Prince Harry takes a break at Riverrun Lodge

Prince Harry has taken a break from duties to enjoy some downtime with a private overnight visit to Riverrun Lodge, near Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.

Prince Harry has taken a break from the crowds to enjoy some downtime with a private overnight visit to Riverrun Lodge, near Lake Wanaka, New Zealand.

Riverrun – a discreet, intimate luxury property – hosted His Royal Highness Prince Harry and his party for lunch and a relaxing afternoon and evening at the lodge. The Royal party stayed last night before departing Riverrun early this morning (12 May) after breakfast.

Chef Karen Marinkovic created a luncheon menu highlighting local ingredients including Cardrona merino lamb, Aoraki salmon, and Blue River sheep's cheese quiche. The main course was served with roasted spiced vegetables and quinoa salads, followed by a layered apple and walnut cake and dark chocolate date and ginger slices to finish.

The lodge is on the western edge of the Central Otago wine region – famed for its fine pinot noir wines – so the royal group were treated to Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg pinot noir and a Felton Road pinot noir.

After evening appetisers, they went out to the historic Cardrona Hotel for dinner.

Owner Meg Taylor said that Prince Harry was “friendly and relaxed, taking the trouble to thank all the staff before leaving.”

The royal visit had been planned as a relaxing private break in the schedule, she said.

Riverrun was well suited for a royal visit because it was small, friendly and private but still professional and very comfortable. The group staying had appreciated the design of the lodge and reclaimed timber, she said.

“I think it was excellent time out for the prince amidst a busy schedule but we would love to have him back to show him more of what Wanaka has to offer.”

“As Wanaka is a very laid-back little resort, it was the perfect destination. There were lots of ideas for activities discussed, from mountain biking, to fly fishing, lake fishing, jet boating and helicopter flights but we were also advised that Prince Harry might be happy to just relax.”

“In the end the weather decided it, and the Royal party simply relaxed over a long lunch, and lounged by the fire watching movies and reading. A couple from the royal party took a walk down to the river. There was talk of using the house tub but I don't know that it happened.”

“In the morning there was an early start, breakfasts, energy smoothies and they were on their way.”

“We will look forward to having him stay again in Wanaka in better weather! As he said on leaving, he will bring a little more sunshine with him next time he visits.”

About Riverrun Lodge, Wanaka

Riverrun lodge is described as a boutique luxury accommodation for up to 10 guests. It is just five kilometres from Wanaka resort and one hour from Queenstown, in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps. 

Wanaka is an alpine lakeside resort town with year round active adventures. The destination is renowned for its wide offering of small boutique and luxury accommodations. It is a winter snow sports haven and a summer outdoors holiday mecca. It's also part of the premium Central Otago wine region famed for pinot noir and varietals.

The lodge was established by Meg Taylor and her late husband John who was one of the founders of adventure outfitting retailers Kathmandu. Outdoors enthusiasts themselves, they'd been regular visitors to Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park before they bought the farm in 1995. They moved to Wanaka in 1996 and opened Riverrun to guests in 1997.

Riverrun is both a small luxury lodge and a working 500-acre sheep farm. The lodge is set on an escarpment - the remains of an ancient glacier terminal moraine - bordering New Zealand's largest river, the Clutha, and with access to 30km of walks and running trails. Nearby are two magnificent lakes, Wanaka and Hawea, and Mt Aspiring National Park.

The property is a fine wool merino sheep farm, originally the "river run block" of a many thousand acre sheep "run." It was first developed by the Halliday brothers, who were suppliers and prospectors during the Cardrona gold rush of the 1880's. 

The sprawling lodge has extensive indoor outdoor living areas, wide verandas and two lounges with open fires. Almost 100 tonnes of reclaimed timber was used in the construction.

Accommodation is stylish and private, with attention to comfort and detail. There are five guest rooms with accommodation for up to 10 guests. All rooms enjoy magnificent mountain and valley views, supremely comfortable beds, stylish furnishings and spacious ensuite bathrooms.

In the evening, lodge guests enjoy fine food and wine and a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

About Lake Wanaka

Riverrun Lodge is located 5km (5-minute drive) from Wanaka township, just far enough from town for peace and a beautiful setting, but close enough to sample restaurants, shops and galleries.

Wanaka lies at a crossroads between east and west, close up against the Southern Alps. It is a region long known to New Zealanders for its sunny, dry summers. The geography is impressive, with two lakes, Lake Wanaka and Hawea, a backdrop of mountains and beautiful rivers. The town is on the edge of one of New Zealand's largest wilderness regions, Mt Aspiring National Park.