Furneaux Lodge has a relatively unique place in NZ history. The original 1,000-acre property on the northeast side of Endeavour Inlet, below 823 metre Mount Furneaux, was acquired in 1903 by Patrick Howden. He was the owner of The Wellington Biscuit and Confectionery Company. At the time, the property was clad in mature ancient forest. A holiday home and the waterfront were developed, but the forest was untouched. After Howden died, his son, Harry, took over the property.
Harry was a naval captain/war hero and, like his father, a strong conservationist. He placed the land in a private scenic reserve In 1937, then bequeathed it to NZ in 1961 as the Howden Bush Scenic Reserve. In the 1970s, the private house formed the basis for the development of Furneaux Lodge. The lodge sits on the Queen Charlotte Track, about a six-hour hike from the start at Ship Cove and then a four-hour hike to Camp Bay and Punga Cove. It’s a remote location, really only accessible by boat, and the ecological backdrop makes for a special place in the broader sounds, as well as a feature of the track.
Even if you are not staying at the lodge, you can visit the restaurant for a drink or meal. A wide grassed area between the restaurant and the foreshore has several beautiful trees. Thai includes an unusual yellow-flowered pohutukawa. The beach at low tide is mostly orange to yellow stones as the tide goes out, but there are better options for swimming. Watch out for curious weka, pukekeo and paradise ducks (pūtangitangi).