They say timing is everything, and this recent trip showed me that could not be more true. My partner Erik spontaneously popped across to Auckland from Melbourne where he lives, and had suggested an adventure to escape the rainy winter days. The plan was to venture “somewhere beautiful for a getaway” and it was all my choice!
Our last trip had been travelling up north, where we went to visit the Mermaid pools in Matapouri. We had so much fun, so we wanted to go back to explore more of what the region had to offer.
And it was as if the universe heard my thoughts as a mere few days after Erik’s arrival, we were invited to visit New Zealand’s first ever capital, the picturesque, historic, beach-side village of Russell, in the stunning Bay of Islands
And that was just a start of the magic…💫
A brand spanking new, luxurious and delightfully quirky boutique hotel overlooking the picture-perfecta sparkling harbour inlet of Waitata Bay, showing the best of the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island was our destination. This unique gateway to paradise was Donkey Bay Inn, an architectural masterpiece sitting on its own private peninsula.
In an instant, we packed our bags with warm clothes and made our way up North, only to notice that with every town we passed, the weather became warmer, sunnier and, well, suddenly felt like summer!
By the time we arrived at the gated property, a beautiful giant rainbow had perched right in the centre of the sky, as if to welcome us alongside. Matthew, our lovely host, showed us around all three cavernous rooms, the eclectic lounge and spacious kitchen/dining area. Donkey Bay Inn boasts an estate that commands wide ocean views, is lush with greenery and filled to the brim with art objects and furniture from all around the world. And it even has its own private, naturist beach!
Our luck continued, as we discovered we had this incredible Inn all to ourselves!
Everywhere we looked, our breath was taken away. From our Skyfall suite, we had 180-degree views from a private deck overlooking the bay.
Waking up early was something to look forward to watching the sun gently rise in all its glory from the comfort of our sumptuous king-sized bed.
Another breathtaking feature (as if this place could even get better!!), is Donkey Bay Inn’s spectacular “living roof” – a 600m2 native garden that is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It was all so spectacular Erik and I agreed to spend most of our time on the property, enjoy the slower pace of life and hop in the outdoor bath tub!
Over the next three days, we spent our time soaking up the sun (no warm clothes necessary) and taking it all in.
We learned how ecologically designed Donkey Bay Inn is. Like how it produces all its own electricity and even had vegetable gardens, chickens and cute donkeys! The owner also has a vineyard nearby, which we popped over to check out and could not stop staring at its awesome view.
We were treated to silver service breakfast both mornings, and afterwards (finally) did manage to venture out and explore more of Russell. New Zealand’s former capital is an unexpected, charming town full of historic buildings, with delicious seaside cafe and restaurant menus to entice passersby.
In the evenings we returned to be greeted by a glowing sky bright with millions of stars, and a toasty room.
Not going to lie… Netflix and chill was the order of the evening! (Thanks Gilmour Girls!!)
Donkey Bay Inn was nearly impossible to leave. A beautiful hotel with excellent service and an incredible location – what more could we have wanted?
Our time at Donkey Bay Inn was nothing short of outstanding and we left feeling refreshed and happy. This slice of northern paradise truly is the new, perfect place for a nice (romantic) getaway.
I know you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!!
For more details and booking information, go to donkeybayinn.co.nz.