Your Host

Your host, Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa, your host at Mokoia Downs. Although I may not be a born and bred New Zealander (my family came to NZ from the US when I was 13 years old), I am now very much a Kiwi at heart.

I grew up in Auckland and spent most of my adult years there working in IT as a Project Manager.

Ever since my first trip overseas (to Indonesia) as a 15 year old, I’ve had a passion for travel, and every few years would take extended leave from my job to travel for 2-6 months. In spite of my intentions to explore other parts of the world, I was always pulled back to South East Asia - in particular to Indonesia (20 islands visited at last count!), but also Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Burma.

In 2013, the corporate world wore me down, and I decided to travel for a year. I quit my job, rented my house out, packed my bag and jumped on a plane. Just for a year, I said. Maybe a year and a half if I stretched my budget. Ten months into m travels, I landed in Turkey where I spent 2 months exploring anicent ruins and gorgeous coast towns. The last place on my itinerary was the fascinating lunar landscape of Cappadocia - and it was here that I stayed. For four years! A series of opportunities led me to hotel management, and was soon offered a 3-year partnership in a small 10-room guest house. This was too good an opportunity to turn down! A change in lifestyle, a change in career, and living in a country rich with history and culture. But what I loved most was the opportunity to meet travellers from so many countries around the world and to share my knowledge of Cappadocia, including some ‘best kept secrets’ of the hidden gems to be found. I found that I had a hidden talent (and passion) for hosting guests - and along with my hard-working business partner, we became one of the top-rated guesthouses in Cappadocia.

ZIplining through native NZ bush with Canopy Tours, Rotorua (Highly recommended!)

Although we had a very successful venture, I planned to return to NZ when our term was up - and now I knew that I could consider owning and operating my very own guesthouse or B&B back in my home country.

It was during a visit home to family for Christmas that I first heard about Mokoia Downs. When I learned that it was on the market, it was too good to be true. Long story short - I moved into Mokoia Downs on 1 August 2018 and look forward to continuing to provide the same levels of hospitality and service that the previous owners were renowned for.

Aside from travel, I also have an amateur interest in photography, camping in some of NZ’s best coastal regions, cooking Asian-influenced dishes and trying new adventure activites (at least those that don’t involve free-falling!).

I look forward to welcoming new guests (and returning guests) to this beautiful and fascinating part of the world - and to share stories of our favourite travels here in NZ and further afield. It is my wish that your time at Mokoia Downs will become one of those memories to be shared with friends and loved ones for many years to come.


Checking out the thermal activity at Kuirau Park (in central Rotorua) - a very surreal place!