Melissa Nightingale experiences Pipinui Point, a secluded, romantic getaway on the cliffs above the Tasman Sea
Location: Pipinui Point seems like it's far away from civilisation, but it's actually only about half an hour's drive from central Wellington. Perched on a clifftop overlooking the Tasman Sea (with a view of the South Island), it's just along from the stunning wedding venue Boomrock in Ōhariu Valley. The two-bedroom house has only just been built, specifically to serve as a luxury coastal retreat on Wellington's west coast.
Style: Sleek and minimalist, but with an understated rustic vibe. There are collections of dried floral arrangements hanging around the house, and a plywood-look to the interior. The furniture is cosy and has just the right amount of squish to it, and there's plenty of books and games lying around to make it look like the place is meant to be lived-in and enjoyed.
But the matte black panelling, unobtrusive cupboard doors that blend into the walls, and neutral tones give it that touch of luxury. The floor-to-ceiling windows add another layer of wow factor, particularly with such gorgeous views to peer out at.
Perfect for: Couples who want to spend a night or two away without interruption. While yes, you aren't too far from Wellington city, this is really the kind of place you visit to enjoy the wilderness of the coast and the total seclusion of the area. However it is a two-bedroom house, so could make for a great trip with close mates.
Price: It ranges from $575 per night in winter for two people, to $775 per night from October to April, and $1200 per night during the peak time of December 23 to January 6. There are extra charges for additional guests if you're bringing more than two people. Weekend stays are a two-night minimum.
First impressions: Oh my gosh, it's so windy. Then: wow, that view is unreal. The house is 250m above sea level, with a view right down to the bottom of the cliff where the waves are beating against the jagged rocks. Down a short walkway there's also an outdoor bath on the clifftop, with what has to be the best view from any bath in New Zealand.
Once you step inside the house, there's already music playing and a fire going, which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. It's also well insulated from the cold and the noise of the wind. It's like stepping into a warm cocoon.
Rooms: The master bedroom is simple and uncluttered. There's a big, puffy bed draped in blankets with a dried flower arrangement hanging on the wall above. There's a big sliding door leading out onto the deck, and a long window on the wall offering views out over the water. Lying down on the bed feels like you're sinking into a cloud.
Bathroom: Black, black, black. Dark tiling on the floor, matte black walls, vanity, even a black toilet. The shower has a little indented shelf built into the wall, with its own set of lights to illuminate the Ashley and Co shampoo products. A peek into the vanity drawers reveals a small collection of sanitary items, makeup removal pads, and even a little tin of chewable toothpaste tablets.
The bath, which technically falls under the bathroom category but in reality is something else altogether, is down a short wooden walkway leading off the deck, nestled among sheltering bushes, and overlooking the water. What's really great about the bath is that you can fill it remotely. Our host, owner Tom Eastwick, tells us before he leaves that we can simply press a discreet silver button behind the TV in the house, and in about 40 minutes the bath will be ready. While it fills quite quickly, it takes some time to cool down to the right temperature, he says. It definitely feels like a luxury to walk out to the bath and find it already full. We had the bath ready to climb into just as the sun was setting over the sea. Perfection.
Food and drink: A continental breakfast - including a fresh loaf of bread, locally made spreads, and cereal is included in the cost of the stay. For an extra cost you can order a dinner cooked by head chef Warren Maddox. He's left us the Wakanui beef short rib with hazelnut crumb, port jus and carrot textures along with roast potatoes and a cold cauliflower salad. All we had to do was reheat the sides, and cook the beef on the baby Weber barbecue outside. Cheeseboards and antipasto platters are also available to buy, either to enjoy at the house, or to take as a picnic out on the farmland. There's also a selection of wines and beers in the cupboards for an extra cost.
Facilities: There's Wi-Fi in the house, and some cellphone service though it's not the strongest. Plenty of parking available - after all, you are the only ones out there. There's a TV with a Netflix account connected, plus a basket of device chargers.
Activities: Guests can book a number of activities on site, including a private Jaguar race track experience, Landrover Extreme 4WD, a clay bird shooting facility, and coastal safari farm tours.
Sustainability: The retreat is on 650 hectares of coastal farmland that has been in Eastwick's family since the 1800s. He and his team are focused on protecting the land for generations to come.
"The building itself is completely removable from the piles to the structure itself to ensure minimal impact to the land. We've also preserved 120 hectares of native bush for regeneration and teamed up with Capital Kiwi to help them with their mission to release the rare rowi kiwi at Pipinui Point next year," Eastwick says.
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