There were many memorable moments during our recent trip to New Zealand, including tubing through Glowworm caves, riding the luge, hiking in a volcanic valley and even spending a couple of nights in a quirky converted train carriage.
But there’s one place where both my husband and I are especially keen to return:
Barberry Hill is a small dairy farm tucked away in a quiet corner of the north island, overlooked by the stunning Mount Taranaki. Owners Pete and Marg picked this beautiful spot for their “retirement” but are now busier than ever with Dolly’s Milk. A raw milk operation, this means the cows are milked, the milk is cooled (not homogenised nor pasteurised) and then you buy it directly at the farm gate, from a rather nifty 24-hour self-service machine.
And even better: you can stay here. Not content with the adventure of moving (yes, on a truck) their own house from the Hawke’s Bay area of the island, Pete and Marg also built two barn-like structures on the farm for guests, “The Barn” and “The Shed”:
- This would make a perfect place for a writing retreat, and
- I wish I’d booked more than two nights.
Your perfect reading/writing spot is immaculately clean, tastefully decorated and equipped with everything you might need, including full kitchen, barbecue and laundry facilities.
It offers a deck if it’s warm, a wood stove if it’s cold, a huge window seat for snuggling & reading, a large table for working, flawless wifi and views: approximately 270 degrees of gorgeous, creativity-inspriring views.
Of course, you don’t have to spend all your time sequestered in your luxury garret. You can watch the herd being milked (every cow has a name!), hang out with the new-born calves, wander around the farm, or stretch your legs with a more challenging assault on Mount Taranaki. Marg provides a delicious and varied breakfast basket, but the town of Stratford is only 3 km away for your other supplies.
Incidentally, don’t just take my word for it. Here are the current TripAdvisor ratings from the select few who have been lucky enough to discover Barberry Hill:
Frankly, I can’t understand why this place isn’t fully booked. If you’re heading for New Zealand – or can come up with an excuse to travel there for a writing retreat you’ll never forget – you really can’t go wrong. I’m already trying to work out when I can go back.
We paid in full for our stay at Barberry Hill and no compensation was received for this post. Photos are either mine or from barberryhill.co.nz