An architecturally astounding, off-grid experience that will teach you what it means to unwind in style.
It’s a strange moment when you realise that you’ve never seen a shooting star. Perhaps not surprising though – I’ve been a city dweller my whole life and camping hasn’t always been my forte, having done it only once. In Ireland. In autumn. In the pouring rain. But that all changed on my first night in a PurePod – a new type of eco-luxe nature escape responsible for invoking some serious New Zealand wanderlust.
Ask anyone about ‘those glass boxes’ popping up across the country and you’ll be met with intrigue and excitement – two emotions my road trip buddy and I feel when venturing down the driveway to the Kahutara PurePod, near Kaikōura.
It’s pitch dark by the time we reach the car park, all pre-arrival documentation strongly advising against doing exactly this, since it’s a further 15 minute uphill walk to the PurePod from here. Thankfully the farmer who owns the farm where Kahutara PurePod is situated, offers to drive us the rest of the way, using the short journey to tell us about the farm, which has been in his family for three generations. He and his wife prioritise sustainability and are constantly looking for ways to reduce their use of chemicals and pesticides, making Steepdown the perfect location for an environmentally-friendly PurePod.
Eventually, we turn a corner and spot a large glass box which, up to this point had been completely shielded from view by bushland and rolling hills. Any and all apprehension is replaced by a sense of calm as we explore the stylishly minimalist interior, feel the underfloor heating warm or soles and notice the complete lack of phone reception. There’s no WiFi and no power sockets, only the zen that comes from knowing that there is not a single soul anywhere close-by (and showering while enjoying uninterrupted views of the countryside). I’m convinced that luxury off-grid escapes are the way forward.
After settling in, we tuck into a prepared platter of local cheese, pate, crackers and ciabatta, heat salmon fillets and potatoes on the small hob and sip the Reisling we bought from Greystone Wines, an organic Canterbury winery that happens to be the location of another PurePod. Delightfully tipsy, we’re eager to see what the sky has in store, so switch off the lights, hop into the deliciously comfy bed and wait for our eyes to adjust. Being a still, cloudless night, it doesn’t disappoint.
No number of space documentaries could have prepared me for the twinkling brilliance of the sky above. After losing track of how many shooting stars I’ve counted, I drift off into one of the deepest sleeps I’ve ever experienced, peppered with dreams of the homemade muesli and croissants awaiting us for breakfast.