Review: Kauri Villa, New Zealand

Jessica Peterson

It’s easy to see why New Zealand is a bucket list staple for travelers from all parts. New Zealand really has it all — beaches, mountains, volcanoes, culture, city life, great food, glaciers, thrill sports, and more sheep (and wildlife) than humans. When every single friend who returns from New Zealand can’t help but hyperbolize about its beauty, it’s time to pack.

The truth is I really wanted to stay in Auckland, one of New Zealand‘s vibrant urban destinations. I thought we would arrive in shoulder season, just after the peak of summer travel, but an exhaustive search for hotels online gave me only two options — 8-man bunks in a youth hostel and Kauri Villa, some 90 minutes outside of town. We booked Kauri Villa and didn’t look back. New Zealand, located in the southern hemisphere, has hot weather in the “winter” (December through February) and cold weather in the “summer” (June through August). We arrived the last week of March and were caressed with crisp fall air and sunny skies.

As you can see, the villa is actually a home. Our gracious hosts, Nigel and Michelle, live there with their adorable daughter and their dozens of farm animals. It was immaculate, relaxing, and incredibly charming… once we actually found the place. We rented a car at Auckland airport, arriving near midnight. There’s nothing quite as hair-raising as taking hair-pin turns in the dark on the wrong side of the road. Tense? Yeah, a little. It’s not that Nigel’s directions were wrong; we just didn’t expect such a rural escape. Once we settled into the thick down bed that cold autumn night, terrors of the road quickly faded away.

We awoke to a stunning view of rolling green hills and the sounds of sheep and goats greeting us as we peered out the large bay window. Incredible. We took our coffee, tea, toast, and local jam in the majestic dining room along with a couple from Australia. Our hosts introduced themselves, the farm, and even let us feed the animals. Can you believe this house was transplanted from Auckland?

All in all, staying at Kauri Villa was the perfect introduction to New Zealand, even if we were far from the urban playground of Auckland. As you can see here, NZ is a photographer’s dream.

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Photography by Jessica and Timothy Peterson

Jacket: Calvin Klein

Shirt: Ann Taylor Outlet

Jeans: American Eagle Outfitters

Sunglasses: Target

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