Northland Sea Kayak’s cabin is a perfect weekend-getaway for nature lovers. Owner, Richard Israel, provides kayaking tours with the possibility of lodging inside a cosy cabin. Imagine living amidst nature in rural settings and under the star-filled sky after a day of sea adventure.
Surrounded by native trees and bushes, you can be sure to hear or spot some of the wild inhabitants. The cabin has a combined open-plan kitchen, living room and sleeping area. There is a large window in the living area, allowing you to gaze out at the sea and small islands. There is door that leads to a small porch outside.
For approximately 23.25 USD per person/per night, there are three beds in total, one double bed and two bunk beds. Six guests are allowed to stay at each time. The kitchen is equipped with cutlery sets, pots and pans and a gas stove. Candles, lighters and toilet paper are provided. A small icebox or chilly bin, as it is called in New Zealand, is located in the kitchen for guests to store some food. There is also a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket. As there is no electricity, precautions should be taken when using candles inside the cabin.
Guests are to provide their own sleeping bags (or duvets) and towels. A bathroom is located outside the cabin, about three minutes walk. Make sure you bring a torch with you if you are going at night since the path is not lit. The bathroom is en plein-air, with a wooden wall separating the shower and the toilet. There is no roof, which can be a blessing or not, depending on the weather. It is quite an experience to be able to see so many stars above you while taking a shower, or watch small birds jump across the branches above your head.
Sleeping in the cabin is quite an experience. Since it is situated in the woods, you can hear all sorts of birds all day round, but nighttime is when things get interesting. You might hear morepork cries (a small type of owl native to New Zealand) or maybe a possum running on top of your roof. However, the best thing is when you hear a loud high-pitched screech.
Kiwis are nocturnal animals and the males will make territorial calls at nightfall. Sit outside on the porch and you could hear them moving around the tall grasses! Unfortunately, despite their loud calls, kiwis are extremely hard to spot amongst the tall grasses and it is best to wait for them to come to you; chances are if you go around trying to find one, it might try to hide from you at the same time.
Being outside and far away from city lights has further advantages. The cabin is a perfect getaway for those who want to go out stargazing while having the comforts of warmth and shelter. The porch itself has a spectacular view and if you are feeling a little chilly, you can always go back inside and come back outside with a cup of tea.
Things to do in the area
If you fancy exploring the surrounding areas, or are looking for something active, Richard is a seasoned kayak guide and you can arrange a half day tour (60 USD) or full day tour with him (76 USD). Prices are per person to be paid in cash or cheques only. Life jackets and waterproof bags are provided. Depending on your kayaking experience, you can discuss with Richard on specific locations that you want to explore during the trip.
Kayaking is a good way to discover the neighbouring shorelines and small islands. You can really sink into the peaceful surrounding and listen to the sounds of waves and sea breeze. The water is crystal clear and you can see small fish and seaweed under the kayak. Richard told us that sometimes you could see dolphins and even orcas in the area.
If you fancy a walk along the beach, there is a path next to the cabin that takes you down to the wonderful Marble Bay. Although a bit of a steep and rather overgrown path, the sight of the beach alone is worth it. If you want, you could even take a swim in the clear waters. At the end of the beach, a colony of shags make their home on a big tree and you could easily photograph them.
It is best to rent a car and drive, as this is a rather remote area. Richard’s place is located close to Tauranga Bay Holiday Park, north of Kaeo. To get there from Auckland, it would take about four hours drive without long stoppages. Richard’s house is located on top of a hill. Note that this is a gravel road.
Some travel tips
Since the area has a kiwi bird population, it is not encouraged to bring dogs with you. However, if you must, dogs have to be kept on leashes at all times as they could potentially harm kiwi birds.
The cabin is surrounded by lots of greenery, so it is a good idea to bring anti-mosquito sprays. Bearing in mind that there are only two rubbish bins (one inside the cabin and one outside) and no recycle bins, it is best that you bring back your recyclables to the city.
Bring enough food to last during your stay, as it takes a while to drive to the closest town with restaurants.
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