There are a few options when staying with these hosts - Curio Cottage, two Boutique Studios and the Beachhouse Apartment. We chose the latter which is attached to the owners home and in October 2013 it cost $180 per night.
Nick and Dani have a working farm and may not always be around however details of key collection, etc are provided with the booking confirmation email so we found it quite straight forward and in any case Nick was there when we arrived.
The apartment is on ground level, open plan and has its own entrance at the side of the building. Guests are requested not to wear outdoor shoes inside which has wooden floors. There is a kitchen area at the entrance with fridge, hob cooker, microwave oven, kettle, washbasin, crockery, cutlery, glasses, etc which would be fine for self catering - they even provide a large selection of teas and coffee. There is a small dining table and chairs. Breakfast is not included as part of the arrangements for staying here.
The bed is large and very comfortable with fresh, soft linen and was a treat to get into at the end of the day. There is also a settee to relax on whilst listening to some music - a CD player and some discs are provided. In lieu of television or internet access you have a wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling patio door which allows you to look straight out at Porpoise Bay and if the weather is favourable you can sit out on the decking and admire it from there. At the time of our stay it was a bit cool for that but nonetheless it’s a great view. As some others have mentioned there is only a thin curtain so be prepared to see first light in the morning (although the other windows do have blinds).
The ensuite is very spacious and has a bath (with a window looking out to sea) and a sizeable walk-in shower with very good water pressure (this has a rainfall option). All the fitments are modern and good towels are provided.
The only downside we found was that there was no storage space for clothes in the apartment and on occasion we would hear Nick & Dani’s children clattering about in the room above. As we were only there one night the absence of storage wasn’t a great issue and as for noise it was us who were a bit conscious of making too much later in case the kids were sleeping.
We took the opportunity to walk down the track from the lawn onto the beach and if you wander along to the right you come to the Curio Bay Natural Heritage Centre and the caravan park. Passing through here and five minutes up the road is the access stairway down on to Curio Bay shoreline with its petrified forest. It’s a pleasant walk and doesn’t take that much time. The fossilized trees weren’t that obvious to the untrained eye but our main aim was to see if we could observe the yellow-eyed penguins coming ashore at dusk to their nests in the dunes. There were quite a few other visitors with the same intention. Sadly some of them didn’t seem to understand about keeping their distance and several with enormous zoom lenses, capable of taking photos from the other side of the bay, were intent on getting within a few feet of the penguins as they came ashore. Unfortunately there was no DoC presence to control these over enthusiastic people which slightly spoiled the experience for us - and no doubt the penguins! That said, we did see a few penguins battling through and eventually when we returned along the coast there was the added bonus of a glorious sunset.
We had come prepared for the lack of eating places in the area and dined at the apartment on soup and sandwiches! There might have been a glass of wine involved too. (Nick had mentioned giving Niagara Falls Cafe a phone earlier if we wanted to check it was open).
As we settled in bed for the night we heard a strange snoring noise coming from outside the patio door - the penguins had also arrived back for the night! Some apparently nest under the house but fortunately either we were very tired or they were quiet thereafter because we slept well.
In the morning Nick and Dani’s young son was a bit too keen on getting out to cut the grass in front of the apartment and was reigned in by his parents. (Fortunately neither of us was sitting in the bath at the time admiring the view!). When it came to settle up and depart we managed to have a chat with Nick and Dani (whom we discovered was originally from Germany) - and as my wife comes from a farming background they had common interests. As we departed she was smiling at seeing the young kids each being given their chores to do, much as she had been when growing up on a farm - happy days!
It’s a lovely place to stay in a fantastic setting and if we get back in this direction we’d probably stay a few nights to chill out and explore a bit more. There’s lots to see and do in the area - or you could just relax.
- Also Known As:
- Curio Bay Boutique Hotel Tokanui
- Curio Bay Accommodation New Zealand/Southland Region - Tokanui