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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Travel: New Zealand's Best Glamping Experiences on the North Island

The Ultimate Glamping Experiences on New Zealand's North Island
See more of our New Zealand Adventures & other travels here!

So, last week I shared out Adrenaline Packed Adventures in Rotorua with you and today I'm sharing the polar opposite. 

Pure relaxation. Switched off, no electricity, no television, back to nature bliss. It's exactly what we needed after such a heart racing, blood pumping kinda day and I cannot wait to share these two little slices of heaven with you all. 

So let me show you New Zealand's Best Glamping Experiences! >> 


Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

After hurtling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball, we dried off and changed into warm clothes before hopping back in the car to our next adventure. 

We were driving from Rotorua, slightly south east (but mainly east) to Whakatane, a town with a name I quickly discovered was way more amusing than I first thought. 

You see, whilst Jesse and I were pronouncing it as "Whuk-a-tan-ay" or "Whack-a-tan-ay", a local quickly welcomed us to "fuk-a-tarn-ay". 

Jesse and I turned to each other with a face of disbelief and shock, wondering if we heard what we thought we heard only to have that local tell us "well, it is a bit amusing... we didn't always use to say it that way but that's how the Maori said it so that's how we say it today". 

Fuk
A. 
Tarn. 
Ay.

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

After giggling ourselves silly in the car, we headed further down the road with our groceries ready to settle in for the night at our glamping escape. We were staying at Chattan Farm, a 780 hectare sheep and cattle farm in the gorgeous Bay of Plenty Region. 

The property is covered in protected native bush and full of native bird life and right in the middle of it all, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, is a beautiful glamping tent where we'd be calling home for the night. 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

Our host Tim met us at the front gate of the property before guiding us down in our car to the tent. It's about a 10 minute drive from the main property, down a dirt track and whilst you may find yourself wondering where on earth you're heading, you'll soon arrive at paradise. 

Tim showed us around the campsite and told us how everything worked before heading off to leave us in peace and tranquility. 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

I'm a girl who has never been camping in her life (my Dad will tell you his idea of "camping" is a three star hotel) and after this experience, I don't think I ever will. 

Chattan Farm is definitely a glamping experience as you have everything you need and more. A comfy queen sized bed (and extra single bed), cozy armchair and wood burning stove sit at the farthest end of the tent, ready and waiting for the best night's sleep. 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

Also inside is a full dining table and plenty of books, magazines and even a puzzle to keep you entertained. 

The tent's windows allow you to let in the fresh air and cool breeze and enjoy the view without letting in all the bugs. 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

But the tent is only some of the package. Just twenty or so steps away from the tent you'll find a fully stocked camp kitchen and outdoor table, complete with barbeque, all the cups, plates, dishes and cutlery you could require, "chilly bin" (what New Zealanders call an esky/ice chest) and sink with gas hot water. 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

To the left of the camp kitchen, you'll find the bathroom area with shower, sink and gas hot water again (no cold showers for these "campers") and just a few steps away again in the toilet. 

Now, the toilet seems to be the question on everyone's minds when they find out we went glamping. 

First question? Was it an actual toilet. Yes but no.... it wasn't a regular flushing toilet, rather an eco toilet. Otherwise known as essentially a whole in the ground with a toilet seat on top. 

Was it disgusting? It was definitely not as bad as I was expecting. Whilst I'm not about to put one in at our house, it wasn't terrifying and it didn't smell absolutely awful - so there are your answers :P

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

As Chattan Farm is a sheep farm, there are plenty of sheep to keep you entertained. We heard them chatting to one another in the distance and took a quick walk over to the fence where they were hanging out on the hill. 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

The day we were there it was seriously cold and a little rainy (which was okay as it meant we kept cosy by the fire!), however, if we ever head back I would definitely take the time to explore the different walking trails on the property, discovering the different streams and trees on the property. 

If you're a horse rider, you can even bring your own horse and explore the different trails around the property! 

Chattan Farm Glamping Tent Experience in Whakatane Bay of Plenty New Zealand

After an incredible night's sleep (seriously, there is no noise other than the sound of birds and wildlife), I woke up and headed outside to find dozens of little bunnies hopping about and we readied ourselves for our next adventure! 

That day we headed up the coast to Coromandel, however, I want to tell you about our next glamping adventure that was just a few days later!

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping


Just a few days later, I had a surprise in store for Jesse with our second glamping experience. 

We'd just spent the day at Hobbiton (I'll share that in another post!) and drove back into town to our next accommodation. Jesse had no idea where we were going. I'd told him we'd be glamping again (so he could charge his phone), but that's all I'd told him. 

We arrived at Underhill in the Waikato area and Jesse had no idea what was about to unfold...

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

We arrived at the property and met our host, Craig, who loaded our bags and food onto a four wheeler and drove us down the hill to this.... our very own "Hobbit Hole". 

The moment I saw Underhill I knew it would be perfect for Jesse. A huge LOTR fan who has always wanted to stay in a hobbit hole (and wants to build his own in our backyard) - and Underhill was the perfect way to finish up our Hobbit Day at Hobbiton. 

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

Our home for the night was built by owner, Jessie's, father who dreamt up this little escape for his family and built and designed it all himself - with the help of some friends. 

Jessie's dad created the hobbit-style house over 15 years ago and it's been a closely guarded family secret until recently when the family opened it up for others to enjoy. It's handcrafted with rustic native timbers and ironwork to create a sustainable, magical space. 

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

The house is completely off the grid with no power, however, you'll be grateful for that come sunset when you light all of the candles and Underhill becomes an incredible romantic escape. 

Also inside the house is a full kitchen with running water (the hot was inside is heated by the coal range, however, the "wash cave" has gas heated hot water that's always piping hot and ready to go. 

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

Just outside is the wash cave and gorgeous outdoor bathtub as well as the toilet. Like Chattan Farm, Underhill has a pleasant to use composting toilet which is tucked away in its own little house. 

The wash cave has a rainfall shower and luxurious yet eco friendly finishes and is lit up by lanterns at night. 

It rained the night we were at Underhill, however, if you're a bath fan, the outdoor bath is definitely a huge hit with guests as it was mentioned in almost every comment in the guest book!

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

One of our favourite things about Underhill (apart from the incredible house itself!) was the pond. After cooking our dinner on the barbeque, we sat down to eat on the little dock and soaked up the view. 

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

After dinner, we closed up the house and lit all the candles and spent the night talking, playing cards and daydreaming over plans for our own little Hobbit House back home. 

Underhill Hobbit Hole Accommodation Hamilton Waikato New Zealand North Island Glamping

The details:
Chattan Farm - sleeps 5 - from $190 per night. Find out more here.
Underhill - sleeps 2from $325 per night with discount for multi-night stays. Find out more here.
Car Rental - Go Rentals Compact Auto Toyota Corolla 
Kristy and Jesse explored NZ as guests of Tourism New Zealand.

But tell me, have you ever been glamping or camping? 
What's your ultimate accommodation style? (If money/location wasn't an issue!)
I love switched off vacations so anything relaxing and away from the hustle and bustle of every day life is perfect for me!

    
   


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