Church Hill Restaurant Limited is a proudly New Zealand owned and operated business that offers fully hosted accommodation and dining on Stewart Island, New Zealand. We have an emphasis on fresh local produce, homemade and prepared to order.
Your hosts are Deanne and Chris Sara who re-established Church Hill Restaurant & Oyster Bar in 2012 and Church Hill Boutique Lodge & Restaurant in 2017.
"For us, it is all about our island and the experience we want our guests to take away with them."
Situated on the hill by the church we offer our guests wonderful views of the bay, the outer islands and the best of Stewart Island.
Check out images from Church Hill by clicking our Instagram link at the bottom of the page
Natures Helping Hand
We have recently been plagued with an unusual number of easterly winds. These are bad for boating and disrupt the ferries, it is also a cold wind. However it does bring up the seaweed and that is great for the gardens. We love our gardens and use them as a source of many things for our restaurant menu. I made a few trips to the beach and collected a good amount of seaweed to place among the vegetables. This will help the garden grow, and with the weather warming up the gardens are now looking very nice, and it should be a plentiful harvest.
It is great how nature takes with one hand and gives with another.
We don't use chemicals in our gardens and rely on companion planting and our natural pest catchers to control the bugs, we even use the salt water from the cray tank to kill the weeds in the paving stones.
It is always nice to have company in the garden on a nice day, even if he does eat the worms!
Local Fare Hits our Plates
As the summer starts up and the visitor number grow we look forward to offering some real local cuisine; crayfish and muttonbird. We have cray fresh from our salt water tank that offers dinners the freshest experience of food possible. Deanne has been busy prepping the fresh muttonbirds and we will have them available on our menu very soon. They have been down in a confit style and served with puy lentils, roasted vegetables and a blackcurrant jus, made from our own blackcurrants. These local delicacies represent the commitment we have to producing quality local food at Church Hill.
We have had a "Stoked Stainless" wood fired hot tub for a while now but we have now installed it for the use of our guests that are booked to stay in Foveaux.
Stoked Stainless are a Kiwi business based in Wanaka that make handcrafted products. We love supporting local New Zealand companies and know that this product will be a great extra to those staying with us.
The bath is spacious and can seat 2 very comfortably for a romantic star lit soak, or to relieve the aches after that long day walk to Port William. We have tried out the bath and it is very nice and you can have it at the temperature that suits you.
Further details about the facilities are available on the accommodation pages.
The Island for the 2018-19 Season
The island is now readying for the summer season. This means staffing levels increase and the days draw longer. We hope for a summer like last season which delivered warm dry days and nights. That said, we always need some rain to keep our water supplies healthy and the kiwis and other birds happy.
Eating options will again be tight but The French Crepery will be doing evening dining options this season and fingers crossed the Kia Kart may reopen. Otherwise there is us and the South Seas hotel with licensed restaurants and the 4 Square for everything you need if you have self catered accommodation.
We are not open to the public this Xmas day but will cater for all the needs of our lodge guests staying with us over Xmas. We will be open on all other days except Xmas day itself.
We wish you all the best for your time on the Island, regardless of where you stay and dine.
Changes coming to our Island
The Island is currently undergoing some changes / developments, and mostly for the good. These changes will have an impact over the coming seasons if not this coming season. Many people plan their trip quite far in advance so it is always worth checking out the websites to see what is happening.
Many people come to the island and discover there is so much more to us than they expect. We definitely recommend staying at least 2 nights so you get to experience the island better.
What was the former Dancing Star Foundation is now Mamaku Point. It is located at Lee bay and Horseshoe Bay and is undergoing a redevelopment to once again make it an ecological wonderland. There will be public access to the site for guided walks and native floral talks. Visit their website for details and also visit Beaks and Feathers (highly recommended by Church Hill guests) for details about their tours to Mamaku Point and beyond.
Stewart Island or Rakiura Museum is currently building a new museum which will be a great asset for the village. The current museum is still operating and the new museum will be finished hopefully for next season. This is a great chance for the Island to reconnect with the past and have a facility that will showcase our islands spirit and history. There may be some disruption during the building process but nothing to bad.
Stewart Island is also undergoing the process of gaining dark skies sanctuary status. This means we will fulfill the requirements of having minimal light pollution which enables greater viewing of the night skies. This is something that fits well with the islands ecological assets and is a project I have been involved with personally. We already have very low levels of light pollution so our night skies are already worth a visit. I may have to invest in a telescope to put out on those great dark nights.
So if you are coming, or thinking about coming, to Stewart Island, Rakiura, check out the Stewart Island website for everything going on. We urge you to give yourself plenty of time to experience what we have to offer. Check out the rest of our site for details on accommodation and dining as we would love to host you during your stay.
We know you will love us as much as we will love you.
Help Keep us Clean and Tidy
When you visit any place in the world it is important to remember what it was that attracted you to visit that place. For Stewart Island that is the beautiful surroundings, clean waters and abundant bird life. It is this way because we care about our Island and work to keep it this way. During the busy holiday times we as locals are out numbered by the visitors and that means our resources are stretched and our systems pushed to the limits to cope. You can help us out by simply putting all your rubbish in the bins, and if you find them full then carry it to the next bin or squash it down.
Water is always a precise resource and during the summer it does become hard to get as we rely on the rain for our supply. Think about that in the shower or when you brush your teeth or simply run a tap.
Share the roads and be aware at night it is hard to see people in dark clothing looking for kiwis.
If you are wanting to fish then be aware of the rules. There are reasons for quotas and size limits. There will be plenty for everyone if we all use it fairly.
We look forward to your visit and the support it gives our community and hopefully your visit will leave the island better off than when you came; that should be our aim wherever we visit.
All prices listed for accommodation, dining, related products, and services are in New Zealand Dollars (NZD).
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Any information provided directly to Church Hill in any form is strictly private and will not be shared with external bodies without the permission of those providing said information. Should you have any concerns regarding your private information then please feel free to contact us.