Outdoor Bathing in the Bush

Less than an hours' drive from Auckland CBD and only five minutes from Matakana Village - you’d be forgiven for questioning just how remote and private the Bush Retreat is. But once I started down the short path through the sprawling bush reserve, it immediately felt as if I were a million miles away.

The sound of the cicadas rang out through the bush in a beautiful cacophony, periodically pierced by the calls of Tui and the beating of a Kereru's wings. Just when I thought the bush had swallowed me, the hut materialised.

Consisting of the main cabin, with a combined bedroom, living room and kitchen, the area is completed with a record player and vinyl, a fireplace to give ambiance and warmth in the cooler months, and even a projector together with a movie-packed hard drive. Outside you have the outdoor fireplace and grill, and around the deck lies the bathroom hut, with a flushing toilet and large walk-in shower.

The Bush Retreat also boasts the rare trifecta of outdoor bathing. A few steps from the main cabin lies a deep wooden bath with a waterfall spout, resting beneath the bush canopy. This is kept company by an outdoor shower, coming right off the trunk of one of the mighty bush giants. As if this wasn't enough, a short walk further into the reserve reveals the hot tub, set deep in the bush, where I could soak away my worries to the soundtrack of nature.

Despite the bliss the Retreat offers, I did also manage to peel myself away and enjoy the plethora of activities that await only a short drive away. Sprawling parks, incredible beaches for swimming, surfing, diving and fishing, delicious eateries, and award-winning vineyards, the area literally has something for everyone. I particularly enjoyed a walk in Tāwharanui Regional Park, a wine tasting and platter at the beautiful Matakana Estate, and a legendary delicious pizza at Leigh Sawmill.
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Things We Did

  • Walk
  • Experience
  • Food & Drink
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    Walks in Tāwharanui Regional Park
    Tāwharanui Regional Park is one of the jewels in Auckland's crown. Even on a "bad weather" day, the beaches show off their turquoise waters, the walks present incredible views and wildlife, and there is something to be enjoyed by everyone. Whether it is swimming, walking, surfing, fishing, diving, relaxing or more....
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      Wine Tasting at Matakana Estate
      Drive past the endless winding vines to reach the Matakana Estate Cellar Door atop the hill, with sweeping views of the vineyard and surrounding area. I enjoyed four incredible wines accompanied by an indulgent platter, before taking a stroll around the grounds to absorb the beautiful views. It's definitely not a bad way to spend an afternoon!...
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        Hot Tub in the Bush
        The hot tub at the Bush Retreat is an adventure all of its own. The walk through the bush to reach the hot tub is spectacular. Tiptoe over the knarled toes of the bush giants, and slip past their enormous woven limbs, before reaching the hot tub perfectly positioned beneath their canopy....
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          Pizza at Leigh Sawmill
          Leigh Sawmill is an institution in the area serving up legendary pizzas, delicious beer, frequent live gigs and more; it's one local eatery you don't want to miss. If you're lucky you might also be able to grab a fresh fruit ice cream from Rama's Real Fruit Ice Cream cart outside!...

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