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Pitch Perfect: Feel-good glamping in the Brynderwyns, Waipu
Durham Farms Luxury Stay is a glampsite apart from the rest. Yes, it has all the reassuringly deluxe features you might hope for in an upscale tenting experience. There are sculptural bell tents, carpeted in smart coir matting, set on raised platforms; proper beds complete with comfy bamboo toppers, crisp bed linen and plump duvets; well-equipped kitchens with sharp utensils and whistling kettles; flushing loos, hot showers and fluffy towels.
And yes, it’s in a dreamy-yet-convenient location, nestled in a small valley with a gentle river running through it, surrounded by forest and only an hour and half by car from Auckland. But this stylish version of life outdoors also comes with a reassuringly authentic philosophy attached.
The glampsite was set up in 2019 by Adrian Townsend and Tania Bennett, founders of the Durham Farms in Waipu, the organic producer making its presence felt at local farmers’ markets and in the Auckland restaurant scene.
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You can find Durham Farms organic eggs in select grocers, you can buy Durham Farms organic A2 milk in more savvy dairies (you can also order one of their organic food boxes to be delivered to your tent upon arrival).
You might have caught the episode of Country Calendar devoted to their mixed farming approach, accompanied by idyllic images of the rolling landscape, picturesque livestock and their hoard of free-ranging egg-laying chickens.
A sustainable organic philosophy and a passionate respect for nature form the backbone of the farm. It’s an ethos that feeds through to the glampsite in a range of practical, thoughtful ways.
For instance, it’s in the bones of the place. The glampsite’s burgeoning natural habitat is a direct result of their farming initiative.
“When we bought the farm in 2016,” says Townsend. “We immediately stopped using synthetic chemicals. Since we’ve gone organic, we’ve seen the amount of bird and insect life increase dramatically. Now there are mayflies, damselflies, dragonflies – all signs of a healthy ecosystem. We removed weeds and gorse and set aside 40 per cent of the glampsite at Rivers Edge to plant over 1000 native trees and bushes.“
The various mānuka, pūriri, ti kōuka create walkways to the washrooms and kitchen cabins and open grassy play area. They encircle the chill-out yurt with its bright rugs and beanbags.
Planting creates privacy between the two bell tents, Karaka and Tōtara, each named for the large native trees that they sit beside. Both are furnished with one queen bed and one day bed that converts to two singles.
Appropriately, bookings tend towards couples or young families. The private decks and dining areas are kitted out with Weber barbecues and pairs of Cape Cod chairs, ideal for watching the kingfishers, tūī, kererū and fantails that flit through the trees.
Not only is the glampsite off-grid, but grey water flows through tanks, gets filtered by plants and eventually drains out to irrigate new planting areas. Waste is eaten by tiger worms.
There are the eco-conscious bona fides, but the style of the site is equally considerate.
“We like the thought of hands-on design, with a respect for nature throughout,” says Townsend.
So, much of the kitchen furniture, including the window trims, are made from old tōtara fence posts from the farm; the flooring is reclaimed rimu; the windows and frames are salvaged.
Old beehive frame boxes have been repurposed to make the kitchen cupboards. Decorated with vintage Kiwiana finds, vases of wildflowers dotted here and there, the kitchen and washroom buildings are topped with distinctive red barn paint, echoing the look of the farm, and a confident nod to Kiwi heritage.
“If you go back a generation, many Kiwis had a rural connection, a farm belonging to distant, or not so distant family. That’s disappearing, but people still want to connect back to nature,” says Townsend.
Here visitors can be as immersed in rural life as they like.
“You can tuck yourself away and switch off for the weekend,” says Townsend.
“Or you can do the Farm Walk, pass over a few stiles, via the bee hives, see the views out to Whangārei Heads and the Hen and Chicks Islands, spot the livestock, visit our 1950-odd free-ranging chickens and end up at the farm shop where you can buy organic farm produce – meat, eggs, honey, milk – for lunch.”
Taking a luxurious break to absorb unrefined nature while safe in the knowledge that you’ll leave little footprint: that’s got to be the ultimate feel-good factor.
Staying there: Durham Farms Luxury Stay is $250 for one night. The glamping site closes for winter from April 17, 2022. Season opening for Labour Weekend October 21, 2022 to end of Easter Weekend April 10, 2023.
Reader exclusive: Book two consecutive nights Monday-Thursday and save $50. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and use promo code “good stuff”. See: durhamfarms.co.nz
Staying safe: New Zealand is currently under Covid-19 restrictions. Face coverings are mandatory on all flights and public transport. Proof of vaccination and vaccine exemption may be required in some venues under the traffic light system. Follow the instructions at covid19.govt.nz.
The writer was hosted by Durham Farms.
from www.stuff.co.nz Source link