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The ark has a little kitchen, lounge, dining table, composting toilet, and a huge comfy bed in the attic.
The ark is completely off the grid, and relies on solar power for lighting.
In winter, listening to rain on the roof, wedged between four of the supplied hot water bottles, is bliss.
The ark is the kind of place you go to unwind: there’s no wi-fi, and only power for solar lights.
There’s a barbecue on the deck, or head to nearby Ake Ake Vineyard, which has a cosy restaurant set among the vines.
The tiny island on the lake is perfect for picnics.
Chris and Judy Owen serve some of the best food I’ve eaten on home shores. Pair it with some organic wine, grown and bottled on site.
The next stop is compulsory for anyone venturing into the region – the Makana Chocolate Factory.
Watch handmade treats such as Champagne truffles and sea-salt caramels being created, and get a free sample of the macadamia butter toffee crunch.
The Parrot Place is hours of fun, especially with kids.
It is probably the nicest sweet thing I’ve eaten, and I’ve got a serious sweet tooth. We met an Italian couple stockpiling it to take back to Rome. I took two packets back to the ark, just in case, because the human race couldn’t do without it.
Kerikeri also has a few hidden surprises, such as waterfall swimming spot Charlie’s Rock, and beautiful walks – but the biggest surprise was The Parrot Place: a bird park with around 250 ultra-friendly locals who love to land on you. I’ve never understood bird fanatics, but after spending an afternoon in the park, and making friends with the cheeky critters, I became one.
It’s just a short drive away to the beautiful Bay of Islands. One of the best ways to see the 144 islands that make up the region is at 1200 feet – on New Zealand’s highest parasail. If you prefer to stay on the ground, visit the Old Packhouse Market – Northland’s biggest Saturday market.
This spot is the perfect place to stargaze.
Kerikeri has long been recognised as the “fruit bowl of the north”: New Zealand’s first grapes, avocados, citrus, and passionfruit were planted there. So, as you would expect, a visit to the local market is full of some the best fruit and vegetables in the area. Not to mention salted-caramel doughnuts, pies and crafts from the vibrant community of local artisans.
Having grown up a short distance from Kerikeri, it was a surprise to actually explore the region: it has so much to do, see and eat.
The ark is the perfect place to unwind at the end of a busy day, and gobble up everything you bought. Just remember the golden rule: two of everything.
A night at The Ark at Cottle Hill Creek starts from $210 (mid-winter special) or $270 at other times.
The author was hosted by The Ark at Cottle Hill Creek.
In 2016, Brook Sabin (@brooksabin) and Radha Engling (@globaladmirer) quit their jobs to travel the world. Each week, Kiwis in Flight takes you on their adventures.
It’s less than 10 metres squared, but the ark has everything you need.
Charlie’s Rock is a popular swimming spot.
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