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“A magical wedding at Takou River”

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Magic Cottages at Takou River
Certificate of Excellence
Devon
1 review
“A magical wedding at Takou River”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2010

We had originally looked into going to New Zealand for our honeymoon, but when we found the weddings page on the Takou River website we knew that we just had to get married there too!
I was a bit anxious about trying to arrange something on the other side of the world, but Anna helped with everything, from putting me in touch with a celebrant, to arranging the food and flowers and photographer. Nine months of planning, and many email conversations later we arrived in Auckland and spent a week travelling around the Bay of Islands before heading to Takou River.
We had booked three nights at the Magic Cottage and, although I had seen the photos on the Net, I still wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with respect to its location and proximity to the other accommodation. Takou Lodge itself is about 10 mins drive north of Kerikeri, with the last mile or so being down a gravel track (past Anna and Ian’s house). The main lodge is located 100m or so up the hill from the river, with beautiful tropical gardens lying between this and the Magic Cottage.
The cottage itself fronts onto the river, so you access it along a jasmine-lined path to the rear of the building, which makes it seem even more private. We were pleasantly surprised how luxurious it felt inside, and relieved that it surpassed our expectations. We had arrived at the beginning of summer, so we spent the night before our wedding sitting on the terrace relaxing to the sounds of the river.
Anna had kindly arranged for me to get ready in one of the rooms up at the lodge, so I left my future husband at the cottage while her staff prepared the area for a riverside ceremony. They made the area look so pretty, scattering freshly cut flowers and covering the gazebo with sparkly decorations – it was just perfect! Anna and Ian acted as witnesses while we said our personalised vows in an idyllic location, it was even more special than I could have imagined.
Andy the photographer recorded the day with the help of her son and daughter, being attentive without intrusive, and coming up with a series of photos and video that really captured the atmosphere of the day, as well as showing off the stunning location of course!
After the ceremony we returned to the cottage, which had also been decorated with sparkly ornaments and confetti, and sat down on the terrace to an incredible feast of all our favourite foods – yummy!
We could not have wished for a more perfect wedding day and, after visiting the rest of New Zealand over the following weeks, we knew that we had made the right decision. Although there are plenty of awesome locations in the country, the relaxing atmosphere in the Bay of Islands is unique and the service that Anna and her team provided was first rate – plus the cottage itself gave us the right balance between luxury and nature.
-and to think we were originally contemplating a registry office wedding!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank torquaygirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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180 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Madison, WI
Level Contributor
46 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 8, 2009

Wow, what an amazing setting. Coming from the US, I naturally underestimated how long it would take to get there when originally booking this. Plan 4 hours from Auckland and you might get there earlier than expected. But the long drive is well worth it. After a trip throughout both main islands, the change in wildlife in Northland was a stark difference from the other parts of the country. This change was further highlighted by the location of Takou River Lodges. We stayed in the Magic cottage, which is tucked into the subtropical garden, and is perched out over the riverbank. From the large deck or window seat, you can just relax and watch the white faced herons and shags lounging and hunting in the river, and watch the Pukekos graze in the paddock on the opposite bank, or look to the trees to catch a tui or Eastern rosella flitting amongst the branches of the tree overhead. If you have a nice warm day (which we did), you can take a kayak down the river to the beautiful white-sand beach with views of rocky cliffs. You will likely be the only one on this beach that has no road access. The location was convenient for a trip into Kerikeri, and a drive to the Puketi Kauri forest or elsewhere in Northland/Bay of Islands.

The cottage itself is not huge, but it was big enough. The bed filled half the cottage, and the other half is a small kitchenette, with a small bathroom and shower. The bed was comfortable, the cottage was clean. The outdoor tub was also very nice. Everything is self catering, but there is a small stove/oven and fridge, so it's possible to cook for yourself while you're there.

If you're going to Bay of Islands and want a private place in a beautiful subtropical garden, you should stay at Takou River Lodge/Magic cottage.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank aegisys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
35 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 22, 2009

How lovely was Magic cottage, a little small in accommodation size, but in the Summer you would be out on the verandah anyway. I wish we had been there in warm weather to be able to canoe to the beach and the monument. The outside bath was loved by my other half, and so private. The views were stunning and worth the drive - but dont arrive in the dark, the access to Magic Cottage is not easy. Don't have the hamper, it was expensive and as the meat was frozen solid, we couldnt even have the dinner we were expecting. Also, American tortilla chips are not my idea of local produce for breakfast or dinner. In fact breakfast was yoghurt, muesli and 2 eggs between 2 of us and 2 days. Buy your supplies from Keri Keri Organic Grocer or Kawa Kawa if its on the way and visit the amazing toilet there! That was the only negative I can really say, but at the price, the hamper was a big let down. The rest of the Cottage was fantastic.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Val-Director
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 3, 2008

I cannot recommend this little piece of heaven enough. Perfect either for a romantic (but not clichéd) stay or by yourself for sheer relaxation. The incredible location, facilities, surroundings and hosts make this place hard to beat, I have been back once and will definitely be returning again.

