Jan 12

Into The Wild Part #2

It’s amazing what you stumble across when you have a chat to someone. While interviewing Stephen Liew about his amazing photography, he mentioned staying at some amazing locations in New Zealand sourced through a company called Canopy Camping.

Inspired by the photographs and the sense of freedom Stephen described when staying at these locations we thought we’d dig a little deeper and find out more so our Smorgasboarder readers could share in the joy.

To that end, we caught up with Liz Henderson, who together with Sonia Minnaar, started Canopy Camping Escapes in a bid to meet the demand from their own families for luxury camping in stunning locations.

Here’s a little bit of our chat with Liz:


Q: Tell me a little bit about how canopy camping came about?

Back in 2012, my business partner (Sonia) and I were lamenting the lack of ‘cool places to stay’ in New Zealand.

If they existed, they were hard to find.

We discovered glamping around the same time – and loved the connection to nature and experiential nature of a glamping escape… having a campfire, enjoying an outdoor bath, sleeping under canvas in the middle of nowhere.

We were looking for a business idea and thought that glamping would appeal to New Zealanders – and help farmers and landowners diversify into tourism.

It took a few years to gather momentum, but it’s definitely a well-established trend now.

  Q: How many sites do you have now?

About 90 and growing!

Q: What do you think people get out of a canopy camping experience?

The chance to escape the everyday grind and immerse themselves in beautiful, natural surrounds.

It’s a chance to slow down, rest and reset.

Many people turn up thinking that they will get out and about to explore the local area – but often they never leave the property.

 Q: For the surfers out there, are there any sites that are closer to the waves that you’d recommend?

We have some great spots near amazing surf breaks – two that spring to mind are Kawakawa Station which is very close to Ning Nong break on Cape Palliser and Woodpecker Hut and Fox Hut which are just above Safety Bay on the West Coast near Punakaiki (http://www.nzsurfguide.co.nz/surf_breaks/west-coast/safety-bay)

Q: What about the snowboarders and skiers – do you open in Winter in the snow country?

The best stays we have for skiers and boarders are Ringa Kaha Cabin on the Central Plateau in the North Island and a number of Canterbury based places 40-50 minutes from Mt Hutt, a Summerhouse and converted railway carriage at Rockwood Station and a shepherd’s hut at Washpen Falls.

Q: What’s on the cards for 2022 for Canopy Camping?

We have lots of new and amazing sites coming on board over the next 3 – 12 months so we’ll be busy onboarding our new hosts.

Q: Do you have a favourite venue?

It’s too hard to choose! 

Q: Do you have a favourite photo of Stephen’s?

Yes, I love the drone shots he took at a Kawakawa Station – beautiful! But I love all the photoshoots he has done for us over the years. Damn COVID for trapping him in Australia! He never fails to deliver exceptional shots

To read more about Canopy Camping, check out our online edition here.


To read more of Stephen’s story, check out our online edition here.