Spy: Rachel Hunter’s retreat at Seeby Woodhouse’s new luxury lodge

Spy: Rachel Hunter’s retreat at Seeby Woodhouse’s new luxury lodge


Multi-millionaire Seeby Woodhouse has added luxury lodge owner to his multi-business CV, and has had wellness guru Rachel Hunter hosting a retreat there this weekend.

The lodge is located on Kourawhero Estate, a stunning 40ha section between Puhoi and Warkworth, north of Auckland.

The lodge is named after the kōura, native crayfish, found in freshwater streams, Woodhouse says.

The 44-year-old former party boy is enjoying a more philosophically centred stage of his life.

Woodhouse spent the Covid lockdowns living on his South Auckland farm and felt removed from city life and from his North Shore-based mum, Helen. So he set about finding real estate in the North Shore and North Auckland areas.

“When the lodge came up, I thought I’d go for a drive and check it out. I was struck by how beautiful the environment was, and was immediately drawn to the restful atmosphere.

“I love travelling and so while I wasn’t out there actively looking to join the luxury hospitality industry, I was confident we could add to the team that would deliver an amazing experience to guests,” Woodhouse tells Spy.

He has proudly renamed the lodge Woodhouse Mountain Lodge at Kourawhero Estate. In all the businesses the entrepreneur has created over the years, he has never before used his own name so now this lodge will be something of a legacy.

Hunter has done a series of wellness retreats at luxury locations throughout New Zealand and Woodhouse is pleased to have her there this weekend, hosting alongside his good friend, health and spiritual guide Franko Heke.

Woodhouse is taking his mum along to the retreat for Mother’s Day and is looking forward to doing yoga with Hunter, who is an experienced teacher.

Hunter and Woodhouse are both star alumni of Glenfield College.

“Rachel was seventh form and becoming famous for the Tip Top Trumpet commercial when I was in third form. I ended up sitting at her old desk, which had her name on it, and which became a Glenfield College heirloom,” Woodhouse tells Spy.

Woodhouse Mountain Lodge will be host to more wellness retreats, alongside creative and business summits, team-building weekends, weddings and celebrations.

Woodhouse wants, of course, to see good parties up there, although they won’t be big events like the celebrations he used to throw a decade ago, instead more intimate weekends for 40 people.

There are several entertaining spaces including the main lodge, the restaurant and a chapel, with cabins surrounding. The lodge has 18 suites, with accommodation starting at $450 a night, all with double spa baths and outdoor areas. The estate, 55 minutes from Auckland, also features a health spa, pool and tennis court.

A five-storey waterfall tucked away in bush is Woodhouse’s favourite spot on the estate.

What kind of host will he be? He says he liked how Richard Branson ran Necker Island in the Caribbean when he was lucky enough to stay.

“He created a very chilled-out atmosphere and was free for a good chat about anything interesting in the world.

“Our guests can expect a truly relaxing experience. Some of our guests enjoy an active relaxation holiday by exploring our huge grounds and having a sauna experience, while others enjoy sitting by the fire chatting with friends or reading a book from our library. Almost everyone comments on the amazing cocktails and top-class food we serve.”

Woodhouse returned to New Zealand at the end of 2019 after spending five years travelling to 75 countries and basing himself in LA after his divorce.

Since being home, he has been kept busy running broadband and communications provider Voyager. The $40 million company is 10 years old and employs more than 100 staff.

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