I’m a little obsessed with what I call “tree seas” – a stretch of forest where you can gaze across the treetops and get lost in the expanse of green. It was a scene like that which inspired my trip to Brazil, and I was reminded of it again in New Zealand in the hills of Coromandel. In fact, I need to add them to my list of favourite things.
The Coromandel Peninsula isn’t a place I’d heard of before coming to New Zealand. It’s not as famous as Queenstown, the Bay of Islands, and all the other well-trodden sights. But when you ask a Kiwi where their favourite place in the country is, they often mention Coromandel. They talk about the beautiful coastline, the forests and the lack of crowds, and they convinced me we needed to visit.
Treehouse + Forest + Ocean
I found an idyllic looking treehouse that looked out over a forest (my “tree sea”) with the ocean in the distance, and booked us in for a two-night stay.
It was about 10 kilometres from a town called Whitianga, up and over a hill and down a rocky drive. Our drive up to Coromandel from Rotorua became increasingly spectacular as we neared the treehouse and drove up through the valleys with views along the coast. It’s a fertile land with signs for ’10 avocados for $3’ and ‘fresh eggs’ along the way. By the time we reached the treehouse, we had enough food for breakfast the following day.
The passion behind a special stay
One of the things all our Special Stays have in common is the passion behind the project from the people who created it. In this case, the treehouse is owned by a couple who designed and built it themselves. They live next door in a house, which they also created, and their enthusiasm for the land, and the place they’ve made their home, is clear. They told us about how the native forest is being regenerated years after Captain Cook et al cut it down for making boats back in the day, or killed it off by introducing plants and trees from Europe (there are a lot of face palm moments for English people in New Zealand!). Through work like this, lots of New Zealand’s native wildlife, especially birds, are being saved from going extinct. Details like this make the treehouse an even more special place to stay.
Here’s a little tour around the place….
Treehouse in Coromandel
The treehouse is a studio apartment with a en-suite bathroom and a fully kitted kitchen.
The star of the show is the terrace, which looks out across the forest and the ocean beyond.
It was a great place to do yoga…
…and one night we had an amazing BBQ feast.
Of course, my favourite thing was the “tree sea”, which I was happy to gaze at for hours. In more accurate terms the “tree sea” is 400 acres of regenerating native bush, home to tuis, bellbirds, and even the elusive kiwi!
The treehouse is close to a little village called Kuaotunu. We went down there on our first night and were greeted by an incredible sunset. There’s a brilliant wood-fired pizza restaurant down there and, as if the whole thing couldn’t get better, they were playing our favourite band, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, as we walked in.
While staying at the treehouse, we also explored a couple of the Coromandel’s most famous attractions, Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, which were less than 30 minutes drive from the treehouse. If you’ve never heard of it, the Hot Water Beach is an amazing natural phenomenon – a beach on top of a hot spring where you can dig your own private hot pool. It is ridiculously popular, so push aside any notions of privacy, but even with the crowds, it’s worth experiencing and a lot of fun. But be careful – the water can be scalding in places!
But most of all, we loved just hanging out in our treehouse, and soaking in that gorgeous view.
We have an ongoing partnership with Glamping Hub (who we love) so we went to the treehouse free of charge. This in no way affected my write-up or declaration of love for tree seas. If you’re interested I’ve written a little note about why we sometimes partner with companies here.