East Coast and the Volcanic Zone Hotels

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Tunanui Station Cottages

I woke up early as the sun was rising and it looked gorgeous.

At a Glance

    Pros

  • relax and enjoy the peace and quite
  • ideal for families

    Cons

  • a fair distance from the main road and beaches, but only the owls give a hoot!

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Tunanui Station Cottages Review

For a taste of the real New Zealand, relax on the 5,000-acre sheep-and-cattle station of Leslie and Ray Thompson. Ray's family have farmed this land for over 100 years. Among the trees is a fully restored 90-year-old cottage with original rimu flooring, kauri doors, and open fireplace; or, you may prefer the modern, spacious, comfortably furnished four-bedroom farmhouse. From here views over the Mahia peninsula to the ocean are spectacular. Both houses have great self-catering facilities, ideal for longer stays (bring your own supplies).

    Hotel Details

  • 1 cottage, 1 farmhouse
  • Rate includes no meals.
  • No credit cards.
Updated: 02-18-2014

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    Farmhouse Holiday From Hell

    Apologies for the long review. It looks like this may be the first review of this accommodation on the internet despite it being rented out as accommodation for "29 years". So let me be the first to say what it was like staying at Tunanui Station Cottages and Farmhouse. (We rented the Farmhouse). Firstly, I and my family do not recommend this place mainly due to the terrible service and lack of professionalism from the owner. Unfortunately we only had one night to stay due to a misunderstanding that was blown out of proportion by the owner. The owner decided she didn't want us there after the first 4 hrs. What had happened was my sister and her family had arrived 30 mins before my contingent. She had rung the owner about 2hrs before to say she'd be the first to arrive; (to which the owner made a comment that she needs to make the beds(??) The owner had emailed us instructions to meet her at her home, not the farmhouse, to which my sister adhered. I also rung the owner to say my sister will be arriving before me and I'll be 30mins behind. The owners house number is 1001 which is on many websites showing pictures of the farmhouse & cottages (not her home). My own contingent drove up the long dirt road past a letterbox that said 987 & followed the GPS where it said we'd arrived. We thought perhaps we were in the wrong place as we couldn't see anyone but caught a glimpse of my sisters car near the secluded farmhouse. So we parked up and unpacked. The owner had already checked my sisters contingent in and said she'd be back later with maps of the area. So we relaxed, admired the scenery and waited. After a couple of hours I received a phone call on my cell phone from the owner asking where I was. I told her we are at the Farmhouse. She said she gave directions to her own home not the farmhouse. She asked if we went to 1001, I replied that we followed our GPS and saw my sister so parked up and thought that she (the owner) would be up later. She kept saying she expressively said in her email to meet at 1001. I said I understand that and explained what happened again at which point she hung up on me. Now before I continue let me say that we had indeed made a mistake that hadn't been apparent until she called. There is a house on the road that branches off to her driveway that says 1001 which my sister confirmed. But at the bottom of that drive is a red letterbox that says 987 which we (me and my parents) saw and consequently ignored thinking we weren't there and drove on up the road. My sister's family went straight to 1001 and said they have a letterbox up the drive saying 1001, so I guess that was lucky or they had a much better Satnav system. But the fact remains, this owner was extremely put out that the second group i.e. me & my parents, went straight to the farmhouse by mistake and then thought that she had checked us in via my sister & was coming back up later. It was a strange reaction to have and escalated when we asked if she could look at the TV and Fridge, (which by now had $300 worth of groceries we'd put in there). Also bear in mind her house wasn't very far by car from the farmhouse, maybe less than 5 mins. So after she hung up I called her back, flabbergasted that she reacted so badly. I asked if she had just hung up on me and she said she thought we'd made our "own plans and it was obvious the conversation was over". I said there seems to be a misunderstanding, explained the mistake again and said we were waiting for her to come back with maps & to ask her about the TV & fridge which didn't appear to be working . (I also mentioned that we'd seen something about breakfast being available... "what breakfast... You didn't request breakfast". I said "I know that's what we wanted to inquire about, it just said breakfast available"). She said she wasn't coming back and had to make her husbands dinner. Once again I said we couldn't get the TV to work and the fridge doesn't seem to be working so it would be good if she could come up. The phone went dead. A little later my brother in law rung her and said we would like her to come up to fix the TV & fridge (knowing that these are facilities we paid for and expected as part of the $3000 we'd paid) .. she said she'd think about it and hung up on him. She then rang me straight away and produced a spiel about how we were obviously not happy with the place and things weren't working out... I immediately placed her on speaker phone so my family could hear how unreasonable she was & I interrupted her calmly and said we only wanted the TV and fridge looking into, we never said we were unhappy. After long pauses where she refused to speak, she told me to stop interrupting and continued to tell us she would give us a refund and she wanted us out that night. I said that she's kicking a family with a 3yr old out who've planned this holiday for weeks and we have nowhere to go and this is all because she's annoyed one of the group didn't go to her house first, but this didn't make an impact on her. I said we'd have to stay the night, we're not going anywhere tonight because we have nowhere to go .... She hung up. That day my Father and Brother In Law and myself, went to her house to try and pacify the situation. I sat in the car parked near a tree . She was unaware I was there. She stated once again, we should've followed her email instructions & not driven onto her farmhouse