Karl Puschmann and family stay at Lake Tarawera's award-winning The Boat Shed
Location: The Boat Shed is an easy 20 minutes out of Rotorua. Head up past the towering Redwoods Forest and enjoy the drive through the Lakes district.
Style: Light and airy with a relaxed vibe and welcoming atmosphere. The muted tones of the decor and polished timber floors offer a harmonious contrast to the vivid greens of the lush ponga ferns that surround the property and ensure plenty of privacy. It's luxe without being showy and it's easy to appreciate why it claimed the gold medal at the Bookabach 2020 Bach Of The Year awards.
Perfect for: A large group who want to holiday together and get back to nature in comfort and with all possible mod cons. It sleeps up to 11 guests so there's enough room for extended family to catch up or, even better, head there with a couple of friends and their kids for a shared holiday.
First impressions: The Boat Shed's splendour is all at the back of this tastefully renovated house. After parking, you'll walk around the side to get to the door and be instantly blown away by the simply stunning views the home's elevated position offers of nearby Mt Tarawera and its accompanying, trout-filled, lake. As impressive as the view is, your eye can't help but be quickly drawn to the supersized whirlpool spa pool sitting right there on the lush green lawn.
There's also free Wi-Fi so you can fill up your socials with envy-inducing posts.
Rooms: Adults can retire to one of three comfortably sized bedrooms. In the master, you'll find an indulgent king-sized bed, while the other two rooms make do with spacious queen-size,.
Meanwhile the kids - or those who draw the short straw - can be bundled together into a room that houses two sets of king-single bunks as well as a trundler bed.
Bathroom: With a full house you'll be extremely grateful there are two toilets. One in the main bathroom, which is roomy and has a very good shower, and one right next to it in the hall.
Food and drink: While you're close to Rotorua, you'll want to bring it all with you. There's an well-equipped kitchen - which, yes, enjoys the views - and outside you'll find a large gas-powered barbecue, an authentic wood-fired pizza oven and a stack of the pre-requisite chopped wood. There's a table inside but you'll want to enjoy your meals al fresco at the large table on the deck so you can gobble up your food and the views.
And don't be afraid to bring supplies. There's an extra fridge in the TV room for surplus stocks of booze and food.
In the neighbourhood: The property has its own path that leads you under the fern canopy and down to the Lake Tarawera beachfront. The Boat Shed offers the use of kayaks and paddleboards if you want to head out on the water and tennis rackets if you'd prefer to hit the public court. Right beside the boat ramp is a decent adventure playground.
The Blue and Green Lakes are only five minutes' drive back towards town. And, of course, it's only a quick zip into Rotorua to explore the many tourist experiences there.
Family friendly: Extremely. They've truly thought of everything. There are games for the kids, a 60-inch HD TV with PS4 and Netflix for the kidults and a brilliant Sonos soundsystem in the kitchen you can wirelessly connect to and play your jams.
Accessibility: It's a renovated house and as such is unfortunately not particularly accessible friendly.