Slipper Island: New Zealand's private island paradise
It's one of the country's few private islands.
New Zealand has a private island paradise where the water is so clear it's like a little slice of the Maldives.
And if you get 20 friends together - the island is yours for around $A130 each, per night. That includes beachside glamping, four chalets, a lodge and a baby pig that really likes cuddles.
It's one of the country's few private islands – sitting a 15-minute water taxi ride from Tairua in the Coromandel. And while the Coromandel heaves with tourists over the busy summer months, a little treasure sits just off the coast where you'll find only a dozen or so people on the entire island.
Mooring in the sheltered Home Bay, I feel like I'm back in the Maldives. I don't say that lightly, it's my all-time favourite place in the world. But the water here has that magical turquoise glimmer.
After being shown our beachside glamping tent, it was straight to the water with an unsuspecting guest – Peppa, the baby kunekune pig. She wallowed in the sand, while we enjoyed the clearest water I've ever seen in New Zealand.
The 224-hectare island was used as a farm from the mid to late 1800's, and 95 per cent of the island was recently sold to Auckland-based property developer Wendy Wu. The rest is made up of a few privately owned houses.
A walk around the island is almost as breathtaking as the crystal clear water, with its sheer volcanic cliffs, hidden coves and empty beaches.
The Slipper Island Resort has five chalets, two glamping tents and a central lodge with two dorm rooms. You can rent the entire complex and island for around $A2600 a night – with 20 guests that'll make it around $A130 each a night. Cheaper than most hotels in Auckland.
It's $A1650 a night for 10 people.
While renting an island may be a dream - most who visit just book a room and it's not all that expensive; dorm room prices start from $A73 per person.
But you really can't beat falling asleep in a beachside glamping tent – with a cooling sea breeze, and the gentle lap of the sea lulling you to sleep.
There's also no Wi-Fi, so it can also be a much-needed digital detox.
If you're into DIY glamping, the island also has a beachside campground in another bay, for only $A14 a night. The island is so far off the radar, the campground was empty the first day we visited. A group of 10 campers came the next day and had the entire campground to themselves. There are very few places that still happens during the peak summer season.
After a big day exploring the island, I had an afternoon lie down in the grass. Peppa the pig oinked her way over, snuggled into my shoulder and fell asleep. Island time can be exhausting.
If you can't quite afford that dream trip to the Maldives, Slipper Island is a pretty good stepping stone – and best of all, it's right in our own beautiful backyard.
Renting the entire island costs $NZ1800 ($A1650 ) for 10 people or $NZ2800 ($A2600) for up to 20. That includes accommodation and water taxi transfer. Contact the island for a quote. See www.slipperislandresort.com
Single room prices
Dorm room: $NZ80 per person
Ensuite room: $NZ150
1 bedroom chalet: $NZ250
2 bedroom chalet: $NZ350
2 person glamping tent: $NZ350
Camping: $NZ15 per person
The writer stayed courtesy of Slipper Island Resort.