River Birches is built on the site where legendary fisherman, Zane Grey, trekked through bush seeking out the trout-filled pools of the Tongariro River in 1926. Within a few years of his visit, Bert and Effie Boulton established one of the first river cottages and named it ‘The Birches’ planting exotic trees about it, including silver birch, copper beech, oak, and redwood. The old cottage is long gone but the established gardens around River Birches remain a haven for local birdlife.
The accommodation at River Birches consists of a large self-catering cottage and a lodge. The lodge has three well appointed guestrooms, all featuring super-king-size beds with down quilts and pillows, ensuite bathrooms with showers, large baths, and complimentary bath and hair products and robes. Tea- and coffee-making facilities are located in each room as well as modern gadgetry, including an iPod mini sound system and docking station, Wi-Fi and broadband internet access and an IDD phone service. The Admiral’s Room where I stayed, comes with its own private cedar hot tub, perfect for a soothing soak after an adventurous – or lazy – day. Quiet and relaxing, this is a luxurious place to stay.