The staggering view walking into Cloud9 lingers forever. This $1700 a night four-bedroom holiday haven is one of those must-stay-places before you die.
Cloud9 is as close to heaven as you can get: A hilltop house above the sleepy village of Russell overlooking the Bay of Islands; looking down on to dreamy golden sand Long Beach.
Some experiences in life swirl happily around the mind. This is one of those. When I was ushered into Cloud9 by my accommodation hostess Lesley Joy, we stepped down into the soothing lounge and onto the whitewashed floorboards. Lesley explained how to work the flat screen DVD, the wi-fi internet and how to ‘drive’ the kitchen.
I didn’t hear a word she said. I was gaping like a stunned goldfish at the priceless view across the glistening Pacific Ocean and the Bay of Islands.
Lesley took me outside to the edge of the infinity pool which seemed to blend in with the ocean as one. The property was given the name Cloud9 as it appeared the nearest place to heaven.
This place must rate the most welcome destination in this part of the world. All the bedrooms have a cedar patio or deck that have panoramic unobstructed views to the islands and the ocean.
I lay in my cosy king sized bed that night with the doors opened and heard the flightless kiwi bird – the famous New Zealand symbol – scurrying around in the bushes among the ferns and nikau palms.
The next morning I rummaged through the kitchen and Lesley had left me bacon, eggs, mushrooms, yummy MacKenzie Country fresh bread, fruit juice, fresh fruit platter, cereal, tea, coffee and just anything else I would have wanted for breakfast.
I walked down to the beach. The water was so warm and I swam in the still Pacific Ocean before laying on the sands under the sun before striding back up the hill to Cloud9.
The sky cable television had all the movies and channels you could wish to watch. I never turned it on. There was too much natural beauty to soak up. I cracked open a lovely bottle of award-winning Spy Valley sauvignon blanc and sat out on the deck to watch the sun set. I could hear the waves crashing, the native birds scurrying above the bush – and nothing else. It was like being in a movie in privacy and almost in silence.
The next day I strolled slowly through the Russell township. By now my pace of life had slowed to such a lazy gait I had completely unwound. I popped into Janet’s South Sea art gallery which was the most earthy and welcoming of the three galleries in the street. Helena Blair’s iconic Kiwi beach scenes were eye-catching and commercially very appealing.
But I didn’t want to stay away from Cloud9 too long. I bought some fresh groper from the local shop to take ‘home’ and cook. Another night of bliss out on the deck among the palms: not a ripple across the infinity pool, the gentle crashing waves on the empty beach. I lay back wearing only a smile of contentment. For a time life stood still.
I headed off the next morning, promising to spread the word and to return to Cloud9 one day.
The lodge sleeps eight people in three double bedrooms and one twin room. Two of the doubles have ensuite double shower rooms while the other double shares a bath/shower room with the twin room. All bathrooms have double basins. The lounge is superbly fitted-out and so relaxing but the breathtaking views are unbeatable.
Cloud 9 in the dreamy Bay of Islands of New Zealand is the real natural piece de resistance but like an upmarket Kiwi bach (holiday home). It’s the best of the best. Ironically, the only cloud in sight when I drove away was Cloud9 which still taunts the happy side of my mind.
t: +64 9 403-7188
m: +64 9 274 416378
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