The creation of Fiordland Eco-Retreat has been a real labour of love. We purchased the land in 2013, at which point it was just bare scrub land, made up of pasture and patches of matagouri (a native thorny shrub). We had the driveway installed, had the building platform levelled, and in April 2014, we moved up onto site in our caravan.
This was to be our home for the next 1.5 years: Glen, Susanna, and our two dogs, Yuki & Cooper (we got him as puppy during our time in the caravan!). We’d spend evenings sitting at our caravan table, designing the house layout in an excel spreadsheet and researching the most eco-friendly products and practices. All the while, getting to really know the land and the weather systems that it received.
We started the landscaping immediately – an area that Glen is deeply passionate about. It was his idea to start the Reforestation Project, trying our best to take the land back to its previous glory, as close to how it was before the native forest was all chopped down to make way for grazing pasture.
We chose a local building company – an experienced tradie who was just starting out on his own. But he was an awesome Kiwi guy, easy to work with, and nothing was too much to ask. So we took a punt, and it paid off.
The house was to be built in two parts: our family home first (the western side) was completed in July 2016.
Building Fiordland Eco-Retreat
We started building the eco-retreat and our garage two years later, when our son, Harrison, was just three months old. That was an experience in itself!
Welcoming Fiordland Eco-Retreat’s First Guests!
The eco-retreat welcomed its first guests six months later, in November 2018. We’ve been so incredibly lucky to be able to share our piece of paradise with people from all over the world ever since!