Stories of Merry People: Nick & Aaron's journey creating Kittawa Lodge
Since Merry People's beginnings, we've been lucky enough to connect with some amazing people and hear their incredible stories. At Merry People, we believe life's all about embracing the unknown, trying new things and following passions, so we're here to share the stories of people who inspire us to do just that.
We knew when we met Aaron and Nick, partners who turned their lives upside-down to pursue their 10-year-long dream of starting boutique accommodation Kittawa Lodge, we just had to share their story! We really appreciate their courage to start anew, sense of adventure, and determination to follow their passions and live authentically.
The lodge is nestled in a rocky and windswept coast of King Island, Australia, so it's only fitting that our Merry People Darcy Boots are free for guests to use, readying travellers to take on any adventure.
Read our interview with Aaron and Nick below, we hope it inspires you!
Hey Aaron and Nick! It’s so nice to have you on the Stories of Merry People series, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and how Kittawa Lodge came to be?
Hello, thank you for having us! Kittawa Lodge was borne from our desire to create a luxurious, bespoke, experience for discerning travellers seeking to combine rest and relaxation with adventure. We chose King Island because it was conveniently located only 35-minutes by plane from Melbourne, yet you feel like you have entered another world altogether. It provides our family, and our guests, with a close-knit community, a thriving arts scene, world-class produce and cheese and a variety of incredible landscapes.
You moved across Australia, from Sydney to King Island, which is quite the move! Why did you choose to locate yourself there? What is your favourite thing about King Island?
Yes, a lot of people have commented on our move from Paddington in Sydney to King Island. For us, it has felt very natural. We so loved our time in Paddington (which, in its own way, provided a sense of urban community), though as a young family we were ready to spread our wings.
Our favourite thing about King Island is the sense of freedom you have. Whether it be creating the only footprints on a white sandy beach, walking along a wilderness track with your only company being a white-bellied sea eagle, or simply exploring our property, the sense of freedom is something that really allows you to breathe out.
Kittawa Lodge is intrinsically connected to the landscape in which it’s been built on. What does your outdoor lifestyle mean to you? And how does it make you feel?
Our outdoor lifestyle is fundamentally about connecting with family, friends and nature. On our Bass Strait isle, any outdoor adventure is invigorating to all senses. The thing we love most about King Island is that every time we head out on an adventure, we find something new to marvel at. King Island is a gift that just keeps giving, slowly revealing itself to you, one secluded beach at a time.
For Kittawa Lodge, we wanted to connect our guests with a new piece of Australia, celebrating and showcasing our windswept coastline, 12,000-year-old sand dunes, incredibly rare coastal ecosystem created by our natural springs (which have been flowing for around 4,000 years) and, of course, the wonderfully secluded privacy which our pristine wilderness provides.
For our guests, a stay at Kittawa Lodge, on King Island, they often comment on how relaxed and re-energised they are. You can see it in their posture, in the way they speak. It is the cumulation of the quiet moments that add up to something special: luxuriating in your bath, with a glass of your favourite in hand, as you watch the sun setting over the ocean, contemplating that the next landfall is Argentina; watching the ever-curious wallabies frolicking mere metres from your lodge, without a care in the world; the game of chess or scrabble; the long breakfasts or lie-ins; the long walks; the crackling fire; the memorable meals. It all adds up to create a feeling of warmth and belonging.
I’m sure there’s been many, but what’s been one of your merriest moments you’ve had during the journey of Kittawa Lodge?
Honestly, the merriest moments are always our guests’ first reaction when entering their lodge. We have poured so much of our energy into creating a series of beautiful, homely, yet sophisticated spaces, to allow our guests to decompress and reconnect. We have poured ourselves into every aspect of the guest’s all-inclusive experience from their daily cooked meals, arranging relaxation and rejuvenation packages and curating individual itineraries so that our guests feel cared for and welcome.
So, when they enter and burst into tears, drop their jaw, or beam into a huge smile, it is the most satisfying merry moment for us.
Why did you want to team up with Merry People?
"We are always on the lookout for amazing Australian companies which align with our philosophy of placing our guests (their customers) and our shared environment first, and who have a high-quality, sustainable product which would amplify our guests’ experience at Kittawa Lodge. Merry People ticks all of those boxes and provides our guests with the comfort to explore our Bass Strait isle in comfort!"
I can imagine that being prepared for any weather is a necessity of living on King Island! What clothes or outfits do you recommend for people exploring rustic terrain?
It is often said that King Island is never as warm as, or as cold as, Melbourne. It is a wonderfully temperate climate, with many warm sunny days to enjoy the secluded coastlines surrounding our grassy pastures and windswept rocky outcrops. Being in the middle of the Roaring Forties, we do on occasion have a blustery day, which invigorates the senses. We recommend packing layers rather than anything terribly bulky, so that you can flex to the conditions more easily. Each guest at Kittawa Lodge will enjoy the use of our Merry People Darcy Gumboots, which will ready you for any adventure, regardless of the weather! We also have lined wind jackets, to make it easier for you to pack light!
How do you feel when you put on your Merry People boots?
There is a sense of security and confidence you feel when you are in Merry People’s Long Gumboots. That feeling that you can walk anywhere, and explore all areas, without worrying about slipping or getting dirty.
Read more about Nick and Aaron's journey to creating Kittawa Lodge here.