The concept of tiny houses has always fascinated me. In a modern world, where many of us are reconsidering how much "stuff" we need, these are the ultimate minimal spaces.
Like many, I love the idea of living in one but am aware the reality of four of us permanently in that space might not be that pretty. Lucky for us, a new tiny house has been installed as part of a regeneration of the Kaipātiki Campground, just 40 minutes up the road, so we were able to enjoy some time in one of these houses to see what it's really like.
Kaipātiki Reserve is jointly owned by Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara and Auckland Council, while Te Poari o Kaipātiki ki Kaipara is the jointly governed body established to help develop and restore the former Parakai Springs Campground. While the bach is still being restored and work has yet to start on the campground, the tiny house is open for bookings.
The location is great, right next to Parakai hot pools, which is somewhere our boys love hanging out. The hydroslides haven't changed much since I was a kid but neither have the squeals of joy as kids are spat out the end of the tube into the swirling pool at the end.
After a relaxing soak in pools and some excellent Turkish takeout from The Ville in Helensville (that lamb souvlaki!) we were ready for a night in our tiny abode.
While the outside really did look tiny (go figure) — it was incredible how spacious it felt inside. We slept in a queen-sized loft bed upstairs, while the kids were in the bunks just off the beautifully equipped kitchen.
There were all kinds of nifty space-saving features that made the lounge area comfortable for game-playing and TV time later on. The cute coffee table even folded out into a dining table. The space was light and bright and the interior very on trend, with light wood and cream furnishings. We loved the electric blinds that raised simultaneously at the press of a button.
The only thing that took a bit of getting used to was the fact the house was on wheels. This means, much like a campervan, one person walking around rocks the house a bit. I imagine you would soon get used to this.
In the morning it was off to nearby Te Awaroa Cafe (owned by two members of Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara iwi and named after the river that flows alongside Helensville) for some excellent bagels and kombucha on tap — this place used to be the Kombuchery, where Mama's Kombucha was produced. Then on to Woodhill for mountain biking with some chill-out time at Muriwai Beach afterwards. We definitely enjoyed our brief stay in our tiny house and while we probably wouldn't want to live in one this size permanently, we could see how it's a super-fun holiday option for families, either to rent for a weekend or as a slightly more affordable bach purchase.
Staying in a tiny house
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We talked to Simone Scoppa from Bookabach about tiny house holidays. She said. "Over the last few years tiny houses have become increasingly popular as a more affordable and sustainable way of living, so it's no surprise that this has had an impact on the traditional holiday bach.
"As a result of this growing trend, we are seeing a number of tiny homes listed on bookabach.co.nz .
"From what I hear people are turning to them as its a more affordable way to own a holiday home, versus a big build on your vacant block of land.
"Ultimately, travellers are looking for great experiences to make memorable holidays and a tiny house stay is truly a unique experience that can also be budget-friendly.
"Affordability is key for families and we saw this recently in our annual Bach of the Year Awards, where a classic beachfront bach in Whangarei Heads took out the coveted title of Bach of the Year."