Follow the precarious and winding roads around Canterbury’s Banks Peninsula and eventually you’ll come across the delightful Pigeon Bay, home to local artist Anna Dalzell and her family; and the rambling organic property they take care of.
Gus and Anna’s values are simple, as is their approach to life and raising their brood. Being able to enjoy good food and share it with friends and family is top of their list and has lead them to grow much of their own food, and care for the land which provides it. Their children enjoy the simplicity of country life, climbing trees, building huts and exploring. Capable and confident they bear the signs of a childhood well spent outdoors.
The owners of the property, Jenny and Taggart Siegel, began planting natives and orchards 15 years ago. Well established now, the farm is abundant and interspersed with pockets of stunning native bush.
Anna works mostly from Omoana Press, her studio in Duvauchelle, where she also runs drawing classes, weekend etching workshops and printmaking holiday programmes for kids. Her classes are about introducing people to art and the fun which they can have being creative. The etching and drawing classes are about sharing the passion Anna has with others who are interested in developing their own artistic skills. Sometimes getting stuck into a drawing or painting can be overwhelming, but Anna breaks it down simply, drawing an understanding about the different elements which shape the final result.
The astounding simplicity of life on the peninsula is something Gus and Anna wanted to share, to give people the opportunity to take a step back and experience a different way of life. With two accommodation options already on the property, opening Fantail Farm eco stay made sense.
The Mud Hut is a tranquil haven, natural and simple, it’s easy to feel revitalised just by wandering inside. There’s a certain therapeutic nature to staying in such an organic space; constructed with earth bricks and a grass roof, the Mud Hut ensures a peaceful experience and freedom from modern day trappings – perfect for reconnecting with your inner self. Exotic and diverse plants surround the hut, channelling the view over the orchards and out to the bay. Shower outside surrounded by native bush, enjoy a glass of wine by candlelight or sleep with the open fire crackling next to you, however you choose to make the most of your time at the Mud Hut you’ll certainly leave feeling replenished.
Oozing with rustic charm, the Red House is a stunning location to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. Warm and comfortable the house is fully equipped with basic amenities to allow a relaxing and revitalising retreat. Looking out to the head of the bay it’s easy to forget you are only just over an hour from the bustling inner city.
There are plenty of options if you wish to venture from your secluded nest at Fantail Farm, a gentle stroll will take you around the property, and further afield the Pigeon Bay walkway, Montgomery Spur Track and the D.O.C trail out to the headland will reward you with expansive views. Hunt and gather your dinner; fish off the rocks or collect mussels by the bay. Even better, combine your stay with a weekend etching workshop or book a time to view Anna’s art at Omoana Press.
Location Banks Peninsula
Words by Liv van Leeuwen & Images by Liv van Leeuwen