Good to be home. 2017 – 2018 Season

Hi everyone. I DO love Bluff. Not everything ,but then again who said things had to be perfect. Sometimes the wind can get to even me.
I wasn’t sure I could manage the place and I can’t on my own but with Kays great help when I am busy ,I think I can. I had a stroke late November last year and things would have been catastrophic if Kay hadn’t so ably filled the gap. If you visit and I am a bit staggery and speech is only fair i have not been on the turps as they say but am still recovering and apparently full recovery can take two years. I believe it.
I learn’t two things . Firstly I am not bullet proof and secondly you need good friends. Thanks Kay for filling in so ably for me.
I had a young guy from Chile called Erwin in a wee while back and he let his girl friend do most of the talking so I encouraged him to say more. He said , “Sorry , my English not so good.” I just looked at him and said ,But you can talk at least three different languages. I don’t talk so good in English and it is supposed to be my first language.” Well that had us laughing for some time.
I am looking forward to another season and I am not drunk if you should happen to call in the next wee while and my English is not so good. It will improve. Some might say it has to ! I do encourage my guests to give things a go even if their English is not the best. You will get better with practice.

Bluff Lodge has reopened for the 2016 -2017 Tourist Season

Well it is nice to be back in Bluff after being closed for the winter. I had a great break and did up the backpackers toilet /shower area , aka “The Swamp” which has done a great job over the last 20 years approx.
I thought hikers from Stewart Islands North West circuit and South West circuit sure needed a shower when they got back but I’m convinced some of the Te Araroa hikers could easily head them off for straight smelliness. That track is not for the faint hearted. Its hard yards and i admire all who do it. Kay started a roll of honour scrapbook where the walkers can record their names etc. It looks like this group is getting more numerous every year. The authorities are going to push to complete the Invercargill to Bluff road section ASAP which is excellent news as the road section is unpopular because of the heavy traffic volumes and the narrow road. Bring it on.
I have already had some great people stay . 15 female Otago female gymnasts and their support staff spent a week here while they competed at the NZ champs in Invercargill. They did extra well and were a pleasure to have around. It reminded me of my teaching days especially school camps.
I have been sorting through prospective woofers to give me a hand with the maintenance and busy season.
I have met and still correspond with some of these lovely young people from many different countries . I thank them for adding vtality and colour to the Lodge and my life.
Finally I would like to thank all the guests over the years who have entered into the cooperative spirit of backpacking by leaving the kitchen clean and tidy and restricting their shower time so the hot water lasts for everyone. Good on you.

Heres to a great season for guests and staff. I am looking forward to it.
Cheers, Lex

Lost Bookings

Hi to all. I have lost my bookings for the new season because of a computer problem.
If you happen to read this and have made a booking please ring or email me to confirm your booking.
Best wishes, Lex

Winter Closing 2016

I have closed for the winter and can hardly believe its already late July.
I will reopen late September or early October.
I have to thank all the nice people that I met during the season. Its a pleasure to meet
them on their adventures in NZ. Thank you to all the great woofers who stayed. They made such a difference to me when I was really busy.
It was a busy busy season and looks like it might be again.
I changed my computer programme and lost my calendar with all my bookings on it
in the process. The new programme wasn’t compatible with my version of calendar.
I am trying to retrieve the info but I am not holding my breath. If you happen to be looking at the website and booked from October onwards I would appreciate you ringing me to confirm your booking.
I am just trying to organise the redo of the shower / Toilet floor. The season starts with a book out of the whole lodge so it needs to be ready.
Looking forward to meeting the hard core adventurers who have completed the Te Araroa trail. What an epic effort. Something I’ll never do now.
I have spent some time looking at other backpackers within the South Island. I must get all the good ones because few guests leave the kitchen as tidy as mine do. Big thanks for that.
Bring it on. Cheers, Lex

Start of 2015 – 2016 season has arrived.

I  AM DEVASTATED. WHY you may well ask. Well my grandsons helped me get onto my website and I wrote a good blog for last season and let everyone know when I would be back. Thought I had successfully posted it. Probably had a smirk like Mr Beans when he thinks he has done well. I have arrived back and just started the season and thought I would post this fact. I logged in and that bloody thing called the ether has swallowed up another of my painfully typed masterpieces. !!!!

