We haven’t even arrived at our PurePod and my friend is already marvelling at the silence.
“It’s just so quiet,” she says, as we amble along a dusty path through paddocks and bush to get to our destination.
Our home for the night is the Kahutara pod, one of two PurePods near Kaikoura. Featuring a glass floor, ceiling and walls, these eco-friendly pods allow guests to get as close to nature as possible, while still enjoying the comforts of a high-end home.
Clearly (no pun intended), a stay here is all about the view. When we arrive, we toss off our backpacks and take a moment to soak it all in. The rolling green hills, the Kahutara River, the snow-capped mountains – there’s plenty to see. The only sounds we hear now are the distant rumble of the river, birds chirping and the occasional lamb bleating. This is what “getting away from it all” is all about.
Adding to the adventure is the “secret” location of the pod. In order to ensure privacy, guests are only given directions to their accommodation after they make a booking. The final leg of the journey involves a 15-minute hike to the pod, which is on private land, so it’s unlikely anyone would stumble across it.
It’s a good thing, too, seeing as the bathroom also features glass walls. There are blinds that can be pulled down if you are feeling a bit shy, but you don’t often get the chance to watch lambs frolicking on a hillside while you’re on the loo, so why not make the most of it?
We kick off our adventure with snacks and champagne while enjoying the amazing scenery from the deck. Guests can either bring their own food or buy a food package for two ($139), which includes a cheese platter, dinner and breakfast. The kitchen has everything you need for cooking, including a hob and barbecue.
It’s not a large space, but the clever mix of glass and mirrors keeps it from feeling too cramped. “Simple but elegant,” is how my friend describes the modern decor and thoughtful design. Even the bed headboard and chairs are clear so they don’t obstruct the view.
There’s no TV, radio or cellphone coverage, which means the only option is to sit back and relax and that’s exactly what we do. After a leisurely dinner we spend the night talking, reading and simply watching the darkness roll in over the hills from our warm, cosy pod.
The moon and stars soon come out to play and, although we can see plenty from the pod, we decide to head outside for an even better view. It’s a crisp, clear night and the sky is spectacular – I can’t remember the last time I saw so many stars. It’s the perfect, peaceful way to end the day.
The next day starts early, as we’ve left the blinds open to wake with the sun. From the comfort of one of the best beds I’ve ever slept in, I watch the morning light move across the mountains. There’s something quite fabulous about being able to enjoy an extraordinary view from your bed, especially when the sliding glass walls around the pod are open. It truly does feel like you’re outdoors.
It’s a sunny and bright day, perfect for exploring, but the comfort of the pod makes it too hard to leave and we end up doing a whole lot of nothing, which is kind of the point.
Chatting by phone with PurePods chief executive Stephanie Hassall before our stay, she says the idea behind the pods is that you don’t have to rough it to have a true night out in nature.
“People get to really experience our landscape, but with five-star luxury,” she says. “The idea is that you come in and don’t see another human being again until you leave.
“It’s your own private paradise.”
Paradise, indeed. As we pack our bags we ponder how great it would be to stay another night. To heck with camping – this is my kind of nature experience.