Editor’s note: Each month, we’d like to introduce you to one of our wonderful Glamping Hub hosts and what inspired them to create a glamping site. This month, we interviewed Anna and Grant about their tiny house in Akaroa, South Island.
1. What is the story behind starting your glamping site?
We live on a farm in Little Akaloa that had been Grant’s family farm for five generations, and when the English settled in New Zealand in the 19th Century, the Waghorn family picked Little Akaloa as their place to farm. There is a real family connection to the farm. We took over from Grant’s parents about 12 years ago and have since had our three children over here. We also own a construction company which Grant commutes to in Christchurch most days.
We followed George Clark quite extensively, and the tiny house phenomenon was taking off in New Zealand. So we designed a tiny house that our builders could construct as another string to our bow. We have sold several tiny houses, all with their own twist but with the high pitch roof. People have bought them for glamping sites, and of course to live in. We really wanted to focus on design as a lot of tiny houses are very similar and lack in the design aspect, so we wanted to upscale our tiny house and make it more high end. What a perfect place to trial the tiny house! On our farm with views over the bay, looking out to the Pacific Ocean, native bush, and it’s tucked away in the middle of our sheep farm. It is in total isolation with the sounds of the ocean, native New Zealand birds like tui and bellbirds, and the odd sheep.
2. What did you do before becoming a glamping host?
I host as Grant runs his business but, I always get him to help clean out the hot tub and BBQ! I am a high school teacher and teach physical education so we are a very outdoor family, and make the uttermost of where we live. There are some great little surf spots around the Peninsula and often you’re the only ones there.
3. What drew you to glamping?
I wanted to share our place with others as we feel so lucky to live here. I also think it’s so important for people to reconnect with nature, their surroundings, and each other, as well as having some time away from the technological world. It really makes you appreciate the simple things and the beauty of our environment. I also love styling and really enjoy creating a little space/home for others to share.
4. In your opinion, how does your accommodation fit the definition of glamping?
I think of glamping as still having home comforts but in total isolation! I think it’s really important to have an amazing bed with gorgeous linen. Every time I make the bed, I just want to dive in as it looks so super comfy. We have a cedar hot tub which you just have to keep stocked up with firewood, so it’s like heaven sitting in there on either a rainy day or a warm summer’s evening with a wine or beer. We have a bespoke hot shower that we designed to be quite large but still fitting into a small space. It’s living in luxury but living in remoteness. The tiny house is run on solar power so I also believe it’s about making a small footprint on the environment as this is important to us, particularly with the climate changing.
5. What is the most special thing about your property?
For me, it’s definitely the ocean. I love watching the sea, it changes all the time. Others have said they love the isolation, being in nature, the waterfall (we have a small waterfall which is a short walk behind the tiny house), the history of the bay, exploring the Peninsula, all the hidden bays, and of course Akaroa is pretty cool as it was a French settlement.
6. What do you love the most about running a glamping site?
I feel so satisfied when I know couples have had an amazing time! I really hope I provide a romantic, luxurious, peaceful getaway! I also want people to go away feeling refreshed yet grateful for the environment in which they have been in, away from the cities! Hopefully, it creates or reinforces a love for nature.
7. What are some of the challenges you face?
In summer it is non stop, so it can be busy with cleaning super quick before the next guest arrives! I finally understand the importance of a check-in/check-out time. Also in summer, being coastal and high up, the farm is incredibly dry so we really worry about fires and with the hot tub we hook up to gas hot water instead.
8. Tell us about your most memorable guest experience to date.
We have only been going since January but we have had two engagements, which is incredible to me as the tiny house and our farm will always remain a special place for those couples. We also have had several honeymoons and wedding anniversaries celebrated at the tiny house.
9. Which three words are most commonly used in guest feedback about your accommodation?
Peaceful, relaxing, and beautiful!
10. Tell us about the experience you provide for guests visiting your glamping site.
When guests arrive they park their car in a small car park at the entranceway to the farm. They then walk up through our native bush, which is only about five minutes but it is uphill! I think this walk adds to the excitement and intrigues people as they have no idea what to expect. There you see our beautiful tiny house which is clad in timber and is starting to silver off so it blends in around the Manuka bush.
I always make sure I have the hot tub lit, so it is warm on arrival, and you can see the smoke from the hot tub which looks super inviting. There is a lockbox where the key is kept. We have a strict policy to keep well away from guests as I don’t want to disturb them or interrupt them in any way, but we are always reachable should they need us.
There is a super comfy queen-size bed—it’s funny because my husband is so big on king-size beds but I think queen-size beds are so much more cosy! I use the best possible linen and always wash it in chamomile and lavender which leaves it smelling divine. There is a little fire in the corner of the room and plenty of firewood!
There is a small modern kitchen with a fridge and gas hob. The walls are lined in whitewash ply and this gives the tiny house it’s lovely smell. I am big on candles so there are candles everywhere. There is also a modern bathroom with a timber shower. Outside there is native bush and rolling hills, with the odd sheep grazing. On the deck, we have a Cocoon outdoor fire which burns on biofuel, and there is a wee two-seater bench that looks out to the vast ocean.
11. If you could have anybody stay at your accommodation, who would it be and why?
Wow, tough question! I’m always happy with whoever stays! We both love Dave Grohl, we think he’s so cool. Also, Jack Johnson is a musician, a surfer, and he’s big on saving the planet. Plus, he loves New Zealand so we would love for him and his wife to come and stay!
12. Are there any upcoming additions/changes to your glampsite you would like to share with us?
We may put another tiny house up on a different site on the farm. I think I will do this one black. I just need to lock in my husband to build me another one!
To book an unforgettable stay at Anna and Grant’s incredible tiny house in Akaroa, click here!