Let me blow your mind.
There are more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth.
From what I can see from bed – looking up through a glorious glass roof – it doesn’t quite seem right. I can see, at best, only a few thousand stars. How could that be true?
Well, some very clever people have figured it out. There are more than 100 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. And wait for this bit: there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe. So, 100 billion times 100 billion and there could be around 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. If, like me, your school grade maths doesn’t extend to that many zeros – that number is called 10 sextillion.
Let me rewind and put this all into context. I’m at a secret location contemplating all this; it’s a little like a luxury version of Area 51. I’m not allowed to tell you where it is; you can only find out if you’re lucky enough to spend a night here.
It’s called a PurePod; you might be familiar with them – the company has six scattered around isolated parts of the Canterbury countryside. They are romantic escapes, where modern distractions are designed to be left behind. Instead, it’s all about focusing on nature and each other. At night, it’s also one of the best places in Aotearoa to watch stars from bed. With an all-glass room, aside from your eyelids, the universe is your main view.
Before Covid-19, people from all over the world visited Canterbury to experience one, and they’ve now launched their first pod in the North Island, with Stuff Travel the first to visit.
The PurePod Experience
The PurePod experience starts before you even get to your little glass hideaway; it’s a treasure hunt to get there. We won’t ruin the surprise, other than to say this particular pod is roughly an hour’s drive north of Wellington, with views of Kāpiti Island. The exact details aren’t revealed until you book.
Our instructions leads us to an electric gate at the start of a sprawling farm. After following a long row of trees, a PurePod sign directs us to park and continue our adventure on foot.
The ten-minute nature walk takes us down into a gulley and up the other side. The walk is designed to get guests immersed in their environment and to reinforce the remoteness of the location. With one final turn, we are greeted by two enormous solar panels. It’s the first clue the pod is near.
We pass one more row of trees, and arrive at a glass-encased version of heaven, glistening in the sun.
The PurePods Design and Concept
The PurePod designs have been refined over many years, and are intended to give guests all the benefits of camping while enjoying five-star luxury.
The adults-only pod – with wrap-around glass walls – brings nature inside. But you also bare all to nature. However, privacy here is absolute; nobody but the birds and the bees will know you’re even there.
The solar panels power everything, from the lights to the fridge and water system. The bed is the centrepiece of the main room, but there’s also a kitchenette and elaborate control panel that dims your lights to maximise mood.
A walk into the bathroom reveals a huge glass shower with views of the sea. On the other side of the pod, even the throne sits next to a glass panel with views.
The pod is also a masterpiece of engineering. Push a button, and all the windows magically open. Light the gas cooktop, and those same windows also open to ensure airflow. And if things are getting a little hot, you can pull the ceiling shades to create a traditional roof. In winter, there’s even a radiator tucked behind the bed to keep your toes toasty.
DInner and Breakfast Hamper Options
The pod is a place you won’t want to leave, so there’s even the option of having dinner waiting for you in the fridge. Our feast began with a cheese platter that included homemade bread with dips, meats and fruit.
The main meal was a generous portion of local lamb, with grilled fennel and zucchini alongside a Moroccan carrot and rice salad. A personalised set of instructions gives tips on preparing the meal, which was ready in just a few minutes. There was even a delicious dessert on offer; a pavlova with cream and lemon curd.
After dinner, as we lay in bed, we started to stargaze and inevitably question everything. How incredible is life: we’re all on a piece of rock, with a molten core, flying through space at 30 kilometres a second. Yes, that’s how fast Earth moves.
Then we decided to Google how many stars are in the universe. It turns out the experts think it’s more than all the grains of sand on Earth combined. Looking up from a comfy bed, realising how beautifully clueless we are, is enough to bring a tear to your eye.
Well, even a single teardrop is mind-blowing; there are many more atoms in a single tear than stars in our Milky Way.
This is what happens when you switch off from all of life’s little distractions and think about the big things; it’s one of life’s purest moments. And you’ll find it in a PurePod.
Images and article by Brook Sabin, stuff.co.nz