without her (even though my sister had been checked in). She then went on to say to my Father that I had demanded she come up and demanded to have breakfast and that I was very abrupt and rude and she couldn't talk to me. My father tried to appease her but I'd had enough. I got out and said calmly that I'd been listening and she was being untruthful. She leaned forward to me in a confrontational manner and said she didn't think it was right that 3 people come down and accost her then said she was up at 5am (??). I said that we will not leave until we see a refund and she walked off into her house. I called out that she's an untruthful woman and she has mouse droppings in her farmhouse... by this time I was now very annoyed by her antics and uncaring behavior in ruining my family's holiday... we returned to the farmhouse and spent that whole evening trying to find accommodation for the rest of our holiday. The next morning, my father and brother in law drove down to facilitate the refund. She said we had to be out by 11am & she wanted to check the farmhouse to see how clean it was before she would give us a refund. We left it clean and put it back exactly how we found it, i.e old food in the fridge & pantry, mouse droppings in cupboards, old belongings in wardrobes... but we did fix a wardrobe which wouldn't close and left it fixed. (Unfortunately we did this before she kicked us out). She then charged us a $50 cleaning fee. She said this was because we only stayed one night... Even though she was the one who kicked us out & despite us fixing her wardrobe. But she said it wasn't her fault we decided to stay the night and not leave straight away. Note, this $50 cleaning fee was not mentioned on any small print on the booking form or any website. She waited in her car for all of us to drive off the property (perhaps in case we vandalized the place?) then gave us a cheque refund minus one night & cleaning fee, which we cashed that same day while trying to salvage our holiday. If you've read this far you'll understand why we're not recommending Tunanui Station Cottages & Farmhouse. Not so much from the general uncleanliness & apparent disorganization in the house, but the completely unprofessional and unreasonable attitude of the owner Leslie Thompson. I personally cannot see how this has been rented for 29 yrs or how she has been in the hospitality industry that long, given her way of dealing with problems that were actually very minor. (Please bear in mind, we did not mention any of the cleanliness problems etc before she kicked us out, only the TV and fridge not working). It felt like we were an inconvenience to her from the get go. She wanted to mow the lawn the next morning to get ready for her daughters wedding, despite it looking fine. We were told that she'll be watering the lawn every day but because of a water shortage we weren't allowed to fill up a paddling pool for our child (??); she relented when it was explained we'd only fill it once for the 8 days and throw it out over her grass. And we couldn't understand how she left it so late to make the beds (2hrs before we arrived) and turn on the fridge, despite being up since 5am. Yes, the fridge did actually work in the end, it was cold when we left... It just hadn't been turned on in time for our arrival. She also ruffled through the drawers of the farmhouse when my sister asked if there were activity brochures or maps which we usually find in cottages we rent out (this farmhouse was quite isolated so we wanted some ideas). It seemed she just wasn't prepared or organized for our arrival & perhaps our mistake of driving straight to the farmhouse was the last straw for her. But she ended up saying it was my demands and rudeness that she couldn't deal with not knowing I put her on speakerphone for everyone to hear her attitude and they of course could hear me so knew how I was speaking; which was calm. In the end we found a gorgeous, quaint set of cottages 20mins away in Morere called Morere Hot Springs Lodge (http://www.morerelodge.co.nz/) which had the springs & glowworm walks with lovely rivers near by and only 15mins away from Mahia beaches if you so wanted.. We then stayed in Gisborne at Champers Motor Lodge (http://www.champers.co.nz/). Both places were very affordable, clean, with activities & nice laid back friendly owners. We even got money back from our farmhouse from hell after paying for the other accommodation. A blessing in disguise & the owners of both places were the complete opposite of Tunanui Station Cottages & Farmhouse. If you do decide to stay, here's some points to help you: * Have a good GPS. Look for a red letterbox 987 and turn up that driveway where you'll see 1001. Do not drive past that letterbox and whatever you do, do not drive onto the farmhouse further up the road. Even if you have someone already checked in & waiting for you. * If the fridge is warm, it was probably not turned on in time. It should be cold by the next morning. * The TV instructions mention finding the AV1 channel to see the picture. Please note, it's the Video 1 channel but the picture may not come back if you move away from the channel. Or the sky card may be removed if you come into a disagreement...not sure which happened. * They've said on the accommodate-me website that there's a telephone in the room. At the time of writing there was no telephone anywhere and little cellphone coverage. (http://www.accommodate-me.co.nz/PL262/Hawkes_Bay-Mahia-Accommodation/Tunanui_Station_Cottages) * They've said on that website "breakfast available". That means by request. Whatever you do, make sure you sound like you're inquiring about it... Please note, this may not work and you may be accused of demanding it. * They've said on the website that there's complimentary tea & coffee. There's not. (At time of writing). * There's mention of a private swimming hole you can use . This needs to be driven to and you must always go to the owners house and ask for the key to the gate if you want to use it. * Ignore all mouse droppings and cockroaches. * Do not fix anything, it will not be appreciated. In fact you may be charged instead for a fee you didn't know about. *Although we found the place in a disorganized and unclean state, we would've actually let that slide had it not been for the owner kicking us out for a trivial reason and for charging us a cleaning fee to clean up the general mess that was already there. In hindsight it really wasn't worth $375 per night.

    by PaleJewel, 1/17/14

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