We will be north of Queenstown (South Island, NZ) in the foothills near Lake Wanaka at Mountain Range Lodge where we will have exclusive use of the lodge, including an outdoor 8-seat hot tub and mountain bikes for exploring. There’s an acre of native gardens, spectacular mountain views, and relaxing hammocks. The double rooms are spacious and ensuite.
You’ll have free time on several afternoons for a dizzying array of optional adventures you can plan for yourself. Everything from jet boating, scenic flight tours, wine country, to zip lining, sky diving or plunging down crystalline water chutes.
Toward the end of the retreat, we will travel as a group to Milford Sound and spend the night aboard ship in one of the most breathtaking places in the world. Described by Rudyard Kipling as the ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound was carved by glaciers during the ice ages. The fiord’s cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards, some thousands of feet. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect. Aboard the Wanderer, we will enjoy a nature cruise and a chance to kayak. After a gourmet dinner, we will retire to compact and cozy staterooms for the night.
From Milford we will enjoy a scenic drive to Te Anau for our final night. We will stay at a lakeside hotel and our final circle will be combined with a celebration dinner.
In Te Anau, and because the experience is like no other, you can book yourself on an optional excursion to the world famous Glow Worm Caves. Read about it here and then book by contacting Robin. The cost is $65 for a 2.5 hour cruise across Lake Te Anau and into the caves.
- 10 days, 9 nights, shared accommodations (no singles, sorry – it’s a small country!);
- most meals;
- daily writing and yoga sessions;
- all instruction and materials;
- workshops on the craft of writing;
- overnight aboard the Wanderer on Milford Sound;
- transportation to Milford Sound and Te Anau
Limited to 12 writers and does not include flights, airport transfers, visas, travel insurance, optional excursions, or gratuities.
Cost: $3580 with a discount of $100 if you register before October 15th. Alums of any retreat with Patricia can take an additional $50 discount. We require a $1000 non-refundable deposit to hold space. Balance due December 1, 2015. The Glow Worm Cave is an optional excursion that we must book in advance. Let Robin know and include an additional $65 if you’d like to go.
Travel: The closest airport is Queenstown. Be warned! Take care when booking the dates – you will be crossing the International Date Line so it will take more than a day to get there – make sure you end up in Queenstown on or before February 8th.
Transportation from Queenstown: There are options for car rentals, which will make exploring the area easy. The retreat begins about 90 minutes north, in Wanaka. There are public transportation options between Queenstown and Wanaka.
Transportation at the end of our retreat: our time together ends in Te Anau about 3 hours from Queenstown. You’ll need time to get to the Queenstown airport if you plan to depart NZ right away, so make sure your flight accommodates your return travel. There’s a public bus you can reserve in advance (if you haven’t rented a car). Karen, at New Zealand’s tourism bureau, can book you a seat on the bus to the Queenstown Airport for NZ$45 (about $32). Contact her here: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her you’re part of the Patricia Lee Lewis group. Do this when you book your flight – the buses fill!
The weather: The seasons are the opposite of those in our northern hemisphere so February will be summer in New Zealand. Summer in New Zealand is moderate to hot, with temperatures spanning from around 65-90 degrees. In most places you can wear shorts and a t-shirt or during the day, adding a light jacket or fleece at night. It does rain, though. Bring layers and some light rain gear for our trip in the fjiords.
Visa: New Zealand has Visa Waiver Agreements with the US and Canada. A passport holder from these countries has a right to enter without a visa if she/he has:
return air tickets, or holds a valid onwards ticket to a country the traveller has a right to enter,
- a passport valid for three months beyond the date they are leaving NZ,
- proof of sufficient funds for the duration of the visit, and
- a wish to visit only for the time granted on arrival
Under this waiver, you can stay, as a tourist, for up to three months. And you may want to linger. There’s so much to see! How big is New Zealand? At left, we super-imposed NZ over the eastern coast of the United States to give you an idea of its comparative size.
You are advised to buy travel insurance.
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This will be our first time to offer a creative writing retreat in New Zealand, but we’ve been offering International retreats for eighteen years. Participants will include people with a wide range of writing & yoga experience, from very little to professional. We are always enriched by the diversity. While we will offer a daily schedule of suggested activities, all sessions are optional: your time is your own.
Writing Practice. For 3-4 hours each day and several evenings, you will have opportunity to write in an encouraging, confidential and inspiring setting, in response to exercises Patricia suggests. You will be invited to share what you have just written, and to respond to the writing of others with what is fresh, what you like, what you remember. (We use the method developed by Amherst Writers & Artists which is described in detail at Our Writing Method.) As time permits, Patricia will offer individual consultations on your writing life.
Yoga Practice. Jane will offer gentle yoga sessions most days. The practice of yoga, the joining of body and mind, can open pathways for your writing into the feelings, memories, stories and images embedded in the tissues. We will encourage you to use your yoga practice to develop a deeper relationship with your body as well as to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of practice. The sessions are, of course, completely optional.
About the Staff
Patricia Lee Lewis lives and works at Patchwork Farm Retreat in western Massachusetts. She shares the world with trees and stones, chickadees, writers and bears, and leads weekend writing retreats and weekly workshops in her mountain cottage at Patchwork Farm, throughout the United States, and yoga and writing retreats at sacred sites around the world – Guatemala, Mexico, Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Spain, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica.
Jane Mortifee has completed the 500 hour RYT certification. Her approach to teaching is to make yoga safe and accessible for practitioners of all levels. Jane’s first love is singing but both writing and yoga tie for a close second! She has recorded 3 CDs and was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2002 for her work in music, film, television, clubs and recording studios. She has studied various forms of meditation, focusing on Tibetan Buddhism for the last 17 years. Yoga is a constant companion. www.janemortifee.com