Mangawhai Kauri Tree Hut

We all dream of escaping to somewhere unique and I think we may have found that little gem. 

The Kauri Tree Hut, in beautiful Mangawhai, a magical escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Picture yourself relaxing in the hammock, up among the native trees , listening to the sounds of the birds, and the creek below. You will feel a million miles away. 

Owners , Ryan and Rachel had always had a dream of owning a tree house that they could offer to people who needed a rest or wanted to enjoy a peaceful reflective time. So when they stumbled across a property with these rustic tree houses for sale, they thought they had found the perfect place to set up what they had been dreaming about for the past ten years. 

Kauri Tree Hut is actually made up of three little separate huts . A bedroom and lounge hut, a bathroom hut, and a kitchen hut. 

Elevated on stilts , amongst native bush and kauri trees, the perfect spot to be at one with nature. 

The huts have been lovingly restored, with every attention to detail.

The couple combined their talents, Rachel is very creative and has studied a bit of interior design, she had been longing for a project like this. Ryan likes to create and make things, which meant that Rachel would come up with wild ideas, and he had to come up with a way to make it all happen, all while still sticking to a really tight budget . The creative couple also had a builder friend, Hayden Thorpe, do the technical building work, to make sure everything was done properly and there were no mishaps. 

As you can imagine, there is bound to be some obstacles with a project like this, because the huts are only accessed by a 400m long up hill driveway, that was very rough terrain. So to add to the adventure, all building materials had to be loaded into Ryan’s ute and taken all the way up the hill. 

Doing this in the middle of winter, battling all sorts of weather. They were determined to get it done, no matter what the weather had in store for them. 

This really was a family affair. With most of the work being done on the weekends, meant that the pair juggled parenthood at the same time. Ryan and Rachel would take turns to look after their 3 children, while the other drove from Auckland to Mangawhai to work on the huts for the weekend.

The light at the end of the tunnel was that the basic structures were actually already there as some historic tree huts. So fortunately they already had the framework to start from.

They really enjoyed how much freedom there was in working with these.

A standard house that you will live in has to have a lot of practical design parameters. Where as with these they had complete freedom to be creative and could really work outside the box. They really put their creativity to the test by working with a lot of recycled timbers and re-purposing old items to give them a new use. 

The aim was for the huts to be rustic and quite original on the outside, but then truly beautiful on the inside with a lot of emphasis into beautiful and luxurious bedding and rugs. 

One thing they really wanted inside , was for there to be an overall feel of New Zealand. So the plates, bowls and cups are old Crown Lynn and most of the artwork is Kiwi.

One of the many special things in a place like this , is a strong connection to the outdoors and nature. The couple achieved this by creating a large deck with hanging chairs and hammocks, over-sized outdoor bath and outdoor shower. The huts have been set up to be eco-friendly, with solar lights, rainwater collection and a composting toilet. 

The big idea was for guests to enjoy doing everything outdoors in nature, whether its hiking some of the many walks in the area, surfing at the beautiful Mangawhai beaches and then just come inside for the practical things like kitchen use, toilet and a comfy bed. 

Although a taxing adventure on the family, coming out the other side, and seeing the finished product, this has resulted in creating something truly magical and they are incredibly in love with the end result. 

Kauri Tree Hut can be rented out for holidays via

DesignBianca Howlett