The view outside is great with the beach at your doorstep. All you have to do is walk out onto the patio, and what separates you from the beach is a path through 1m of shrubs. Hector dolphins were swimming in the bay when we were there in summer. We could see them there but not clearly as we did not have binos. With the speculator view of the bay through the full length windows and soothing sound of bird song and crashing waves, we found it difficult to leave the room to go anywhere else. The kitchenette is also new and well furnished with everything you could ever want.. microwave, oven, stove, grill pan, skillet, pot, cutlery, tableware, etc etc. Dining area is simple but who needs anything fancy when the view outside makes any meal delicious. And indeed you need to bring your supplies if you do not intend to drive 10-15minutes to the nearest cafe. However, I heard the Niagara cafe 10 minutes down the road is pretty fantastic and one of the best in the Southland. The bathroom is also clean and comfortable though it doesn't have a bath tub or spa. It didn't matter to me though.. let's conserve water!
We went out to see yellow-eyed penguins, which is where the petrified forest is and it is a 2 minute drive away. Val is really helpful and told us exactly how to get there and when the best time to turn up was. We managed to see a few penguins close up as they came back to shore at dusk, adorably and clumsily stumbling back home to their nests in the shrubs. A diversion..As these penguins do not come home in a group unlike blue penguins, and the colony at curio bay is small, you may need to wait out a whole 2-3 hours to see a good 5-6 penguins. So dress warmly! Compared to the blue penguin colony I saw at Oamaru, I saw 50 times less penguins, but the experience was much more intimate and special. There was no barricade separating the penguins and us, except 10m of space we gave the cute homecoming penguins, while 20 odd of us strangers sat and waited patiently together on the petrified forest shoreline.
Definitely drop by curio bay and stay at the Curio Bay Salthouse!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.