Hidden Treasures of the North Part 2: Sandy Bay Retreat

To complete our trip, we booked a cabin in a place called Sandy Bay Retreat. It was one of the highlights of our itinerary. After contacting Coastal Holiday Homes and finalizing the reservations, we were sent a rather long list stating the things that we need to bring (including bed linens, rubbish bags, etc.), the directions to the cabin and how to enter the property, and the garbage disposal instructions (which involves driving to the waste disposal area). We had to read thru the email a million times just to make sure that we didn’t miss anything.


Sandy Bay Retreat is very suitable for travelers who are after “peace and quiet”. It is also a place to “disconnect”. Network coverage is very limited (which means you have to climb a hill to get network access), DVDs are your best friend, you only see your neighbor if you bring some type of telescope, and the background music is of birds chirping, some ducks quacking, and insects trying to carry a tune.



Staying at this place clearly outlines what holidays should be about: bonding with loved ones, appreciating nature, relaxing and breathing in fresh, clean air, and simply disconnecting from all stressors.

Breakfast is served!


It is a very peaceful location. The cabin and some of the other amenities are well maintained. You get value for your money. Although the retreat has 2 other cabins and a camp ground, no other people will be booked in if a person, couple, or a group has already made a reservation, thus, you get your much deserved privacy.

Cons (which aren’t really a biggie):
We weren’t able to use the outdoor tub because it hasn’t been cleaned for quite some time. It is located quite a while away from the shops; so if you are planning to cook, it is better to purchase all your supplies before heading to the retreat.

Safe Travels!

Kay & Gelo


Our Fairytale.

We started out as school mates, then classmates, then friends, then best friends, then confidantes, then lovers, then partners, and now legally life-long partners (or simply, married 😉 )

We were blessed to have our families, friends, and colleagues with us on our big day. And it felt more complete with the presence of the videographers and photographers from JETMO PROJECT and Ralph Bella Photography. We were confident that, despite the fact that everything was happening so fast, we will still get the chance to look back and reminisce through the videos and photos.

We cannot rave enough as to how the final products were professionally captured and artistically produced, and as to how friendly and helpful both teams were.

So again, from the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU!

And now, presenting the cinematic highlights of our simply perfect wedding day. 😉


Hidden Treasures of the North Part 1: Poor Knights Islands

Work hard, party harder! These are often the posts we see on Facebook when friends get the chance to enjoy a night out or a weekend away after a long work week. Indeed, every person deserves a break once in a while. Our chance to enjoy a good holiday was during the Auckland Anniversary long weekend wherein we took the opportunity to explore the Tutukaka Coast (including Poor Knights Island, Matapouri Bay, Whale Bay, Sandy Bay, and Mermaid Pools) in Whangarei.

From Auckland, it usually takes around 2.5 hours to travel by car. But due to the rush hour traffic at 7:30 in the morning and road works everywhere, it took us more than 3 hours to reach the Dive! Tutukaka office at Marina Road where we had to register for the the Perfect Day cruise (and where the cruise fees {$169/adult} are paid). We arrived at 10:45 am and the vessel left the dock at 11:00 am.

On-board the perfect day.

The first stop for our long weekend adventure is Poor Knights Islands. It is a group of islands which have been categorized as a marine reserve; which meant that you are only allowed to bring home photos and memories. Fishing, docking, and even tramping are not possible. Regardless of the aforementioned information, exploring the surrounding structures while on board the vessel, snorkeling, and kayaking was still a remarkable experience.

One of the archways. (Pardon our inability to remember the name.)

The trip duration was roughly five hours. This included the travel time to and from the marina, lunch (sandwiches, soup, and hot drinks), activities like snorkeling and kayaking (all the gear was provided), and sightseeing.

Double and single kayaks. (Life jackets are also provided if required)



The overall experience was incredible. It was indeed the “perfect” start to our holiday!

Spotted a school of Trevally while cruising back to the marina.


The Poor Knights Islands and A Perfect Day cruise is the perfect combination when you visit the Tutukaka Coast.

Safe Travels!

Kay & Gelo