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Blue Duck Station


25 - 29 Nov 2021



Central North Island’s Blue Duck Station

Come join Lesley and Jax Hamilton as we escort you to one of our favourite places in New Zealand – you will not have experienced a #foodiephotographytour like this.  

We are hosted by Dan Steele – owner of Blue Duck Station which is located in the Ruapehu District on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers, and surrounded by Whanganui National Park.

The station’s core values are to conserve its endangered wildlife, increase the health of native bush and rivers, and preserve the history of the area, while educating visitors about the endangered New Zealand blue duck, other native species and local history.

There are many treats on this tour: 

  • Northerner train from Wellington to National Park where you will experience the beauty of New Zealand in luxury, while sitting back enjoying a glass of wine and a meal (meal option although is dependent upon what is on offer)   
  • Jetboat ride and a walk to Bridge to Nowhere – 6 hours
  • Morning tea hosted by the Richard and Rachel Steele at their 108-year-old homestead where not only will you have breathtaking views from their porch of the Whanganui and Retaruke Rivers but treated to Rachel’s biscuits which are NZ famous
  • Get a taste of what Blue Duck Station is all about as we are taken on a safari. Get an understanding of the local history, hear all about our conservation work and witness the everyday workings of the station.  Take a short kayak through the gorge at the base of the Kaiwhakauka falls where you may see some Whio as this is there favourite place to hang out

For the foodies: 

The highlight of the four night, five days is your dining experience at The Chef’s Table.  The fine dining experience entails a refined 10 course degustation menu from the land.  The Chef’s Table at Blue Duck Station offers a stripped-back and unique fine dining experience under the stunning night’s sky at Blue Duck Station – a 30-minute ATV trip. Located on the highest point of the station affectionately known as the Top of the World, it has views of the Tongariro and Whanganui national parks. The mountains Taranaki, Tongariro, Mount Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe are spectacular on a clear day.  

To make this experience even more memorable, you will head out with Jax and the chef on the station foraging for items to be included in your fine dining experience – a refined 10 course degustation dinner from the land.  There is no expense spared here, your meal comes with pre-dinner drinks and wine matching across all 10 courses, followed by coffee.  After your meal a return 30-minute ATV ride back down.  Don’t expect to be back home before 11.00pm 

For the photographers:

  • If you are a photographer, you will be at home here – Lesley will provide photography mentoring and run an evening light painting session against the backdrop of the old rustic trucks
  • The photographic opportunities from “Top of the World” are breathtaking – long exposure sunset or simply an amazing panoramic image  
  • From the Northerner’s open-air carriage, it is a photographer’s dream as we go through the Rangitikei and Central North Island areas 
  • The photography from the jetboat ride is outstanding, the sheer cliffs covered in virgin bush, through to the dappled light on the walk to the Bridge to Nowhere.

Meals & Accommodation:

Dinner (with wines), lunch and breakfast are included; morning or afternoon teas unless noted are own cost 

Pre tour accommodation and breakfast in Wellington’s luxuriously beautiful QT Hotel with a three course fine dining experience (plus wines) at Hippopotamus is included. Post tour accommodation in Wellington can be arranged at additional cost.

While on the station your meals are at the Blue Duck Station’s café – the central meeting point for everyone; those on the farm and those enjoying the station’s activities.  Fully cooked breakfast, lunch and two course dinners are rustic homecooked and eaten sitting around one of the two large tables – an opportunity to meet and chat with Dan Steele who joins most nights.

This is a working station; the accommodation is warm, and very comfortable; you are although spread out across two houses which are 2 minutes apart.  One of the houses being a central day meeting point which has a shared kitchen and large living area.  

Transport: A dedicated Girls on the Road Again driver and luxury mini coach return travel, pick-up National Park and return to Wellington

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1:  Overnight Wellington 

  • Accommodation at QT Hotel – arrive any time after 2pm, free time until you join Jax and Lesley for dinner
  • Three course dinner and wines at Hippopotamus & of course, we’ll be ready for a fully cooked breakfast the next morning before we depart for our train journey
  • Transfer to board the Northerner train

Day 2:  Northerner train Wellington to National Park 

  • Morning tea and lunch included – enjoy glass of bubbles perhaps as you sit back and enjoy the journey
  • Afternoon tea at National Park while we wait for our driver
  • Drive to Blue Duck Station – 1 ½ hours’ drive
  • Two course dinner with wines
  • Cheese platter & nibbles after dinner – maybe finish the evening with a nightcap

Day 3 & 4: At Blue Duck Station

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner with wine
  • Jetboat trip Bridge to Nowhere – lunch included
  • Cheese platter & nibbles after dinner back at our accommodation, enjoy a nightcap
  • 10 course degustation dinner with wine matching, pre-dinner drinks and coffee included
  • Foraging session with The Chef’s Table chef and Jax
  • Station Safari with kayaking session
  • Morning tea hosted at the Steele’s homestead

Day 5:

  • Breakfast, then head off back to Wellington
  • Lunch on route to Wellington
  • Wellington Airport drop off & QT hotel drop off
  • Overnight accommodation at Wellington (additional cost) if required.


  • This weekend is dress down – even for the degustation dinner, it is warm (layered), casual, comfortable clothes and shoes
  • There is no cell phone coverage available at Blue Duck Station, there is WIFI at Blue Duck Café.  Lesley does carry a satellite phone, the contact details provided prior to departure for you to share with your family and friends if they need to get in touch, although messages can be left at Blue Duck Station’s café.

Deposit: $500 deposit secures your place with the balance payable 14 days prior – click on “CLICK HERE TO BOOK”.

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