What We Love
Sonos entertainment systems in all guest rooms
Free personal training sessions at the state-of-the-art gym
Guests are encouraged to roam the resort’s 4,000-acre farm
Picnic basket lunches
What To Know
- The most convenient way to reach this remote property is by helicopter
- The one-bedroom Shepherd’s Cottage has its own outdoor bathtub
- Phone reception is limited
- In lieu of a restaurant, meals are served in guest villas
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
Four secluded villas charm with dazzling home-away-from-home accents on a historic Banks Peninsula farm
The five-bedroom homestead at Annandale, a cloistered Kiwi escape, is arguably its most sought-after residence. Unlike the three other villa choices, which comprise an expansive family-friendly cottage (with space for 14 and its own pebble beach), a seductive ocean-side lair, and a more rustic cottage option, it’s the fully restored homestead that most expertly distills the farm’s turn-of-the-century origins. Here, you’ll catch glimpses of the 19th century across its heritage gardens, which include a Victorian fernery and a lemon orchard; the past also makes an appearance through the white wicker verandah furniture and the loft rooms, which are set inside the property’s original stables. The lounging options across the entire estate are seemingly endless, ranging from a sea-facing Jacuzzi to a balcony hot tub. Once you’ve had your fill of lazing and sea-gazing, kayak the sheltered waters of Pigeon Bay, hike along the area’s rolling hills, or hop aboard a nature cruise (you’ll likely spy dolphins and blue penguins). Then return to your pastoral villa, where a personal chef can whip up a farm-fueled, family-style feast that ends at your outdoor fire-pit with roasted marshmallows and a star-studded Southern Hemisphere sky.
In the Area
You’re in rural New Zealand, a rugged tableau of volcanic craters, stony outcrops, unpopulated farmland, and golden pastures. The nearest town of Akaroa, a former French colony known for its lively harbor-front promenade, is a 45-minute ride away. Four-wheel drives are strongly recommended, given the area’s rough and tumble terrain. Annandale prides itself on sustainable farming practices, sourcing all of its food, be it the shellfish for steamed lobster rolls or the cherries in their semi-freddos, from a 60-mile radius. Homestead tours remain one of the resort’s most popular onsite activities—if you’re especially lucky, you’ll score access to a sheep-shearing session.
How to Get There
My family and I had the pleasure of staying at the Homestead. It is utterly amazing. This was the most special family vacation we have ever experienced. The home and gardens are utterly incredible. We stayed for two nights and didn't want to leave. Our young children were as enchanted as we were by the magnificent gardens. In a lifetime of travel, this is the most spectacular place I have ever seen. Every luxury and detail was available. The gym and pool are amazing. The gym has top quality Life Fitness machines. The food is the best and all of it is organic and delicious. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed a cooking class with a teriffic world class chef. The staff went above and beyond to cater to our every need. The scenery and views are breathtaking. This is an absolute jewel and we are already contemplating a return visit.
My partner and I spent 3 nights at Shepherd's cottage in April and it was a lovely stay.
The cottage is set in seclusion with views over the bay and animals roaming the grounds and is the perfect place to relax away from city life.
The house is self contained with all the amenities you are likely to need for a couple of days away. The food is delivered each day and is restaurant quality, easy to prepare and also showcases some lovely local produce (including what we were told were vegetables grown in their own garden). My only negative around the food was that I did mention that I did not like fish and we got salmon on the first night so make sure you are clear about your dietary requirements, in particular if you have allergies).
The house itself is rustic and feels warm and cosy when you enter. We were generally very comfortable throughout our stay and had a great night sleep each night we were there however the lounge in sitting room is need of an upgrade. We found it very hard to sit there comfortably for a period of time and as you are likely to be in the house for a lot of your stay (as there is nowhere to go!) this was a bit disappointing. The house has books and games and also has wifi which was handy
The grounds around the house are great for walks, though it was hard to decipher where the walking tracks were from the maps provided. We ended up just walking along the road and then stumbled across one which went in the direction we wanted to go. It's great to see all the cows and sheep but it's also probably a good idea to keep an eye out and make sure you don't end up with the bulls.
The views from the Shepherd's cottage are absolutely stunning and looking out into the night sky was one of the highlights of our stay. A great place to unwind and relax for a few days
We spent three nights at Shepherds Cottage and thoroughly enjoyed our stay:
The staff were very friendly and the “reception experience” (including a guided tour of the kitchen garden) was excellent.
Location was exactly as expected – remote with stunning views and great walks.
Shepherd’s Cottage was lovely, well furnished (though a couple of comfy chairs in front of the fire would have been preferable so the slightly uncomfortable bench) and we loved having a roaring log fire on the one evening that required it.
Food, too, was very good – of a high standard and showing imagination and flair on the part of the chef.
But was it good value for money? We think not. We have had poor value for money at inexpensive venues and experienced excellent value for money at very expensive ones, but Annandale fell short on the VFM test.
We knew that we would leave our car “at the gate” and be driven (about half an hour) to Shepherd’s Cottage and – had we stayed for the minimum 2 nights – probably would not have expected need of additional transport, but since we were there for three nights we decided to take a trip to visit Akaroa on day three … and were charged $140 (about £72) for the return “taxi” journey between our car and the cottage. I can appreciate that they have to legislate against the “taxi” service being abused, but you would think that additional nights would warrant one additional “ferry” to reception (after all, you are hostage to their taxi fares).
That smacked of greed – and made us analyse the VFM ratio a little more closely: After-all, at $1500 per night you should expect perfection (and that is what their website promises).
We reported that the blue tooth speaker was faulty, but it wasn’t repaired or replaced.
We asked for additional milk (the breakfast milk bottle is miserly considering that it has to last until the following morning … and you can hardly pop out to the shops) this was delivered on day two but forgotten again on day three.
My wife is 5’4” (not an unusual height) but the complimentary mountain bikes supplied wouldn’t adjust to anywhere near a suitable saddle height, so were useless.
Considering that the primary leisure pursuit at Annandale is to walk and explore the estate, we weren’t provided with a map on arrival (because their printer was malfunctioning) and then were given a wholly inadequate low resolution A4 copy of a map which didn’t really help us to make the most of walking on the estate – although we thoroughly enjoyed our coastal walk, a decent map would have significantly enhanced the experience.
We’re not serial complainers (our other TripAdvisor reviews demonstrate this) and these might seem like petty criticisms (there were a few more minor irritations, too), but that $1500 per night price tag (and that additional transfer charge) suggests that Annandale should deliver perfection and makes me less inclined to turn a blind eye to its shortcomings.
Although we enjoyed our stay Annandale, it is overpriced for what is delivered – hence the average rating.