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A Housewithnonails Rail Trail Experience

As the Hauraki Rail Trail Network grows, so too does the incredible variety of experiences on offer, and the interesting people behind them. 

The Housewithnonails is a handcrafted, rustic, eco-friendly homestead gracing the horizon near the Te Aroha to Matamata section of the Hauraki Rail Trail. 


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram


Built and run by Jen and Dewi, the home's special exterior is matched equally by its intriguing interior, and the delightful opportunities offered to experience this unique environment. 

Previously the Housewithnonails has been host to visitors from all over the world, providing a truly luxury experience. Sitting quietly in its beautiful location in Wardville, the barn can accommodate up to 16 guests.


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram


Since New Zealand’s borders closed due to Covid-19, more Kiwis have enjoyed the homestay and weekends have been filled with bookings of groups escaping the city. 

At the Housewithnonails, guests can ride the Hauraki Rail Trail, or adventure further to explore farmers markets, beaches and geyser lands. Adventures include vintage shopping and discovering local foodie spots. 

Then at the end of a day everyone gathers in the Barn for a feast around the table, telling stories of people and places on the Hauraki Rail Trail, and their adventures in our backyard.


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram - Dewi Roberts


A Housewithnonails Guest's Experience


Robyn McArthur was one of two couples who recently rode the Hauraki Rail Trail, enjoying a stay at the Housewithnonails. Referring to themselves as late adopters of riding in their 60’s, the friends were keen for an adventure on their e-bikes.

With the wedding of the son of one couple to attend in the Coromandel, they saw it as a great opportunity to get out and explore the New Zealand outdoors and their new found biking bond.

We caught up with Robyn to hear more about their stay in the region.


How did you hear about the Housewithnonails, and what made it so appealing for your group?

I saw the Housewithnonails advertised when I googled accommodation on the Hauraki Rail Trail website. We wanted something memorable for our trip, and not what felt like just another motel in another town.


What was special about your stay at the barn, and what would you say to others considering a visit?

The barn offers comfortable, luxurious accommodation together with great hospitality. The cooked meals were lovely and there was plenty of food.

The rooms were quirky and each of them different. Wardville is a beautiful location out in the country. The grounds offered novel eating, with a special outdoor BBQ and fire-pit, with lovely boards to eat off.


Photo credit: @housewithnonails - Cooking on the Asador


Jen and Dewi are interesting hosts who have great stories to tell about the locality, themselves and their work. We all enjoyed lots of good bon homie,  and lots of laughs and fun around the dinner table and fire each evening.

It’s a good spot which is peaceful and relaxing but without being boring.


Photo credit: @housewithnonails - guests enjoying dinner alfresco


Which sections of the Trail did you ride, and across how many days?

We rode all Sections of the Trail across three days, except we finished at the Housewithnonails instead of going all the way through to Matamata.


What were the highlights for you?

We thoroughly enjoyed the Karangahake Gorge and our accommodation in Waihi. It was a great place located behind someone’s home with storage for bikes and facilities to dry out and wash everything. Once again, it was very comfortable and peaceful. We also loved the ride from Kaiaua to Thames, and in particular the excellent restaurants and stores to browse in Thames. Each place was different and offered something new and novel, and we felt safe on our travels.


What level of fitness and experience are your group, and did you find the Trail manageable?

I’d say we are of moderate fitness, although one member had just walked a marathon. We found the Rail Trail to be easily manageable.


Where will your group be adventuring next?

We have plenty of adventures to tick off on our list, and will be doing the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail next.


Jen's Hauraki Rail Trail Tips


We asked Jen (photographer, storyteller, traveller, vintage Op shopper, passionate Housewithnonails host and creative stylist of events) for her Trail Tips. Here’s what she had to say…


Stay in... our handhewn wooden Barn made with the owners mallet and chisel, just off Section E of the Hauraki Rail Trail.


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram


Cycle to... Café 77 in Manawaru for coffee in what was once the old derelict Manawaru Dairy Factory.


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram


Glide along... the Waihou River by kayak watching the wildlife with Adventure Te Aroha.


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instragram - Fun on the Waihou River


Soak in... the rare hot mineral waters at Te Aroha Mineral Spas.


Grab a torch... from the housewithnonails and head to Wairere Falls for a night-time bush walk, to discover glowworms up at the North Island’s tallest waterfall. 


Photo Credit: @housewithnonails on Instagram - view from Wairere Falls


Sip spicy mulled wine... around the fire-pit back, feasting under the Barn beams. 


Photo: Jen Roberts


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