Yoga, mindfulness, hen tune and a scorching tub: Serenity meets luxurious in Nelson mountains

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It’s a short drive to Peak View Retreat, which is on a mountaintop in Whangamoa Saddle between Nelson and Marlborough.

Not that it’s far accurate – only about 45 minutes from downtown Nelson – but the 5km driveway to the property is a gravel road with potholes that I would have guessed would be too much for the Nissan Tiida we rented Could be if it were not for the fact that Carl McAllansmith, who owns the property with his wife Natalia, tells us that a guest recently did so in a particularly low-rise McLaren.

Carl meets us in his ute down on the driveway to lead us upstairs…. and up and up and up as we twist and twist our tiida all the way up. To achieve our goal, the retreat itself, a luxurious two bedroom vacation retreat that feels like total seclusion in the middle of 88 acres of native bush.

You drive up ... and up and up ... to reach the luxury two bedroom getaway on the mountaintop.

Peak View Retreat / Stuff

You drive up … and up and up … to reach the luxury two bedroom getaway on the mountaintop.

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If you look east from the front of the property you can overlook the Richmond Range (two chairs are perfectly positioned to catch the sunrise). But only when you step through the front door do you experience the actual view of the summit. The glass-walled living and kitchen area and the expansive decks that surround it look directly over Cable Bay and Pepin Island to the Abel Tasman beaches.

In 1996 the island of Pepin was bought by a German princess, Viola von Hohenzollern, who “used to collect islands”, Natalia tells us. When von Hohenzollern died, her island collection went to her daughter Olivia Hallman, who this week sold Pepin Island to a mysterious New Zealand company after the price was cut on offers of over $ 13.5 million.

The outdoor dining table at Peak View Retreat, Nelson ... perfect for a meal with a view.

Peak View Retreat / Stuff

The outdoor dining table at Peak View Retreat, Nelson … perfect for a meal with a view.

Apparently, guests quite often ask if they can buy the retreat themselves, but Natalia and Carl – who sold their Wellington home to buy it – don’t plan on selling it.

It would be entirely possible to park on the deck and watch the whole stay over the ocean – maybe take a dip in the wood-burning hot tub every now and then or take a break to watch birds from the hammock just down a few steps from the lower deck , to which the bedrooms open on the lower level (watch out for Tūī, Fantails, Kererū, the South Island robin, and the rare smallest form of the New Zealand hawk or kārearea). But for guests in need of a little more activity, the McAllansmiths offer a variety of packages, including those that focus on local food and wine, hunting and gathering, and wellness.

My boyfriend and I are looking for peace and quiet, so we’re looking for a variation on the wellness package. Israel-born, Cable Bay-based yoga teacher Noa visits one morning to guide us through a two-hour yoga and mindfulness session that is tailored to both our relaxation goals and our personal abilities: Noa customizes a few exercises for me because I have my imbalance and some for my friend who recently finished her breast cancer treatment.

If the yoga doesn't break you down enough, maybe the hot tub could.

Peak View Retreat / Stuff

If the yoga doesn’t break you down enough, maybe the hot tub could.

Because the goal of the practice, says Noa, is not the asanas or poses themselves.

“Yoga is not about what your asanas look like,” she says. “It’s not about how flexible you are. It’s about connecting with your body. It’s about connecting with your strength, balance, and grace. Because then you can bring this energy into every aspect of your life. “

With the glass doors slightly open to catch the breeze, we move fluidly (OK, maybe jerky in my case) through a series of standing poses, then lie on our backs and end up with our arms outstretched.

“This is a vulnerable position,” says Noa, “it opens your throat chakra. Not everyone likes the feeling at first, but it will help you to be more open. “

High up, with blocked light pollution, the property offers spectacular stargazing.

Peak View Retreat / Stuff

High up, with blocked light pollution, the property offers spectacular stargazing.

During our stay, Carl told us that we should definitely take a look at the night sky. With the retreat this high in the hills you are “almost at observatory level,” he says, and since the hills block out Nelson’s light pollution on a clear night, you can indulge in some truly spectacular stargazing.

But the first night we stayed was cloudy. The second and last night has fallen – cloudy again. But I woke up at 3 a.m. or so and went out onto the deck. All you could hear was the roar of the ocean below, and when you looked up the clouds had cleared up to reveal a blinding sky of bright stars that were almost within your grasp. It felt as close to heaven as one could ever wish.

The author was a guest at the Peak View Retreat.

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