1958 by Mr Francis Carter who had emigrated from England a couple of years prior. What would have been considered a huge risk (building the first true motel in NZ) back in those days has turned into a testament to the vision. We are situated just by the Great Lake Taupo about half-way between Auckland and Wellington.
We are by the world famous Waitahanui River, a mecca for fly-fishing enthusiasts the world over. Within easy reach of all the eastern Taupo rivers, this is a great place to set up base and check out a different river each day.
Mr Carter's courage.
The original accommodation and residence still stands and has retained it's commitment to the community. Whilst Hosts have come and gone over the years, the spirit of the Carters lives on; we as the incumbent hosts have committed to preserving the history and ensuring that the Lodge continues to be a part of Waitahanui into the future.
In August 2008, the Lodge celebrated it's Jubilee; 50 years of service is an enviable record in hospitality!
Windsor Lodge is situated about 5-10 minutes south of Taupo in Waitahanui township. The lodge is is a couple of minutes walk across the road to the shores of Lake Taupo. It is a nice distance away from town to get a rural relaxed feeling but close enough to pop into town when needed. It is also in a perfect spot to explore the central North Island of New Zealand, around National Park etc.
From the moment we made the initial contact with Rich and Sandy (the owners of the lodge) we felt important and that they enjoyed looking after their visitors. I got an email to tell me what facilities they have and what the weather was like down there at the time. They also suggested bringing clothes for all weather as it can change quite quickly down there. Towels were recommended for use in the local hot pools.
When we arrived, Rich showed us to our unit. He did simple things that made us at home, like filling the kettle with water and turning it on for us. The facilities were basic (and the decor dated) but it was just perfect for a family get away with my husband and two young children. There was a kitchenette with microwave, oven, fridge and all the back utensils you would expect. The draw card for us was the fact that it was a two bedroom unit and the kitchen/living area was separate. This meant that we could put the children to bed and we could sit up for a bit. We hadn't thought about asking about how big the second room was as our daughter is still in a portacot. The portacot wouldn't fit in the second bedroom and the bed bases were permanent. We had to put her into our room. It worked out fine in the end! The main bedroom had a queen bed and the other room had two small single beds. Linen and towels were included. Sky TV was available in the unit. The lodge had a little shop attached which is perfect for picking up bits and pieces that have been forgotten when packing. They also have a variety of different accommodation options available - tourist cabins, backpacker cabins and powered caravan sites.
When we came back from a busy day exploring National Park, we came back to the Lodge and Rich came out with some slushy drinks for the kids. The kids had never had anything like it and they loved them. What I loved was the fact that they thought about the fact that it would have been a full on day for the kids and something cold might just do the trick to relax them after a long car trip on a hot day.
A short stroll over to the shore of the lake allowed for a lovely chance for the children to paddle in calm safe water, while we sat close by. There was lots of pumice stone to make creations out of and I enjoyed carving out names into some stones for our garden.
He aha te mea nui? He tangata. He tangata. He tangata. What is the most important thing? It is people, it is people, it is people. That is so true in the hospitality industry. A lovely experience given to us by Rich and Sandy.
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)