It’s a hidden jewel on the Awhitu Peninsula and its welcoming doors are open.
Connemara Country Lodge was built in 1907 for a wealthy doctor in Epsom. The 111 year old property has a big history, being used as a bordello, a home for single mothers, women’s refuge and now a refurbished home. It was moved to Pollok in 2003, after being split into five pieces to be transported.
In 2013, Kevin and Grainne Strachan brought the property.
“It was semi-derelict. We brought it with the intention of sharing it,” Kevin said. Now they’ve done just that, with lodge being fully operational as a bed and breakfast, and wedding venue since November 2017.
The art deco styled home sits on 7.5 acres of land, complete with farmyard animals.
Kevin and Grainne have worked on the building and surrounding property for five years. “It’s been a big job.” “You have to stop and look up, and enjoy the view sometimes,” Grainne said. The home sits with panoramic views of the Manukau Harbour.
The Lodge has and has seen a number of local and international guests pass through.
“We had our own wedding here,” Kevin said. “It’s a privilege to have someone’s big day here.”
They offer the very best of country hospitality. “We look after you. You feel like you’re part of the family.”
There’s also the chance to learn about the history of the area. “People are engaged with history, and the history of this area is fascinating,” Kevin said. They offer peninsula tours as well.
“There’s a lot of neat things out here.” They enjoy using products from the area, from the jams to the wines.
The family friendly property also has a place for kids to run free. “There’s a gully which is great for the kids. Their imagination runs wilds and the stories they come back with are great.” There’s also a playground, and the cattle that can eat out of your hand.
The couple said the process of restoring and hosting people has been “so rewarding.”
“Generosity and kindness is what you remember. People leave as friends. Sometimes we get a hug from our guests— you wouldn’t do that at a hotel,” Kevin said. “We’re so blessed by the whole thing,” he said.