Overlooking the stunning Coromandel Forest Park in the heart of the beautiful Maratoto Valley lies a peaceful accessible three bedroom, self-contained guest accommodation. The guest area is part of the main house which has been beautifully renovated for wheelchair access.
The owners moved to this location three years ago from Auckland with their son Keegan, a power chair user. Their goal was to build a self-sustainable community within a little slice of New Zealand paradise. They certainly found it here with the distant sound of the river and the frogs croaking in the pond at night. Waking up each morning to the birdsong amongst the trees. It has the workings of the classic Kiwi lifestyle block with Vegepods raised garden beds, honey bees, grazing goats, cows and free range hens.
If you ever feel like getting away from it all, then here is your perfect spot to holiday with good Kiwi hospitality thrown in.
“Big starry skies, open fires and great company”
Te Punanga is an 18-minute drive from the small town of Paeroa, famous for its popular L&P soft drink. It’s a great launching pad for visiting the Bay of Plenty, the Coromandel and Waikato regions.
Getting to this rural setting is best by private transport. However, the hosts do have a wheelchair accessible van and are happy to pick guests up locally. There is plenty of parking onsite with the terrain being hard packed gravel.
The guest accommodation is part of the expansive main house which boasts lots of floor to ceiling windows and glass sliding doors. The doors let in the natural light and open right back bringing the outdoors in.
The deck is extensive with well built pathways to access all around. The access ways are all lit up at night to guide you places.
On entering you will come into the main house with its spacious open corridors. To the left of the door is a wide sliding door. This can be closed off when guests arrive to provide privacy if and when desired.
The hosts, Franky and Tony are committed to providing access for everyone so there are plans to improve on accessibility further in this area.
Presently, access into the bathroom is through a hinged door with a width of 80cm. There are grab rails by the toilet and on the wall of the roll-in shower. The toilet hasn’t the standard accessible transfer space needed for a wheelchair user. However, there is a shower commode available that will fit over the toilet for use.
The wash basin and mirror doesn’t provide the standard accessibility for a wheelchair user. This is due to the cupboard space underneath the basin not allowing legroom to pull in and the mirror being too high.
A courtesy shower commode and stool is available for the shower. The shower head is on a sliding rail with a lever handle to turn it on and adjust temperature. The soap is accessible from sitting with a detachable storage setup. Towels are available from sitting upon a moveable towel rail.
The guest kitchen is well-equipped with everything you might need to cook a good wholesome meal. Heating is provided with heat pumps and the furniture is moveable to allow for preferred wheelchair circulation. Most of the kitchen equipment is or can be accessible from a wheelchair.
There are three bedrooms, two queen, one single (high/low bed) and the option of a fourth with a single bed in the main house.
High/low beds along with a therapeutic pressure mattress are rare in any visitor accommodation, so this is a real bonus. Again, the furniture is all moveable and can be rearranged to suit different needs.
NB: On our visit the high/low function was not functioning. Franky, the host is looking at getting repairs made to it.
“The hosts even have a mobile hoist available if required”
What we love most about these bedrooms is the floor to ceiling glass windows that are either fixed or slide open onto the accessible deck. All around this accommodation you get the opportunity to wheel and walk right out onto the deck to enjoy the outdoors.
The other rooms are compact and clean with beds that are movable for wheelchair access. The beds themselves are super comfy and if wanting to utilise these instead of the high/low bed it’s all possible. The hosts can even provide bed raisers for a mobile hoist to fit under.
Access out onto the Deck
No barriers here, the deck is equipped with a wood burner and BBQ with plenty of room to relax. This area provides the best of outdoor living.
Down by the Maratoto River
Down by the river close to the property are natural swimming holes. An accessible track has been established to allow their son’s big all-terrain power wheelchair to pass. This all-terrain power wheelchair can be used on occasion by a guest if needed.
We took our Finlay’s Hippocampe all-terrain wheelchair down to the river with no problem. It floats in the water too so a good option to think about if travelling down this way.
In the Summer the river is enjoyed by locals for fishing and picnics. They also like to build dams with the rocks to create big swimming holes.
A Little Peak into the Main House Living Space
The main area in the house is also connected to the guest accommodation. Their son Keegan has his own awesome set-up with a full ceiling track hoist system to allow easy hoist transfer to every part of his room including his ensuite bathroom. The Lewis family have lots of exciting plans on the horizon to open up Keegan’s space further and create his own outdoor deck space for social activities.
The family have already put a lot of work into this place making it accessible and sustainable. They have so much land to play with along with existing barns and out-buildings at their fingertips. This means more exciting plans on the horizon for the future.
Their ultimate goal is to move out of the Main House and move into their own space in another area on the land. This space would then become the main hub for a fantastic lodge or retreat.
“A place to entertain, hold events or just wind down and relax in”
Things to do in the Area
A must-do in the area would be to check out the Hauraki Rail Trail that intersects here and takes you right through the Karangahake Gorge to the urban areas of Waihi, Te Aroha and Thames. This cycling track follows the old railway track and is one of the easiest to ride in the country. There are a few gradients in places to negotiate, but if you are electric nothing is a problem. The track is well maintained and has good easy to manage sections. Along the way you can stop off and enjoy some local eateries and refresh yourself.
- The Hauraki Rail Trail
- Waihi Beach & the Coromandel Peninsula
- The Cheese Barn
- Waikino Bar & Kitchen
If you would like to learn more about this accommodation and keep up-to-date with future planned projects you can visit their website below.
Te Punanga O Te Rangimarie meaning Refuge of Peace