Guest Book

Dear Jon and Lesley, Pamela and I are writing to you to thank you once again for being such wonderful hosts and making our stay at Aoturoa such an unforgettable experience, it was definitely the best part of our honeymoon in New Zealand. Everything was perfect from the wonderful accommodation, to the food (especially the cherries and raspberries, Pamela still swoons just thinking about them), and the great company the both of you always provided. I've already promised Pamela that we'll be over to raid your fruit trees when we next visit New Zealand. Sincerely, Pamela & HuiXing - Singapore

We enjoyed our stay with you in your beautiful home. You were so generous with your time and made us feel so welcome. The food you so expertly prepared was just superb. Aoturoa is certainly a great memory of our holiday in New Zealand. John & Noella Finlayson - Sydney

Hello Lesley and Jon, Didn't receive this email before we left but we are so grateful you did arrange such a delightful evening for us. We loved your special rural retreat, beautifully and very comfortably appointed lodgings in a magical setting. We enjoyed meeting you and felt an instant bond of friendship, with yourselves and with Jenny and Warwick Hawker. You made the dinner into a very special occasion with superb catering matched by the lovely Pisa Range wines. It was indeed a highlight of our visit to New Zealand. Thank you again! We visited Jenny and Warwick en route south and marveled at their retirement set up at Pisa Range Estate; their warmth and enthusiasm enveloped us !!! We dream on.... Mikki Jones - Australia

We had a wonderful time at Aoturoa, and have not only memories to take home but have made true friends in Lesley & Jon. They would always go out of their way to enable anything we wanted, were especially attentive and helpful in helping us organise whatever we were planning to do, while remaining unobtrusive and giving us the privacy we were hoping for. Our favourite times were the unbelievable breakfasts and returning from a long day of hiking or skiing to a fireplace, some wine and nibbles. The wonderful dinners with our gracious hosts ensured the contintuation of great days into fun evenings. We know that we can be demanding customers, which is why we hope this statement carries the necessary weight: there is absolutely nothing that could have made our stay more enjoyable! We are now thinking about our next trip and how to get our families to join us! Caroline & Stefan - Hong Kong

Dear Jon & Lesley, You completely ruined the rest of our holiday - we felt like we fell from the "world of light" at Auturoa into the world of darkness on the West Coast. While it was very sunny there, in keeping with our general good fortune with weather, we had been so spoiled by your beautiful home, amazing food and excellent company that nothing else matched up to it! We are home now and have to say that staying with you was a highlight of our trip. We can't wait to return, in fact we shouldn't have left! Our sincere thanks for making it such a great holiday. You were so generous and hospitable. Please come to visit us when you are in Australia so that we may spoil you in return. Wishing you all the very best for the coming year. Kind regards, Michelle & Simon - Sydney

Aoturoa is a very special place. It’s a place where we found ourselves and lost ourselves. Walking the beautiful grounds or down by the pristine river we remembered how the wind has a crisp, sweet smell and found our child-like side that couldn’t repress the hoot of excitement at the sight of wild rabbits racing across the paddocks. The place lulled us into losing our sense of time, our sense of urgency and even the basic tasks of day-to-day life other than eating and sleeping. If you ever have the privilege to visit, play a little game with yourself -- after being here for three days, try to remember what day of the week it is (never mind what day of the month).

Jon and Lesley were the perfect hosts. They are a tasteful, relaxed, thoughtful couple who were able strike a wonderful balance of accommodating us and catering to our requests while still maintaining a quiet, subtle distance that gave us a secure sense of privacy. Jon is a unique blend of hunter-gatherer and gourmet. On several occasions he skillfully cooked his own catch with a flair that was steeped in the freshness of the place. Lesley is the chief operating officer and soul of Aoturoa. She was quick with a thoughtful recommendation for activities or a place to eat or shop and was a patient teacher of our children about the many wonders of this special place that she and Jon have created.

If you have a chance to visit, do. We certainly hope to again. In fact, the only regret I have about our stay is the slight pang of guilt over our 16 month old eating many more pounds of raspberries from the garden than Jon or Lesley could have ever imagined. Had they known, they surely would have charged us a little bit more. But then again, probably not – it is a very special place after all. Ron and Eunei Lee - Hong Kong

Jon & Lesley: Excuse the delay in getting our thanks to you. Our stay was fabulous. We loved staying with you and especially having dinners with you. And we do want to emphasize that we absolutely do extend an invitation to contact us next time you go through Miami. This is true. Our best meal in New Zealand was the lamb chops with you. Both the food and the company. Wonderful. We do hope to see you again. Julie and Steve - Miami

Jon and Lesley, What a great place you have. The stay with you was the most relaxing of our trip. Thank you for being such wonderful hosts and for making us feel at home. I am yet to try the lemon chicken but its definitely on the cards. I’ll send you some photo’s via snail mail (too big to email). If you ever need anyone to house let us know, we’ll be over in shot. Regards, Enrico and Rita (Riz and Ri) - Melbourne.

A wonderful haven of peace & natural beauty only improved by the wonderful charm of our hosts. We will be back. Brad & Rosemary - UK

We have been regular visitors to Aoturoa since it opened. There is nowhere else on Earth where we can go to recharge our batteries so quickly and so fully. There is so much to do in the area and we absolutely love the friendly and warm hospitality of Jon and Lesley. Jon's cooking is a revelation. I also intend to catch a trout at some stage! Gary and Janet Tilsley - Sydney Australia.

Aoturoa was the best stay of our New Zealand trip.....elegant accommodations and dining in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. I've already given Aoturoa (and our hosts) a glowing review to the travel agent here in London. She wanted to know whether or not it was a place she could recommend to other clients.....the answer was ABSOLUTELY YES!!!! Jerry and Katharine Hoffman - UK

Thank you so much for a wonderful 3 days at Aoturua. We had a a relaxing break and enjoyed your kind hospitality, great food and wine and your gorgeous property. When we return to the south island Aoturoa is on the top of our list for a return visit! Nina & Gabriel Radzyminski - Sydney

Natalie and I just wanted to thank you again for providing us with a very special experience in New Zealand. We absolutely loved Aoturoa and hope to be back some day soon. Tim & Natalie McQueen - San Diego

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