Que serra. Thats what happens when your’e technologically challenged apparently. I have opened and have had some nice guests already. That and the great woofers I have had keep me coming back.

The signs are auspicious for a good year. Here’s hoping. last season saw a big lift in numbers and with more flights coming in to Christchurch I think that lift could be sustained. I spent a few nights staying in a backpackers in Christchurch and researched others. Christchurch backpacker accommodation is looking good.

We have had some fine days but a cold easterly kept temperatures low. Today however was beautiful. The end of the road by the signpost was really busy. Fortunately I had walked around to it so I didn’t need a park as there weren’t any left.

I intend doing some interior and exterior painting this year so I am looking for help with this and the usual chores associated with running a hostel. I promise I will do my best to see  any helpers don’t lose  weight while they are with me.

The environmental group are doing a good job on the hill . The bird life is bloomingand the yellow eyed penguins and whales have been sighted. I love the walking tracks on the hill and do a bit of trap clearing while on my walks. If you fancy a trip to Stewart Island I still provide a discount to woofers on the ferry ticket as a small appreciation of their efforts.

The southern australis has been observed frequently lately but a few camera skills have been needed to observe it. A delayed exposure capable camera  and a tripod are a huge aid.

There were some good ferry ticket specials offered  by Stewart Island experience last season. Lets hope that continues.For guests that want to save a bit more I still offer a discount on your accommodation if you buy your ferry tickets through me.

Well happy and safe travels everyone. I hope your New Zealand experience is a ripper.





2014-2015 Season

2014 – 2015 Season


Well unbelievably Bluff Lodge is closed for the winter and I’m on holiday until about mid September. WOOHOO.

The season went really well . Good grief even my accountant was pleased. Guest numbers were up by about 40%.  This was a trend experienced by many accommodation providers and was a welcome return to pre Christchurch Earthquake numbers in the South.

I am indebted to a number of fantastic woofers that came in a steady stream and enhanced my life and helped in my  business this season. I have to mention Rob and Anya, Hanna, Susanne, Maaike, and Caitlyn      from Hoover, Texas but all my woofers this year were great people and a privilege to meet and get to know.

Numbers were boosted by  shark divers going with Mike and his crew to see the great whites. The success percentage was around 90%. If none are sighted  Mike offers a free second attempted. This combined with his prices makes his operation very popular. Many guests come back really stoked. Great whites at ultra close range are ultra impressive. Many divers spend two or three nights just to make sure they achieve their goal. Weather can delay trips.


Another group that boosted numbers were the Te Araroa track walkers. These hardy people who have walked the length of the country are pleased to take two or three days to unwind , wash all their gear, repair sore feet and either prepare for a trip to Stewart Island or their next  adventure. I take my hat off to them. What a feat. I know I wouldn’t be up to it. Some have woofed for me for a few days after their trip to stretch their money supplies and we have spent many hours  talking and  sharing meals.

In terms of changes in Bluff the demolition of the outbuildings of the Club Hotel and Wobblies building to make a new permanent venue for the Bluff Oyster Festival right next door to me was a major for the town. It was a bold and forward thinking move. Volunteers especially John Edminston  the festival chairman put countless hours of work in to create a purpose built new venue. This years festival was just great. Personally I really enjoyed the whole experience. I had a wonderful  group of guests who were so easy to please and got right on with enjoying their time  in Bluff.

I have my 0272945306 business phone with me which works fine for communicating but my tablet while it receives e mails wont send my replies. If you wish to make a booking a text or call  is definitely the way to go. Include dates, numbers and rooms in your text and i will get back to you.

All the best to you all and enjoy the adventure of life. Lex






2014 – 2015 season has arrived

Well I am back in Bluff after a 12 week  winter closure. Lots of travelling and visiting family both here and Australia. Did a 15 day camper van trip around Northland revisiting old haunts.  Did some whitebaiting with my son and spent time with his family in Greymouth and some hunting in the Bourkes Pass area.  The South Island is just beautiful.

At Bourkes Pass I slept in my small toyota town ace camper van and I’d awake to a brisk frost and the sun hitting the tips of the snow covered alps and painting them a glorious pink. Stunning. I’m proud to be a South Islander. ( I did spend some time in Auckland and met some nice normal people there. I have had to accept they are Kiwis after all.)

