The Barn – Cooks Beach

Courtesy – Tim Roxborogh – writing for the New Zealand Herald

Lonely Bay – Cooks Beach Coromandel – Photo – Tim Roxborogh

Location: Down a quiet cul-de-sac, a 10-minute stroll from the gently curving crescent of white sand that is the Coromandel’s Cooks Beach. More importantly, just 20 minutes on foot from one of the absolute best-hidden beaches in New Zealand, Lonely Bay. Or if you’re driving, 10 minutes from Hahei and the gateway to the world-famous Cathedral Cove.

What else is close by? Grab a couple of spades from The Barn and dig your own natural spa pool in the sand at Hot Water Beach, about 15 minutes away by car. Or just two minutes in the car will get you to the tiny settlement of Ferry Landing where you can catch – as the name suggests – a passenger ferry to Whitianga.

The Barn, Lonely Bay, Coromandel. Photo / Tim Roxborogh

Is it as good as the photos? Even better. This North American-recalling, 250sqm, two-bedroom, two-storey barn-style home is reminiscent of the finest high-end beachside properties of places like the Carolinas.

First impressions: Gigantic coloured vases greet you when you open the front doors, and help set the scene. From the Grandfather clocks and the decorative crockery to the Picasso prints hanging on the wall, the high-ceiling central atrium of The Barn tells you this isn’t just any old nice place to stay.

What really sets it apart: I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a house with a bigger internal sliding door than at The Barn – a truly spectacular white-framed, glass-paned partition that separates the central atrium from a second living room, which in turn gives way to the mezzanine’s staircase. Add to that the presence of a library/living room, a full kitchen, two standalone bathtubs, a comprehensive underfloor heating system, a rip-roaring outdoor fireplace with garden… well, you’ve got yourself the kind of luxury and attention to detail that lingers long in the mind.

The Barn – Cooks Beach – Photo courtesy – Tim Roxborogh

Accessibility: Wheelchair friendly with everything but the second bedroom all located on the ground floor.

Sustainability: The wood-burning underfloor heating system is so effective that having been activated the day before our arrival, we didn’t have to top it up once, nor use any power for any additional heating. The Barn is also filled with natural light.

What about this “Lonely Bay”: If you like your beaches with a good dose of adventure and privacy and the feeling that you’ve found something others haven’t, then Lonely Bay is for you. Enveloped by the native forest and dramatic chalk-white cliffs of the Shakespeare Cliff Reserve, those first steps on to the sand as you emerge from the tree cover should impress even the most jaded among us.

Price: $1300 per night.

Will you be back? Absolutely! The Barn doesn’t just cater to babies and toddlers, it even accepts pets. Though our cat Poppy is very much a stay-at-home kind of girl.

Website: 970lonelybay.com