NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group


There's a problem with these posh glass pods: the owners have made them so good that leaving to partake in any local activities seems superfluous. The genius glass roof with its retractable blind leaves guests thoroughly at the mercy of that star-glittered blue-chip Mackenzie sky. Returning to a regular ceiling after that is, quite frankly, chafing. The 400-litre cedar outdoor bathtub doesn't help. SkyScape was the brainchild of Bridget and Bevan Newlands. They came up with the idea after living and working in Kenya where they saw remote lodges with views similar to those in the Mackenzie. Bevan explains: “After returning home we wanted to do something on the family farm that didn't involve 4am wake-ups. We set out to provide more than a night's accommodation — we wanted to create an experience that showcased the night sky, the Mackenzie landscape, the beautiful sunrises and the rare commodities of wide-open spaces and silence.” Their first idea was a hole in the ground with a piece of plastic over it. This gradually morphed into a pod, gently recessed into the landscape to give the sense that visitors are sleeping in the tussocks. The pair encountered many naysayers during the build but overcame obstacles with the lure of tasty baking. “I bribed contractors and suppliers with chocolate cakes if they were prepared to help us, especially at times when others had told us it was not possible," says Bridget. "There was a standing joke with the designer: every time he delayed the process, I told him his cake was slowly burning. At the opening, I presented him with a burnt cake.” The couple has recently built two more SkyScape units (minus the need for chocolate-cake-coaxing), all beautifully marooned in secluded spots on the 2428ha sheep and beef farm at Omahau Hill Station owned by Bridget's parents. They're designed for serenity-seeking singles and couples. Even the Newlands children aren't allowed near them. Says Bridget: “Our two energetic sons are always in the mud and never allowed near the SkyScape windows.” 7 Ben Ōhau Road. 021 213 9684,