North Island B&B, New Zealand

This item appears on page 53 of the November 2011 issue.

Less than an hour’s drive west of the Auckland airport on New Zealand’s North Island is Bush Sand & Sea B&B (26 Te Aute Ridge, Bethells Beach, Waitakere City, Auckland, N.Z.; phone 0064 9 810 9584). Nestled in thick rainforest near Bethells Beach (Te Henga), this charming cottage sleeps two to four.

After a month’s travel through New Zealand in March ’11 (Aug. ’11, pg. 17), my partner, John, and I were looking for a place to spend our last couple of days before flying home from Auckland. The weather forecast was not good, so we chose a place where we would be comfortable staying mostly indoors yet still feel like we were in New Zealand. B&B owners Lyn and Alan Happy strive to offer whatever degree of assistance and privacy that you wish, and we found them very welcoming.

The cottage has a bedroom, bathroom, full kitchen, dining area and living room, all of which are spacious and sunny. The kitchen has every appliance and utensil you might need, and it was stocked with fresh bread, milk, juice and eggs plus two kinds of bacon, and tomatoes, mushrooms, cereal, coffee, tea, jams and honey.

It was so relaxing to just fix what we wanted when we wanted it. We brought some groceries with us to make dinner (though, on the phone, Lyn had even offered to pick up some groceries for us).

The cottage also has a laundry room, dishwasher, gas barbecue, telephone, iPod dock, WiFi, DVDs (be sure to watch the one about the Topp Twins), lots of hangers, flashlights, guidebooks and a spa. There is even a private path through the rainforest to a little glowworm dell.

We were so comfortable in our little nest with lovely views that we thoroughly enjoyed just relaxing at “home” for one day.

The price of NZD185-NZD210 ($141-$160) per night includes the food for breakfast.

The photos of the cottage on the website accurately depict the accommodations and setting. Staying at Bush Sand & Sea was one of our very favorite experiences of the trip.

Davis, CA