The Lodge – From Concept to Creation

The vision of Oasis was to create a unique place for guests to feel completely at ease. To be able to unwind and reconnect with their friends and family, and to enjoy interaction with other guests. Creating buildings in keeping with our environment & our own principles was key to the project, with Oasis evolving as an extension of our home & our whanau. Guests are encouraged to live as we do, to be conscious of our footprint, to reduce waste, recycle, compost, and continue the journey to living more harmoniously with the environment.




We aspired to create a place that absorbed all the positive values of campsites and back country huts. Spaces where like-minded people can interact, share stories, and cook in a shared space. To be amongst nature and receive the benefits of fresh air and natural light. At the same time offering a space that went above and beyond people’s expectations was key. Spacious facilities, high end cooking amenities, hotel conveniences, comfort, ambience, and warmth. Furthermore, was ensuring our building impact was minimal and we were constructing a dwelling that would stand for generations to come.



The Lodge was destined to be the centering point of Oasis. The circular representation of harmony and wholeness, where there is no beginning and no end, and all are included. Here in lies our ‘community’ ethos with the Lodge at the center.

The Lodge design began with an image of Industrial rustic strength. We desired sustainable building practices, with minimal construction waste. An aspiration to create a facility that was low impact on the environment, low maintenance in its upkeep, and visually aesthetic. For us, the natural path led us towards a building constructed of Earth and timber.



After deciding on our project design, we sought out to find a construction artisan. Someone with a glowing reputation and experience in constructing hand crafted homes. Who was renowned for building unique structures, using sustainable practices and incorporating individual characteristics into the builds.

We were very fortune to find three amazing, local craftsmen who were keen to take on the project. Locky and Joel from Erkhart Construction, who built and oversaw the project and Jimmy from Down to Earth Building, for his rammed earth expertise. Aside from these three incredible humans there were many skillful people involved, including friends and whanau.




The Lodge walls are constructed using Rammed Earth, A technique, which is sustainable, has a low carbon footprint, structural integrity, energy efficiency and low maintenance. The Earth for the Lodge was sourced locally from the Cardrona Valley.

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For further reading, EarthHomes provides a great history of Earth construction and Modern Earth excellently portray the benefits of building Earth Homes.


The Lodge ceilings introduce our desire for exposed timber. Macrocarpa lines the ceiling, and Douglas Fir (NZ Oregon) was used for the large trusses. Both timbers were sourced from Canterbury plantations.

Douglas-Fir, aside from being a beautiful timber is strong, stable, and naturally not prone to insect bore and moisture retention, which means it does not require chemical treatment to be used in construction.

Macrocarpa has a fantastic rustic appeal. It contains natural oils that deter insects and fungal growth, so again does not require treatment.

On the exterior of the building under the roof line we opted for Cedar for the cladding. Cedar is again very aesthetic by nature; it contains natural insecticides and is resistant to timber rot. It is positioned out of direct sunlight to reduce maintenance.




We opted for LED lighting throughout the Lodge as a low wattage, practical and longer lifespan option. The bathrooms, laundry and exterior lighting are motion sensitive, to minimise energy wastage and light pollution. The Lodge building was made Solar Ready and achieving this is one of our future goals.


Shared kitchen & dining facilities with fireplace at Oasis Yurt Lodge Wanaka

The central space is heated by a wood burner. Wood is a natural source of energy, there is easy supply within the region and the romantic ambience is fantastic. We use a mixture of South Island Macrocarpa and Blue Gum, both of which are considered sustainable, clean burning and high-density timbers, thus ensuring better energy efficiency.

Gas is used to heat water and for stove-tops. Gas was opted for to ensure we could meet the on-demand expectations of our guests, for hot water and for cooking. It provides instant heat, so an excellent option for the simultaneous demands of multiple people. It has also proven fantastic during power outages!

Electric is used to power the bathroom heaters, to provide quick and comfortable heat. Timers are used which we adjust with the seasons to reduce energy wastage.


The Oasis property taps into the Wanaka basin Aquifer. Flowing through charcoal filters to provide unchlorinated fresh water to us and our guests.



A single skip of waste was left over from the build. We re-purposed, reused, and recycled where possible and surplus materials were kept for future projects i.e.SLD04838

  • The bathroom and laundry doors, door frames and runners are made from up-cycled timber & old waratahs.
  • Insulation and small fixings were retained and used for the build of the reception cabin which was built a year later.
  • The Lodge dining tables are made from the surplus timber used for the Yurt floorings.

The Lodge windowsills are made from COR-TEN steel, left exposed to naturally rust with the elements.

The exterior doors and window joinery are all thermally broken and double gazed throughout.

Large open windows complement the North side of the building to emit natural sunlight and energy into the Lodge.



The concept of Oasis sparked during our Europe travels in July 2015. Having time to relax, unwind & reconnect led to the vision.

The Oasis property has a rich history of fun and community. Originally known as Graceland’s, we have many friends in the local area that helped build the original homestead, plant the first trees and by all accounts party like Rockstar’s here some 30 years ago!SLD04917 Edit 1

We came to the land in December 2015 at which time the paddock that is now Oasis was unused. Already having the concept of Oasis in mind we set to obtaining resource and building consent for the project. Simultaneously we began preparing the land, fencing the property, and further evolving the concept. The Oasis build began in July 2017 and we happily opened the doors for business on 1st February 2018.


“This article is included in Twinkl’s Get up and Walk campaign, and is part of their article Some great ideas for Get up and walk February 2021