Full immersion in New Zealand’s unbeatable landscapes from the comfort of a luxury eco-cabin. Welcome to PurePods – the perfect way to live outside the box. We spend a night in the Greystone PurePod, located in the famous wine region, Waipara Valley, to try our hand at luxury off-the-grid living.
Humans need nature like plants need sunshine. Without it, we wilt away, mere husks of our former selves, robbed of an essential part of our being and rendered floppy and drooping over a myriad of technological devices.
It’s not a nice image but one that we’re certainly all too familiar with. So when the innovative, luxury eco-cabin company, PurePods, invited us to immerse ourselves in a private slice of New Zealand landscape, with our only neighbours being curious, lawn mowing sheep and excitable songbirds, we picked ourselves off of our keyboard and swivelled to face the sun.
What are PurePods?
Modern and minimal in style, PurePods are sleek and comfortable, self-contained lodges that give guests the opportunity to stay amongst New Zealand’s breath-taking landscapes, without having to worry about the difficulties of camping or the nuisance of neighbours. Designed from the foundation up for environmental sustainability and quiet luxury, they are the perfect answer for those wishing to enjoy their surroundings in unhurried comfort without damaging the environment.
Whilst a remote, off-the-grid style experience, PurePods have taken great care to ensure guests a stress-free stay. Food and cooking utensils are provided (although you are of course able to bring your own food and drinks if you so wish) and, whilst there is no wifi, tv or a hairdryer (these use up too much energy), USB outlets and a Bluetooth speaker mean that you will not be completely cut off from those technological creature comforts.
Solar panels over the decking charge the cabin’s batteries and heat the water, whilst a bio-fuel boiler means that there is extra heating for those winter months. Each pod also has a communication facility for emergencies, as well as a First Aid kit so guests can rest assured they will be perfectly safe in the unlikely case of an accident or problem.
With six PurePods located throughout New Zealand, it proved a real struggle to choose which of the stunning spots to stay in. However, being winos and gastro-nerds, we decided on the Greystone PurePod, set high above the award-winning Greystone vineyard, right in the heart of the renowned wine region, Waipara Valley.
Our PurePod experience starts with a journey. We drive passed Greystone’s Cellar Door, following a sign-posted road that winds leisurely up a hill to a paddock car park, watched over by munching sheep. Here, we leave our vehicle, grab our overnight bags and begin our 10-minute walk through the native bush to the pod’s secret location.
As we come round a bend, we catch our first glimpse of our home for the evening, hidden amongst the rolling Teviotdale Hills and Waipara Valley, much of which is covered in newly-harvested vines belonging to Greystone and neighbouring wineries. We make our way through a farm gate and onto the pod’s wooden decking to admire the valley stretched out below and the Southern Alps beyond.
The PurePod itself is formed of triple-glazed glass that covers every exterior wall, from the ceiling (perfect for stargazing), to the heated floor under which native plants can be seen sprouting. The main space features a large, comfy bed; a kitchen unit with a sink, gas hob and fully stocked fridge; and a small dining area. Cupboards are filled with serving and glass ware as well as items to enhance your stay, such as a telescope, card games and literature detailing the surrounding flora and fauna. A separate toilet and rain shower (both with exceptional views) sit at the other end of the pod, either side of a vanity space. The three glass sides of the bedroom area can be opened fully and are framed by wooden decking for muddy walking shoes and deck chair relaxation. A gas-powered Weber BBQ grill completes the offering.
We set our bags down and are (naturally) drawn to the fridge, where we find an abundance of locally sourced food, as well as a number of bottles of Greystone wine. We set out our entrée – a platter of local cheeses, complete with artisanal crackers, chutney, olives, grapes, fresh plum tomatoes and chunks of dates rolled in crushed Macadamia nuts – and pour ourselves a glass of Greystone Chardonnay on the deck. The quality of everything is outstanding and it is a true delight to sip on the fragrant and textural white whilst surveying the land where its grapes have been grown.
Our dinner comprises Cantebury Ribeye Steak, Roast Potatoes, Roast Vegetable Salad & Garlic Mushrooms, all easily prepared on the Weber grill and enjoyed from the comfort of our pod as the sun goes down over the hills. A Red & Black Berry Tart finishes our meal perfectly and we slump into our chairs, listening the sound of nocturnal birds waking up and watching as the stars light up overhead.
Entirely sated, we climb into the welcoming bed and elect to shut ourselves away from the sunrise with the blackout blinds (sadly it’s due to be very cloudy so the early start wouldn’t be worth it). However, we leave a side door open so that the rustling of trees around us lulls us to sleep.
Now, there is a certain kind of wonder to be experienced on opening the wall blinds of your glass house, to be greeted by unbroken views and the quizzical “cheep cheep” of a hopping native fantail.
We step into the bathroom, banishing our tousled-headed sleepiness with the eco-friendly products provided and the novelty of experiencing nature from a glass-walled shower. Refreshed and energised, a cuppa seems in order and we snuggle up in blankets on the deck whilst our breakfast of Bacon, Eggs & Ciabatta Rolls cooks away on the Weber grill.
We’re not ready to leave and thankfully, self check-out isn’t until 2pm, so we settle back into our deck chairs, let the scenery wash over us, and reflect on PurePods’ success.
The terms “eco” and “luxury” have been used together with varying success over the years and there has been a great deal of debate as to whether luxury can be environmentally sound, or if they are in fact antithetical in nature. Green-washing is a problem in the hospitality industry, with many venues adopting buzzwords to market themselves as more sustainable than they are. However, in the last few years, with the increased prevalence of calls for real change from members of the public, design professionals and hotel employees, green credentials are more and more being put under scrutiny, with luxury travellers adjusting their tastes and expectations to suit holidays with lighter footprints on the earth.
It is no wonder that New Zealand is amongst the country’s finding ways for holidaymakers to connect with nature without leaving a trace and PurePods have managed to strike that perfect balance between sustainable eco-living and easy luxury. The team has done everything possible to make guests’ stays seamless, private and comfortable, however they have not pandered to unnecessary whims at the expense of the environment.
Greystone Purepod’s commitment to an incomparable and wholesome experience with exceptional standards of hospitality and a light carbon footprint is exactly the direction in which the luxury travel industry should be going. We cannot recommend a stay in one of the PurePods enough and we look forward to seeing more companies with PurePods’ ethos popping up in the coming years.
PurePods start from $549 (£284.70), per night based on two people sharing.
The Dinner & Breakfast Package ($149 / £77) for a three-course meal, and cooked breakfast for two people) is an add-on that we highly recommend as, not only does it save you carrying all your food with you, it is mighty tasty! Greystone Wine can also be purchased on-site and start from around $15 (£7.80).
There is also the option to book an hour and a half personal Wine Tour around the Greystone PurePod for $250 (£129.65) for two people, or you can visit the Greystone Cellar Door for a free wine tasting.
Sated was invited to Greystone PurePod and our stay and food were complimentary. We were not paid to visit and were not under contractual obligation to write this article or create content on any platform.