Eleanor Barker checks into Ashley Forest Luxury Retreat, Canterbury

Location: A private home on a long dirt road in North Loburn, a short drive away from Christchurch Airport. We rented a single car between four people for the weekend, and went back to the airport later to collect our guests. The drive time wasn’t short, but it wasn’t a pain either.

The property is 2 hectares, but most of that is field and forest. The striking modern home is perched at the top of the hill and has incredible views.

Check-in experience: Easy and informal. We had booked the property through Bookabach, which was a simple process. A woman lives in the adjacent house (not connected) and she is a fantastic host. She maintains the property and cares for the animals.


What’s in the neighbourhood?

We chose this property for its raw animal appeal. There are three cats and two alpacas. Rangiora is not far at all, about 10 minutes by car. We shopped at Lordship Linens one day and took a drive to Arthur’s Pass on the Sunday.

Room: As early arrivers, we nabbed the downstairs master bedroom as there was an ensuite for each couple. The upstairs looked lovely too but was a bit exposed, and did not have a shutter for one of the windows.

Amenities: Comfy beds and great showers. All the linens in this house were top notch, as were the appliances. We appreciated the Nespresso machine for its convenience.

Style: Slick as. This house was designed by a couple who have since migrated to Australia and its function as a small, luxury home is clear. It has won awards for its architecture.

Noise: Gloriously quiet.

Price: $380 per night.

Food: We ate at Rangiora’s legendary pizza bar, Winnie Bagoes.


What’s so good about this place?

The alpacas and the stunning surroundings.


Bottom line: It was difficult to leave. Luxury and style, but with a feeling of homely comfort make this place perfect for groups.