Our Story


From  Humble Beginnings.


Visitors have travelled to stay in Glenorchy, at the head of the lake, since the early 1800s in awe of the magnificent and revered glacially mountain scenery. 


The original properties housed the historic Glenorchy campground where for many years Kiwis came to camp and access the greater outdoors and trout-rich waters of the Dart, Routeburn, Rees and Greenstone rivers nearby.


American philanthropists Debbi and Paul Brainerd had an innovative and progressive vision for the property when they first visited in 2014, subsequently designing and creating Camp Glenorchy based on regenerative design principles.


It’s the first-ever accommodation facility designed and certified according to the Living Building Challenge – the most rigorous sustainability standard globally - created in collaboration with the local community, national and international experts including many artists, craftspeople, and energy management specialists.


Our state-of-the-art buildings, including the luxury lodge, dining room, living areas and large, artist-crafted meeting and entertainment room alongside the individual chalets, have evolved into The Headwaters Eco Lodge and Chalets. They stand as an international showcase of unsurpassed regenerative design and beautifully comfortable accommodations that create restorative experiences for our guests.


With intrinsic links to the local community, the founders of The Headwaters have set up the Glenorchy Community Trust, administered entirely by local trustees, to benefit from company profits. The Trusts mission is to give back and increase the vibrancy and resilience of the town and its people.




“Our vision was to create a thriving regenerative business model that is environmentally and financially sustainable, and that gives back to the local community and larger world.”

Debbie Brainerd, Founder


Local Community & Sustainability


Staying at The Headwaters Eco Lodge means you’ll make a real difference to the planet and to our local Glenorchy community. The Headwaters Lodge and private chalets have been built to one of the highest standards of sustainability in the world known as the Living Building Challenge and was recently acknowledged receiving the world’s first ILFI Certification of Sustainability for Visitor Accommodations. We are certified Net Positive for Energy producing more energy through solar and well-designed buildings than The Headwaters operations require.


Company profits from The Headwaters business go to the Glenorchy Community Trust administered entirely by local trustees to benefit the local community – discover more here.


Our Reviews

WEDDING IN PARADISE Our son and his new bride chose Camp Glenorchy for their wedding over the weekend. What a fabulous venue. The main lodge easily accommodated for the 95 people at the wedding breakfast and the separate dance floor and bar was ideal. The caterer produced a fantastic meal in...

Helen, Invercargill

All Reviews