Amid 15 acres of native forest flanked by creeks and swimming holes sit four studios—known to the hosts as "snugs" because they're so cozy—and the two-bedroom River Deck suite. Although only 15 minutes from Whitianga, the journey to Wairua Lodge takes you off the main drag and through the infamous 309 Road before heading down into a sunny, sheltered valley. It's worth the adventure. There is an outdoor hot tub, but the highlight is the deep outdoor bath, on a balcony
in a private room above a ravine. At night, the ravine is lit by a spotlight; from the bath you can look out onto the trees and the creek below, perhaps listening to the call of ruru, the native morepork. Because of its proximity to both the east and west coast of the Coromandel, the lodge is a good base from which to explore the area.