About Us


Your hosts Matt and Brooke originally hail from the North Island of NZ after spending the better part of 6 years in Perth, Australia.Wanting to raise their two young children back in NZ they relocated to Mosgiel in 2019 before falling in love with Lesmagahow on a chance encounter.

Deciding to pursue his dream of running a luxury BNB Matt quit his day job to run the property full time whilst Brooke studies to become a doctor.Unfortunately COVID had other plans and the grand opening was delayed by several months as the country when through lock down.

Finally in May 2020 the couple re-opened the property to give their guests a truly memorable experience. With a customer service background and experience in planning weddings and events, Matt and Brooke plan to put Balclutha on the map as an event and accommodation destination.

About The Fern & Thistle

Lesmahagow is the magnificent villa built by Peter McSkimming in 1914 and now lovingly restored to its former glory. Named after his wife’s home town in Scotland, Lesmahagow sits on 6,000m2 of private landscaped gardens and surveys the local surrounds of Benhar, which the McSkimming’s built as NZ’s first feudal town for their factory workers.

After Mrs McSkimming passed in 1955, the property fell into disrepair before the O’Malleys purchased the property in 1979. Over the next four decades the O’Malleys raised 6 children at the property and made extensive renovations to bring the property up to modern standards.

This work included replanting the gardens with native species and supporting the substantial brick pergolas which became renown as a perfect backdrop for any garden party.

Your current hosts purchased Lesmahagow from the O’Malleys in 2020 just prior to the Covid lockdown and reopened it to the public as a luxury BnB and wedding venue when lockdown finished.

Our facilities

The property is now equipped with many modern conveniences such as central heating, a commercial kitchen, superior WIFI, cafe quality coffee and a fresh water hot pool to relax in after a big day exploring the Clutha area.

For those looking to escape from the world or host a special event, the beautiful grounds provide a perfect back drop for such events as parties, weddings, meditation or photo opportunities. With rates starting at just $120 a night, The Fern & Thistle is the must stop destination if you’re staying in Balclutha.