Ted and I moved to Waiheke Island from Wellington in 2011, with the idea of getting out of the corporate “rat race” through providing accommodation. We wanted to have a more active lifestyle, to be close to beaches and enjoy our wine in the sun. We are social people, keen to meet visitors from all corners of the globe, and our gorgeous cabin has allowed us to do just that.
I worked in Human Resources at the time, and Ted was an economist at ANZ. Both of our bosses allowed us to transfer from our Wellington offices to Auckland. We rented on Waiheke for 13 months while looking for a property. The vision was for a small house for us, that also had separate romantic cottages to rent out, but nothing we saw fitted our brief. We eventually found a four bedroom house that was totally unsuitable and needed a lot of renovation. We looked at it twice and walked away without making an offer but the location was so special that I couldn’t seem to let it go.
I casually mentioned it to some workmates one day and they both urged us to buy it “even if you don’t know how you are going to make it work yet”. So we did. The property includes 9 acres of native bush, and we knew the spot was special. All day sun, peace and quiet, bird life, sea views back to Auckland and three wineries as neighbours seemed like a dream come true. The nine acres is under covenant now, to protect the bush. It is so beautiful in there, with a Pohutakawa that is estimated to be 400 year old, and an amazing fernery. We hope to put in tracks in the next couple of years.
We both commuted to the city while renovating the house and building the business. We were super busy, leaving the house at 6:30am, getting home at 6pm then working on the reno and business until midnight some nights. We have now both given up our old jobs and work on the property full time.
We discovered the most beautiful little flat piece of land on our property, that looks straight over a neighbour’s farm to Auckland city and the sky tower. Five weeks after we moved into our house, the question of how to realise the accommodation dream was answered when a very cute two bedroom cabin came up for sale on the island. A family had been using it as their temporary holiday home for five years and were now ready to build.
Upon purchasing it, the next issue was how to shift it onto our land. Although the cabin came on a metal substructure and had six wheels it wasn’t really suitable for towing, so a moving company was employed to uplift the cabin and place it on the back of a removal truck. The truck was incredible; it was like a transformer, with hydraulic wheels each of which could be raised and lowered individually to step over obstacles.
The cabin only took 20 minutes to drive from one location to another but then eight hours to move it onto just the right spot. Then it took the truck a full hour just to manoeuvre the 20 metres out of the driveway. It was a truly incredible operation. Now the cabin has had the wheels removed and been put on piles. We have recently planted a dozen flax to bring in the birds, although Tui, Kereru, Pukeko, Fantails and Harrier Hawks are frequently visitors already.
Having done a good amount of traveling ourselves, we know the things that make a trip easier and we endeavour to provide these for our guests. Hundreds of people have stayed since we started up in February 2013 and the feedback has been amazing. We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to provide a slice of paradise to the guests who visit us. Our Gorgeous Cabin provides a peaceful retreat overlooking farmland, with views over the water, and with wineries nearby.
We love the climate on Waiheke. Even in winter the days can be superb. We loved Wellington as it was an awesome place to live in our 20’s and 30’s and sometimes I still miss it, but Waiheke was the perfect place for our business. We are incredibly lucky to have ended up in a place surrounded by wineries. Mudbrick, Cable Bay and Jurassic Ridge winery are very close. Mudbrick is literally across the road and Jurassic Ridge is next door to Mudbrick.
Cable Bay is on our boundary but it is a ten minute walk away, back towards Oneroa. Cable Bay and especially Mudbrick are very busy with weddings four months of the year, so a lot of our customers are attending those weddings or are just drawn to the peace and quiet. We also rent our house out and this is especially popular for friends and family attending weddings.
Waiheke is just 35 minutes by boat from Auckland, and you can see the distant city skyline while listening to native birds and sipping one of Waiheke’s famous wines, as the sun goes down.