Horseshoe Bend

Just outside of Wanaka, the wonderfully named Horseshoe Bend Estate sits on 17 acres of manicured landscape.  It’s all designed for the kind of indulgent relaxation that sees you sitting outside under the stars, entertaining into the small hours as you pick at the leftovers of the BBQ from earlier in the day.  Then, as the music playing from the architecturally designed cabana is lowered, glasses are raised in a toast to guests and friends.  This is a place for those nights where everything just feels right.

That charm and sense of serenity is no accident.  The landscape has been designed for entertaining.  It has these wonderful little pockets of privacy where those in residence can break away from the main group for a few intimate conversations and a stretch of the legs.  Their walk is defined by the sights and smells of a mixture of Evergreen and Deciduous Trees.

Beginning from the pool area and that Cabana, our couple will wander past the Trachycarpus fortunei – Chinese Windmill Palm.  Whilst perfectly suited to the hardy climates of the Southern Alps, it has a warming tropical aesthetic that conjures the feeling of exotic locations.  It may also inspire a thirst for slightly naughty yet refreshing cocktails.

Walking further still, there is the Prunus lusitanica – Portuguese Laurel, used for both standards and hedging.  With dark green, leathery leaves, it has an organised presence which is dense and imperious.  Come late spring or early summer, racemes of tiny white flowers emerge to gently scent the evening air.  

Other Evergreens featured in the grounds include the Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ – Blue Atlas Cedar.   A somewhat showy conifer which demands room to grow, it’s pyramidal form casts a classical silhouette and adds more than a dash of character to a garden.  Then there’s the Cordyline australis – Native Cabbage Tree, linking the exotic to the indigenous as our own ‘Southern Palm’ works to blend the aesthetics to the Chinese Fan Palm.  

Horseshoe Bend also has its share of deciduous trees to be encountered on any walk of the grounds.  They allow the seasons to show themselves whilst contrasting (but not competing) with the Evergreens.  For example, the Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ – Himalayan Birch, introduces a bright yellow in Autumn as it’s usually dark green leaves begin their annual disappearing act, completed in winter when empty branches reveal a snow white trunk.  

Malus ‘Red Jade’ – Weeping Crabapple, with delicate and billowing branches, seemingly dances with cascading branches full of white flowers.  Small, red cherry shaped fruit appears in summer through to early Autumn as it puts on a seasonal show.  Joining that show is the Prunus yedoensis – Yoshino Cherry, a favourite of hardy climates known for its springtime mass of almond scented white flowers in early spring.  As the seasons progress, it changes from the warming orange of summer to the type of Autumn red that typifies the romance of the season.  

Finally, there is the Salix ‘Chrysocoma – Golden Weeping Willow.  Even in winter when it’s branches are bare, it draws you with its polished branchlets. It’s part of the magic of Horseshoe Bend, a place where the aesthetics change with the seasons but where the landscape always provides a most fitting backdrop.  This is a place for memories, secrets and the type of intimate conversations that define friendships.   

To learn more about Horseshoe Bend, or to book a stay, go to: