Step aside Eiffel Tower, the most romantic spot in the world is more eco-gorgeous. With proposals booked for this summer, Cascade Creek Retreat has everything for would-be wooers and paramours of peace.

Tucked away in 800 acres of native bush near Lawrence, you can escape civilisation but still enjoy Qualmark 5-star Gold Enviro luxury with marshmallows and hot chocolates by the fire, hot tubs under the stars, a personal chef and, get this, hand-knitted slippers from the wool off the farm.

“You get to experience what people in New Zealand really don’t get to experience these days,” says Janene, whose farming husband Dave hand-built the log cabin.

Eco-tourism with echoes of yesteryear.

Sustainable tourism comes naturally to Clutha District – and to Cascade Creek. “The Enviro rating means your footprint is extra light on the land,” explains Janene. “Of our 2,000 hectares, a third is native bush.  We have fenced off a lot of that and planted a lot of natives with the property offering private walking trails with waterfalls with Keruru flying overhead.”

If you’re looking for an excursion, pop into Lawrence and grab a bite to eat at The Prospector, see Jess at the museum, John at The Boatshed Antiques or head up to the Lawrence Cemetery on the hill to read all the names of early settlers and gold mining pioneers.

“You get a touch of the world gone by. You get the history and you get that beautiful little town and the wee coffee shops.”

Stop and breathe. Stay a while.

In the nine years since it opened, Janene has seen a change in what people value. “They don’t want cell phones or emails. People fly in for a weekend away from the busy, busy life that they lead. And then fly out again on a Sunday night or Monday morning, back to the craziness of the world - they really just take a breath and stop.”  

Stay a while then head down the Southern Scenic Route to The Catlins to extend your stay in Clutha.

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