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 have Kim and Stuart, who manage an off-the-grid cottage in Waiuku, a town in the Auckland Region on the North Island, New Zealand.
1. What is the story behind you starting your glamping site?
Over the years, we have been collecting bits and pieces with the idea of building a little cottage at the back of the farm, where we could relax and watch the river valley below. Initially, it was going to be just for us, but once we got started, we knew it would be a wonderful place to share with others—the perfect glamping spot.
2. What did you do before becoming a glamping host, and what drew you to glamping?
We have both traveled extensively throughout Asia, Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Europe. Being bought up in a rural environment, we have an open-door policy to our home, with a constant flow of family and friends. Joining the Glamping Hub family seemed like an ideal way to keep meeting interesting people and sharing this special place that we live.
We also run a busy farming business, as well as do extensive conservation work to rejuvenate the whitebait spawning habitat that surround us. A portion of the profit from our glamping rental goes towards helping to fund this project.
3. In your opinion, how does your accommodation fit the definition of glamping?
The cottage is glamping without the canvas tent. Perched high on a hilltop and off the grid, it lets our guests enjoy its beauty and tranquility in complete privacy. A glamping experience should be simple, yet luxurious—a place where you can go to recharge and relax—and our cottage ticks all the boxes.
4. What is the most special thing about your property?
The cottage has many things that make it a special experience. Its location gives you complete privacy with the most amazing views, yet it's less than 60 kilometers from downtown Auckland. There is an outdoor bathtub with hot running water that is set into the hillside among the reeds, as well as a cozy romantic fire for heating in the winter and bi-folding windows and French doors that open the cottage up to the outdoors in the summer.
5. What do you love the most about running a glamping site? What are some of the challenges you face?
The best part of running a glamping site is meeting all the different people that pass through and seeing how much they enjoy their stay. They often turn up looking rather stressed, having battled Auckland traffic or just finished a busy week, but they always leave looking relaxed and chilled out. Our challenge is to fit this new adventure into our already busy lives, but so far, so good.
6. Tell us about your most memorable guest experience to date.
Our most memorable guest experience was sharing our Christmas day with a lovely couple from Germany. Along with our family and other friends, we had eight different nationalities around the Christmas dinner table. It was a day of food, wine, cricket in the sun and great conversations—a real Kiwi Christmas.
7. Which three words are most commonly used in guest feedback about your accommodation?
The most-used words in the feedback we receive are amazing, peaceful, and wonderful.
8. Tell us about the experience you provide for guests visiting your glamping site.
Our guests are free to roam our 500-acre farm. They can take our flat-bottom punts and explore the wet land, as well as walk or bike through the native bush. Mostl, though, it's about doing nothing—soaking in the bath and watching the world spin from your hilltop perch.
9. If you could have anybody stay at your accommodation, who would it be and why?
If we could have anyone staying at the cottage, it would have to be those who truly need a break from their everyday pressures. This place has a special wairua, or spirit, that seems to calm and relax people, and it's so nice to share that with others.
10. Are there any upcoming additions/changes to your glampsite you would like to share with us?
We have plans to make a dedicated circuit walkway from the cottage to the wetland, and we hope to have a foot bridge in the near future. The bridge will allow our guests to walk among the river delta and along the two kilometers of board walks that we are in the process of installing.