  • Liked — The stunning location
  • Disliked — Having to leave!
  • Stayed November 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank wanderingjon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Devon
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 20, 2008

We found out about the cottages at Takou River through a friend who stayed in Magic Cottage for her honeymoon. She'd had an absolutely blissful fime and came back raving about it, and I can defintely see why.
My partner and I stayed in River Cottage (one of the two larger cottages with two double en-suite rooms and kitchen and living area upstairs) for a week. This accommodation is designed for four people but we didn't feel that we were rattling round and I can't imagine it feeling overcrowded at full capacity. My favourite thing in the cottage was the lookout tower with fabulous views over the river, farmland and native bush. And a close second was the outdoor bath at the Summer House where we spent a couple of evenings just relaxing and listening to the soundtrack of the surrounding area. Tui birdsong, cicadas, the fish plopping in the river at night and sometimes when the wind was in the right direction you could hear the surf down in the Bay - heavenly.
We had a few day trips out to the surrounding area (including diving The Rainbow Warrior wreck off the Cavalli Islands - a highlight) and there are plenty of things to do, but quite honestly we would have been quite happy lazing around and taking jaunts in the kayaks down to the (practiacally deserted) beach.
We took advantage of Anna's offer of buying some of their own organic beef and thoroughly enjoyed our steaks and roast beef (you can take a girl out of England but you can't take England out of the girl!) The meat is so fresh that you're practically choosing the cow you eat from the pasture!
Anna and Ian also very kindly let us have a look at The Magic Cottage as there was no one in there on the day we arrived. Although it made me very jealous of the lucky couple that were going to be staying, it also made me resolute to come back again and enjoy it myself!

  • Liked — The relaxing atmosphere and beautiful scenery
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank J-in-Devon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 19, 2008

Takou River comprises three holiday cottages set in the most stunning location, on the river with access to a large, beautiful and secluded beach. I stayed in Garden Cottage, with 2 double bedrooms, 2 ensuite bathrooms, and open plan living/kitchen/dining area (River Cottage has the same layout). The accomodation is finished to a very high standard and decorated with some souvenirs of the (very lovely!) English owners global travels. The gardens are impressive and contain the delightful summerhouse complete with open-air bath for a special experience! The owners have now moved to a new eco-friendly house elsewhere on the property, so no longer live in the property adjacent to the River and Garden Cottages, thus removing the slight privacy issues noted by one of the other reviewers.

This is not my first visit to Takou River, and I always find it incredibly restful, bringing me a sense of calm, peace and tranquility the moment I drive on to the property.

I have yet to stay in Magic Cottage - I am saving it for my honeymoon when it has to be one of the best places in the world to totally escape from it all, with the birdsong being the loudest noise you can hear...

Heavenly!

  • Liked — the peaceful location
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
Thank TwickenhamChick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 12, 2008

Accommodation in NZ can be hit and miss, but what the country excels at is small, boutique lodges and self catering cottages. Takou River falls into the latter category, comprising three small self contained units north of KeriKeri in an outstanding private garden, a short(ish) paddle down the eponymous river to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Our original plan was to stay in Magic Cottage, an idyllic sounding and very private lodge that overlooks the river. Alas, booked. However we were offered one of the (then newly finished) self contained "cottages". Upon arrival, whilst the location did not disappoint, the accommodation did. I'm ignoring that it was newly complete, as I'm sure the snagging and minor niggles have long been ironed out. But these cottages are attached to the (very nice English) owners' family home and the privacy we expected was not quite there.

Now that in itself is not a problem, but it is not made clear on the website and it is easy to assume that the privacy and seclusion of Magic Cottage is reflected in the Farm and River Cottages. In hindsight it is written there between the lines but not clear enough. We were on one or two occassions woken by a car or other delivery vehicle beneath us, or by the young family doing what families do. This is fine, as long as it is expected.

I am not trying to put anyone off this place because it really is a stunning location with a very high standard of accommodation, but if you are a couple (as we were then - sigh!!) looking for total seclusion and privacy, book Magic Cottage (seriously do - I would absolutely do that if I could do it again). I

f you are a family or small group, or don't mind the comings and goings of a household, and seclusion and privacy is a more general (rather than personal) requirement, River and Farm Cottages will fit the bill nicely.

Ive given it 4/5 because I was a little disappointed with the lack of complete privacy, but if you want that and manage to book Magic Cottage I suspect you may think me a bit melodramatic!

PS. Looking at the website, they've added a summer house for the use of the two attached cottages, and this will go some way to provide an element of personal privacy.

  • Liked — Amazing location
  • Disliked — Attached cottages not as private as expected
  • Stayed February 2005, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
1 Thank perfude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Magic Cottages at Takou River

Property: Magic Cottages at Takou River
Address: 660 Takou Bay Road | Northland, Kerikeri 0246, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > North Island > Northland Region > Bay of Islands > Kerikeri
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 26 Specialty Lodging in Kerikeri
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Magic Cottages at Takou River 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set a short distance from Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands and voted one of the Top Ten Luxury Lodges in New Zealand, Magic Cottages at Takou River are secluded and beautiful riverside retreats set on the banks of the picturesque Takou River. Within earshot of the sea at Takou Bay and surrounded by 150 acres of certified organic pasture, native bush and 5 acres of sub-tropical gardens, the 4 cottages and recently completed Lodge provide boutique self-catering accommodation that is eco-friendly yet still indulgent.Peace, seclusion and tranquility abound - a beautiful private river frontage; 150 acres of organic farmland with marked walks along the river bank, through native bush and pastures to secluded swimming and picnic spots; magical glow worms; 5 acres of beautiful sub-tropical gardens to wander and explore; our private jetty and boat house with free kayaks, canoes and fishing rods; and last but not least, access to the beautiful deserted sandy beaches at Takou Bay a short paddle or drive downstream. Once you've finished exploring, relax and unwind in the privacy of your cottage with a pampering massage or spa treatment. To complete your stay, gourmet meals are also available by prior arrangement. Magic Cottages are centrally located to explore the wider Bay of Islands and Far North, yet hidden away from the hustle and bustle amid 150 acres of organic pasture, native bush and river frontage. Enjoy the flourishing birdlife; wander enchanted gardens and riverside walks; paddle to Takou Bay; relax, refresh and romance in the claw foot bath – or bask in the bliss of doing absolutely nothing. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Magic Cottages At Takou River Hotel Kerikeri

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