The Ark, Cottle Hill Creek, Kerikeri
A floating, self-contained bach, tethered to the bank of a Kerikeri duck pond.
Location: Just outside Kerikeri proper, beyond the Cottle Hill Winery on State Highway 10.
Style: Off-grid idyll on the water with no neighbours but the ducks.
Perfect for: A solar-powered recharge, or a cruisey couple days.
First impressions: Arriving down the gravel track at the Cottle Hill pond, the first impression is the sheer number of poultry ranging freely. Watch out for the guineafowl.
The bach itself is tucked away in a corner of the duck pond behind a very bushy willow and a mulberry tree, and there's an inviting looking dingy boat and oars. Very Wind in the Willows.
Rooms: The Ark is an A-frame studio. Apart from the gentle sway and odd passing duck, you'd be hard-pressed to tell there was nothing below you but water. The kitchenette is well equipped for any occasion – unless that occasion requires an oven, which it doesn't have. The "eco" cabin might well stand for "economical", fitting a log burner, L-shaped sofa and bookshelf into the space. The sofa does fold out to sleep an extra pair of guests, but the Ark is really a space for two.
The bedroom is up a drop-down ladder in the loft area. Nest-like it sits up against the arched roof, level with the skylight windows and a pair of Welcome Swallows, which dart out on sorties over the pond.
Bathroom: A sink, warm shower and full set of ablutions. The indoor compost toilet is at odds with the rest of the washroom. However it is a neat solution to minimise floating plumbing, with a bucket of fragrant sawdust.
Food and drink: A self-catered unit. However, there are basics provided, including fresh eggs from the chooks. Kerikeri high street is 10 minutes away but with waterside decking and a barbecue area under the big willow, you'll want to dine in.
What's in the neighbourhood: Two kunekune pigs, a dozen assorted chicken, ducks and some goats. More than 6ha of "the good life" on a Northland lifestyle block.
There's not much space for a family to stay. Being situated over water means you'd have to mind younger kids, but being surrounded by wildlife and having access to a kayak straight from the front door, is the sort of novelty older children would love.
Its situation over water and the leap from the pontoon to the floating Ark lend unique appeal but make it impractical for some.
The eco-cabin is entirely powered by a couple of solar PV panels pinned on the side of the Ark. Low power LED bulbs hang on a network of cables, which can be a little tricky to find and the storage complains when used too extensively. But you've come here to unwind – not to charge your electrical appliances.
From of $240 a night, with a $60 surcharge for one-night stays.
Cottle Hill Creek, Cottle Hill Drive
021 284 7277