Now back to work. I reopen tomorrow the 15th of September but I want to repaint the backpackers bathroom. It would be easier if I had  a couple of days to do that but we’ll see.

The hunters and large group room is still being worked on. I should finish that reasonably shortly. I’ve got some new brochures ordered and I’ll get those out when they come through.

My thanks to past guests and I’m looking forward to welcoming new ones. I’ve got some  good groups booked to come through both new and regulars. Its always good to renew old acquaintaneships especially with the hunters. Some guys have been coming through for years before I bought the place. Stewart Island is a special place.

I am also looking forward to meeting some adventurous hard working woofers and learning about their cultures and countries. Its great to have people from all over the world come to you and share time and experiences and not leave home.

I haven’t increased my prices. I do try to make my lodge an affordable and enjoyable experience.

Come and stay and experience the deep South. Sometimes I take a break for a few days but my manager does a brilliant job in my absence. Just between you and me she is a much better host than I am.

Best wishes, Lex



Winter Closure

Hi folks. I will be closed from the 24th of June until mid September. E mail bookings are fine for dates outside this time but I will often be travelling so may take some time to reply.

A phone call to 0272945306 may work.

Best wishes, Lex

Season finale for 2013 – 2014

It feels a bit surreal really but my last hunting party , Stu Moris group from Timaru have left for Stewart Island and a bit of R and R . The weather meant they stayed two days with me but the time wasn’t wasted. A bit of hunting equipment shopping in Invers and plenty of oyster eating and drinking at the Anchorage / Golden Age and watching the All Blacks come solid with me against England went down well. Thats it for this season. Another great group of guys.

Ian Watson from Gisborne bought down another of his ” this is my last trip” groups. Ian has things down to a fine art. I hope its not his last trip as I look forward to seeing him every year.

Plenty of deer seen and reasonable numbers got but no one got a big head.Blue cod ,paua and oysters helped alleviate the disappointment. Most of all however St Is is a great sanctuary to enjoy with good mates.

The Oyster Festival weekend was extremely busy for me. The weather blew out part of our party damn it but that was taken in good spirit by everyone and the party continued around the town unabated. Great guests. Liz was a great help setting bedding up but when it came to the big wash at the end we took it in to a laundrette who did it for us.

The summer season saw very good guest numbers and I was lucky to have some really good helpers. Lisa from Germany and Carla and Farku from Argentina were stand outs. My thanks to all my helpers. I will be looking for a few for the next season when I get back.

I expect to reopen about mid September.



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Help its Christmas 2013 already.

Its hard to believe I have been open for the new season 3 1/2 months already. This is my second year as sole owner and I am enjoying it even more than last year. Its so much easier making all the decisions yourself. My skill levels in what were Karens area have shot up but they needed to.

Its been pretty quiet at times but I have lots of interests and good friends in Bluff and I am never bored. The hunters, trampers room is still a work in progress but usable. I think the pool table may have to go as it takes up too much space. Few people are worse at pool than I am to so its not my favourite thing.

The thing that stands out about the last 3 months is the amazing guests I have had and the great helpers.It is really neat to meet such interesting people without leaving your home. The helpers have been short term as I haven’t had enough work to have anyone long term but they have been great people. Jeff from Belgium was only 17 but he was a great worker. He arrived back from doing the Rakiura with Lena 18 and Niko from Germany in tow.We got some jobs done very well but had a good yak before they took off. Yuko from Japan spent a week here and my sushi making went up many levels.She cooks a mean curry. Boy it was delicious.We had some interesting discussions and she was a great worker. She left to do the Routeburn track. Karena and Neil a married couple from Ireland and Scotland were a lovely couple. Neil and I had some interesting conversations while poor Karena suffered from a migraine.

I had a lovely card from Olga my only Finnish helper. It was great to hear from her. I have a couple of French girls coming later this week and I hope to get the exterior painting done weather permitting. My friends Kevin and Christine are going to manage the place over Christmas while i hop up to Dunedin to my brothers family for a day or two.

I’m getting a few hunting groups starting to arrive and bookings are picking up for the New Year. I always enjoy meeting fellow hunters and some of them have been coming for years so its like seeing old friends.

Well fingers crossed for a great New Year and I can’t wait for the oyster season to arrive. Yum. Regards and best wishes to all.


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