No matter how many times you’ve been up north already, New Zealand’s warmest region always has something new and exciting to offer. To make the most out of your next trip, start with booking the right accommodation – you’ll be thankful for a heated pool and fluffy pillows after a long day of hiking, swimming and posing for photos (don’t tell us it’s not exhausting!).
Driftwood Seaside Escapes
Location: Kerikeri Distance From Auckland: 257 km Price: From $180 per night
Driftwood Seaside Escapes is a set of several houses, located on a private vineyard. From a spacious family villa, The Homestead, to glamping cabins at the beach to the romantic and secluded ‘The Hammock’ – this accommodation has something unique for everyone willing to experience ‘slow living’ at its finest.
The time at Driftwood truly slows down, allowing you to exhale and enjoy those simple pleasures of life we often don’t have time for during the week, like reading or chatting to your other half while soaking in the views and indulging in a hot cup of coffee from a giant mug. You’ll find everything you need inside: books, DVDs, coffee machine, barbecue, picnic blankets, even a jar of marshmallows. The weekend is sorted!
We can’t recommend The Bach cottage enough. It’s decorated in a very cosy and relaxing rustic manner that makes you want to ditch any plans and stay inside all day long. Mornings at The Batch are the best – it’s the most elevated cottage of Driftwood and boasts outstanding sunrise views.
Things to do: shop at The Merchants of Kerikeri, try artisan chocolates at Makana Confections, explore Stone Store – the oldest stone building in New Zealand.
Location: Matakana Distance From Auckland: 80 km Price: From $295 per night
No signs along the road, no booking.com account – Koru Hideaway is carefully tucked away from prying eyes. Its founders, Lindsay Scott and Brian McPhun, value the privacy and tranquillity above anything.
Two self-contained spacious and airy units can fit families of up to six people but luxurious vibes and eco-focus of this place attract mostly young couples. Because where else do millennials unwind these days, if not by a picture-perfect infinity pool with breathtaking views over the rolling green hills? Well, unless you prefer your very own outdoor spa-bath, both rooms are equipped with that Instagram-worthy pastime as well.
Lindsay Scott is an artist, hugely inspired by African culture and nature. Her artworks, picturing wild animals, decorate the walls of Koru Hideaway. You can also spot furniture, handcrafted by Brian. When they bought this piece of land, accommodating tourists wasn’t yet in mind. They were building Koru Hideaway for themselves, so love and personal touch is seen everywhere. “We just thought, the sunsets here are just too gorgeous not to share them with anyone,” smiles Lindsay.
Things to do: go hiking at Tawharanui Regional Park, walk the Sculpture Trail at the Brick Bay winery, stop for lunch at The Farmer’s Daughter.
Location: Whangarei Distance From Auckland: 160 KM Price: From $119 per night
Located right next to Town Basin, this hotel is the best starting point to explore Whangarei area. And should we even mention those epic views over the yachts resting at the marina?
This hotel offers everything you expect from a four-star: friendly reception, good restaurant and convenient parking. But the highlight of staying here is definitely the time spent by the pool. Both the refreshing main pool and enormous heated spa are located under the roof, so are great to enjoy in any weather. A casual but lovely outdoor barbecue area is right next to it. Dinner by the pool? Yes, please! Weirdly enough, you’re most likely to have this space all to yourself!
Things to do:hike up Mount Manaia at Whangarei Heads, watch kiwi birds feeding at Kiwi North, dive at Poor Knights Islands.