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Cloud 9 – One Of New Zealand’s Must-Stay Havens

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Kip Brook
Kip Brook

The view of paradise walking into Cloud9 lingers forever. This is a $NZ1700 a night four-bedroom holiday haven that is a must-stay-in before you die place.

Cloud9 is as close to heaven as you can get: A swanky hilltop house above the sleepy historic village of Russell overlooking the Bay of Islands in northern New Zealand; looking down on to dreamy golden sand Long Beach: perfect for night-time romps under the stars.

Some experiences in life happily stay fresh in the mind forever. This is one of those. I am ushered into Cloud9 by hostess Lesley Joy. We step down into the lounge and onto the whitewashed floorboards. Lesley explains how to work the flat screen tv-DVD, the wi-fi internet and how to ‘drive’ the kitchen.

I don’t take in a word she says. I am gaping like a goldfish at the priceless view across the balmy Pacific Ocean and the sleepy Bay of Islands. This loveable place is insatiably sexy and romantic.

Lesley takes me outside to the edge of the infinity pool which vanishes into the ocean as one. This place was given the name Cloud9 as it appears the nearest step to heaven.
It rates among the most welcome destinations in this part of the world. All the bedrooms have a cedar patio or deck that have panoramic unobstructed views of the islands and ocean.
I am laying in my cosy king sized bed that night with the doors open and I hear the hear the chirps of the flightless kiwi bird – the iconic New Zealand national symbol – scurrying around in the ferns and nikau palms.
The next morning I rummage through the kitchen and Lesley has left me bacon, eggs, mushrooms, yummy MacKenzie Country fresh bread, fruit juice, fresh fruit platter, cereal, tea, coffee and just about anything else I would have wanted for breakfast.
I stroll down the hill to the beach. The water is warm and I swim a tiny stretch of the flat Pacific Ocean before laying on the inviting sands under the golden sun before striding back up the hill to Cloud9. It already feels like home.

The sky cable television has all the movies and channels I could ever wish to watch. But I never turn it on. There is too much natural beauty to soak up and appreciate. I plunge into the pool wearing only a smile and rest on the edge for a second to enjoy life pass me by. I flop on to the hot weathered wooden deck, feeling my glistening wet body swiftly dry out and wonder if life gets better.

I crack open a lovely bottle of award-winning Spy Valley sauvignon blanc – the very best of Marlborough wine - sit out on the deck, put my feet up and watch the sun set. I hear the waves crashing, the native birds scurrying above the bush – and nothing else. It is like being part of a movie but in privacy and in blissful silence.
The next day I amble down to the Russell township near the birthplace of the nation. I notice my pace of life has slowed to a lazy gait I am completely unwound. I pop into Janet’s South Sea art gallery which is the most welcoming of three galleries in the tiny main street. Helena Blair’s iconic Kiwi beach scenes are eye-catching and commercially appealing.
But I don’t want to stay away from /Cloud9 too long. I buy some fresh groper from the local wet fish 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. For a time, life stands still.
I head 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.
Note: Cloud9 is perched above the historic Bay of Islands township of Russell, which became the first capital of New Zealand and is stepped in history. The sub-tropical Bay of Islands region – three house drive from Auckland international airport - has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with the 144 islands and secluded bays. The Bay has an abundance of marine life, including the big marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. The maritime and historic park is the original cradle of European civilization and has fine examples of Maori culture.

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