Check out the Instagram feed of any wayward wanderer or travel influencer and you are sure to find snaps of people staying in enviable New Zealand back-country locations.
Throw in sleeping under the stars in luxury off-the-grid accommodation and you hit the social media jackpot.
I had been following PurePods on Instagram for a while, so when the opportunity arose to test out one of two new pods in Central Otago, how could I refuse?
The added bonus was I was able to take the husband — just in time for our 20th wedding anniversary.
What is PurePods?
PurePods is a five-star ecotourism business which allows people to stay in custom glass cabins in remote locations.
With a focus on sustainability, each pod is designed to blend into the surroundings, allowing occupants to focus more on the environment they are in.
PurePods launched two new pods near Cromwell last month — the Taima and Haurapa pods.
We were assigned the Tima PurePod, touted as the more adventurous of the two — the road was best suited for fourwheel drive vehicles and those confident driving on gravel.
Before our arrival we received an information pack preparing us for our stay, including detailed instructions on how to find and access the PurePod.
The exact locations of the pods are kept secret until your booking is confirmed — the mystery is part of the appeal.
Armed with our instructions we arrived at the address and began the trip into the hills.
Despite the afternoon’s rain, the road was better than expected, and when we arrived at the car park we were met with views over the Kawarau River and a small shed with gumboots and rain coats.
The instructions said it was only a 300m walk to the pod, so we decided to skip the wet weather gear and just boost it up the hill to the cabin with our overnight bags — rookie move.
The walk to the pod was stunning, but as the rain started to set in we did not get a chance to enjoy it — we both nearly gave ourselves asthma attacks running to the pod and trying — but failing — not to get soaked.
Arriving at the pod, we escaped the rain and got ourselves settled for our stay.
The walls and ceiling of the cabin are all glass — yes even the toilet and the shower — with screens available if guests want some privacy.
Set in a secluded spot, you are not likely to run into anyone else.
The whole cabin is solar powered, with generators ready if needed.
We were surprised how warm the pod was when we arrived — especially being all glass.
Automatic windows help with regulating the temperature of the pod, and also when cooking.
You can also slide the doors wide open for uninterrupted views of the valley.
The fridge was stocked with food for the night — an antipasto platter full of locally sourced meats, cheeses and nibbles; steak and veges for dinner with brownie and custard for dessert; muesli, yoghurt and fruit for breakfast.
The meals were so filling we held off having dessert until after breakfast the next morning.
There is the option to cook your meals on the barbecue on the deck but the rain meant we cooked our meals on the gas hob inside — but that did not matter, they were still delicious and we were able to enjoy the views from the comfort of the pod.
We found card games and a portable speaker to help fill in the afternoon.
Being solar-powered there were no power outlets for devices, just a couple of USB ports to charge phones — for two people who seldom get the chance to disconnect from the world, that was a great bonus.
When the rain cleared we were able to sit on the bed and look across the valley to see mountain ranges.
The area came to life with birdlife — flocks of quail provided our afternoon entertainment, wandering around the pod picking through the outdoors area and generally making themselves at home.
Later that night we were able to look up at the stars while lying in bed — once all the cloud cleared.
I had hoped to get out and try my hand at astrophotography, and my husband was keen to use the telescope in the PurePod, but unfortunately there was too much cloud for us to have any luck.
The next morning the birds were once again out in full force with the quails returning, and fantails and other natives joining in.
With the weather clear, we watched the sun rise from bed, with the light playing on the mountains across the valley.
Checkout for the PurePods is not until 11am, so we were able to have a bit of a lazy start to the morning, taking our time to eat our breakfast (and dessert) before packing up and returning to our car — this time at a much slower pace so we could enjoy the view.
Getting there: Tima PurePod is an easy one-hour drive from Queenstown and Wa ¯naka.
Cost $690 a night — dinner and breakfast package is additional.
To book, purepods.com
The writer was hosted by PurePods.