Over the last three years Karen and Kerry O'Reilly have gotten used to the many compliments about their Haruru home. Everything from what a wonderful setting it's in and how peaceful it is, through to how comfortable and stylish the rooms are.
The glowing feedback has come from visitors who've stayed in the home, which the O'Reillys run as a B&B. They've won three awards for it. Visitors relish the chance to chill out in a stunning location while being close to some of Northland's most popular attractions.
For Karen and Kerry the house — named River Retreat — has not only been a great business, but also a fantastic family home. They also love everything their guests enthuse about, particularly the rural setting alongside the Waitangi River.
"It really is so tranquil, yet you're 10 minutes from Paihia and 15 minutes from Kerikeri," says Karen.
Karen and Kerry were specifically looking for a home-and-income when they started house-hunting three years ago. For four months their search was fruitless — but as soon as they saw River Retreat, they knew it would be perfect.
It had been purpose built in 2000 as a B&B by a previous owner who was a boat builder, and it even feels a little like being on a boat, especially when you're standing of the expansive rear deck that looks out to the river.
The layout is unusual, but works well as both a guest house and a family room. There are actually four buildings, with the central one housing the main living areas. This is a huge open plan space with soaring ceilings and striking macrocarpa beams. Not only is there a main level with kitchen, dining area and two living zones, but there's also a mezzanine floor with further space for an office, sitting area and library.
Kerry and Karen have their TV up there, meaning the downstairs area can be screen-free. A fireplace provides a focal point in the room and also keeps it warm in winter, while there is also gas heating if you don't want to light the fire.
In the warmer months, several sets of bifold doors open up to the large curved deck which faces north and has views over ponga trees to the river and countryside beyond.
The kitchen has a benchtop made of jarrah, like the floors, and plenty of storage space.
Extending out from each side of this central hub are two more buildings accessed via enclosed glass walkways. One houses the master suite, which has a large deck and en suite with twin sinks and a double shower.
On the other side are two guest suites, each with their own bathroom and deck. The fourth building comprises the garage, and above it a self-contained loft room with kitchenette and bathroom.
While the separation between the different parts of the house has worked well for guests, it has also been great when family visits, says Karen.
"You have all got your own space, but then there is a central area where you can all get together."
The native bush attracts birdlife, including tui, while the river is popular with ducks.
Paths lead down to the riverside lawn, where Kerry and Karen have put in a pergola that is the perfect spot for al fresco dining or lazing on a lounger and reading a book.
It's been a lovely place to live, says Karen, but the time has now come for them to head back to her native Australia to be closer to family.
838 PUKETONA RD, HARURU
• 4 bedrooms, 4 bathroom, 2 parking spaces.
• Land 7289sq m, house 310sq m.
• Auction: Thur March 28 (unless sold prior)
• Inspect: By appointment
• Schools: Oramohoe School, Kerikeri High School
• Contact: David Baguley, Bayleys, 021 831 440.