As part of our adventure around Northland we let the children choose one night accomodation and an activity (within a budget). Our middle child had chosen horse riding as her activity, which for 5 people was quite pricey so she was looking for somewhere under $100 to stay in Hokianga which is how she came across the Hippy Hut.
She excitedly showed me the pictures on the Airbnb site – looking very hippy with purple velvet and it’s blue and purple walls. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to find when we got there but all the reviews were awesome so I decided to give it a go and pressed the book button.
Turns out it was an inspired choice on our 10 year olds part – Ange and young Neo (Ange’s grandson) were the perfect hosts. Making us feel like we belonged from the moment we arrived with a warm hug from Ange and an enthusiastic tour from Neo.
The Hippy Hut was like stepping back in time to the 70’s. It wasn’t just the Hippy Hut which had been decorated in this style but the vibe of the whole place. Somehow I had imaged no power and I was surprisingly disappointed (but also glad) that the chargers all worked but thankfully there was limited wifi so it really did feel like we were off the grid.
The Hippy Hut is set in the Waiora Gardens which offers an alternative lifestyle with accomodation, workshops and retreats.
The Hippy Hut is a little hut with the inside resplendent in purple and blue and complete with a disco light nestled in the middle old caravans, buses and houses and right next to it’s own pond. Despite looking small from the outside it easily slept our family of 5 (with the help of some fairly epic bunk beds).
Within 10minutes I had donned my hippy skirt – emboldened by Ange wearing hers and I was feeling more relaxed than I have in years.
As part of the wider complex there is a huge pond with flying fox and slide into it and pontoon. It spoke to me of many, many summers of epic fun and Ange said that growing up her kids friends always preferred to come to sleepovers at their place (I would too!). The pond had been recently drained for some further improvements otherwise I’m sure our kids would have been swimming!
Another part of the shared spaces is the whale room. The Whale room has a massage table, books on yoga and comfy couch and TV. The kids absolutely loved this space and spent a lot of time there with our youngest reading books on yoga and practicing some moves with Neo.
There is also a shared communal kitchen space where Ange and her family will be happy to share the table with you. I feel incredibly embarrassed that we didn’t read the T&C’s until after we were home and I was researching for this piece that said no alcohol or meat in the shared spaces and that Ange was so lovely that she didn’t mention it (I’m so sorry about that Ange) so if you do have these keep them in out of the shared spaces.
Also living at Waiora Gardens are two very friendly dogs who look so totally at home on the porch.
There is a wonderland walkway down to the eco composting toilet and I fell in love with the hand basin in the middle of the forest.
There are hidden adventures everywhere and luckily we had the best guide in pre-schooler Neo.
Within no time at all we were slipping off a secret track led by Neo to a tree space with rope swings that flew above the trees.
It was in this space that a rather lovely thing happened. Our eldest daughter is quite cautious and easily scared. While the other two rush in fearlessly contemplating their next daredevil move she is much more worried about what might go wrong.
She approached the rope swing with much the same attitude. But as she was swinging above the trees I saw something new. I saw her open her arms to the sky and let go – held on only by her her legs. It was so unlike her.
Over the next few days we saw a totally different side to her. She tried all sorts of new things. She was the first to surf the sand dunes, spent two hours on a horse, dived into lakes, jumped into swimming holes. I asked her on about day 4 what had happened and she said that on Day 2 (the morning at the rope swing) she had made a deal with herself to not ask “what if” and just do it. “What if I die tomorrow and missed out on all these great things?” she said. Now that’s some wisdom coming from an 11 year old and any place that achieves that has my 100% vote.