Seven years ago Garth and Angie London were looking for a break from their corporate lives.
They liked working with people and Angie was an accomplished cook. The couple were keen climbers and trampers, Garth an instructor for the New Zealand Alpine club.
''We spent a lot of time in huts at the weekend cooking for 40 people so we thought why not turn our passion into a lifestyle, a living,'' he said.
The couple bought a Lake Taupo property and turned it into Whakaipo Lodge, a luxury bed and breakfast five years ago. The hospitality newcomers found their calling as the lodge has twice been awarded the Supreme B&B Business of the Year first in 2016 and again this year.
President of the Bed & Breakfast Association, Rayma Jenkins, said they have continued to show enthusiasm and professionalism in running their business.
Garth London said the couple both previously had management jobs - he in building supplies and his wife in the printing industry.
But when they reached their early 50s they realised they'd had enough.
''We thought we had the right skill set to bring to the industry and wanted to create our own business. We decided very early on that we wanted to create the Kiwi experience,'' he said.
''With many hotels you go to you never meet a New Zealander.''
When the couple take holidays they close down rather than get somebody else to run it to ensure consistent quality. He said the room and breakfast rate started at $425 a night.
''It's not the highest end place or gold plated on but it's pretty good.''
Some guests arrive by helicopter at the lodge which is set on 4ha. More than 90 per cent of guests come from overseas, mainly Europe, United States, Britain, Australia.
Most are here for fishing, cycling, golf, food and wine.