Kahoe Farm Hostel ……. the place to stay in Northland!


Kahoe Farms Hostel , 12ks north of Kao, Northland, was recommended to me by Bare Kiwi: going by my experience of this homestay I will listen to his other recommendations!

So, what do you call a cross between a rural resort, a farm-stay, a holiday club and a homestay? Why Kahoe Farms Hostel of course!

Arriving in the morning, I spent the afternoon hiking in native bush behind this 1930s homestead; (the other one is from the 19thC. and both were built by the owners family) then watched my fettuccine being made for dinner.

kunikuni pigs

I also spent time talking to the cute-in-an-ugly-sort-of –way, kunekune pigs who will not be on the menu – ever!

Kahoe Farm Hotels started when a Kiwi met an Italian in London and they came back to NZ to the family farm which was started by Lyndsay’s Swedish great-grandfather who actually ‘jumped ship’ into the local harbour as his fellow sailors were heading back out after whales – the rest, as they say, is history.

Of the people staying here, one couple from The Netherlands are back for a 2nd visit in a year; an American surfer is also back for a second time, and a Frenchman is on his way up from Auckland, also a repeat visitor says it all.

This farm is also famous for its annual, New Year football (soccer) match … the world’s first tournament of the year here at the Kahoe Valley Stadium. The qualifying matches are held on New Year’s Eve and the final kicks off at midnight. The winners are presented with the Virgili trophy.

Stefano is an avid Inter Milan fan and often invites guests to play a friendly match on the Kahoe Farm stadium.

This is the crème-de-la-crème of backpackers and is surrounded by many walks and activities including a 3-hour round hike to the kauri dam, called ‘the rock pool’ by the family. It’s also a great base to for kayaking from. Canoeing among mangroves is always fun, or you can head out in the Whangaroa Harbour

This is a place to chill for a while, or get involved with the many activities on and around the farm – absolutely ideal for both kiwi travellers and tourists.

Have you stayed here? Or are you planning to?

Football anyone?
Football anyone?
Nearby Kao
Nearby Kao


Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view

The Rock: take an overnight cruise in New Zealand

The Rock – an interesting name, especially in the Bay of Islands where the ‘Hole in the Rock’ is a destination for boat trips from Paihia.

This ‘rock’ is a boat: originally a car ferry that carried 7 or 9 vehicles and it’s now been converted to a Hosteling International (YHA) hostel and I’ve joined a group for an overnight cruise in the beautiful Bay of Islands (Northland, New Zealand).

We’re picked up at 4pm at the Paihia wharf and with life-jackets on; we’re taken out to the flat-bottomed boat. It’s not long before we have had our rooms assigned, safety briefing given and we have target practice – note, don’t rely on me to feed or protect you with a weapon!

However, I can catch a fish (snapper) but it’s too small and has to be released, although the next day I manage to get some edible kina (sea eggs) which I love and the international tourists eat with trepidation.

So, this boat is not merely for transport around the Bay of Islands, but is our accommodation too. All the rooms are on the top level and my room overlooks the bow (front) of the old barge and as the boat is flat-bottomed there is very little movement unless a boat goes past.

Adam, the Skipper has a job like mine “A millionaire’s lifestyle on a poor man’s wage”. He’s an accomplished pianist and after dinner, as we head for bed he’s tinkling away at the ivories.  A piano on board was not anything I expected!

The next day we are kayaking, snorkelling, hiking, and exploring the area. Our meals are at a long table and are delicious. Perhaps this is the only floating YHA hostel in the world:  let me know if you are aware of others.

I found this overnight cruise (online) many months before my Northland trip (I spent 2 weeks exploring the area in a low-cost rental car from NZ Rentals) and this was the first activity, and accommodation, on my agenda – a good choice. Watch this  four-minute video created by my mates at ONZAMAP. (Check out their other travel info videos too)

Just some of the comments in the visitor’s book say:

  • Our second time on The Rock and you still rock! (UK couple)
  • You guys are amazing (German)
  • F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C.

Enjoy a few of my photos from my time on board – the time flew and yet seemed ages all at the same time. Fabulous, I can recommend The Rock – in fact I must do a  review on Trip Advisor about it.

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