Te Arai Lodge is an eco-friendly oasis offering boutique luxury and warm hospitality, only 1 hour 15 minutes north of the Auckland harbour bridge.
Surrounded by over 20 acres of ancient podocarp forest and native bush, Te Arai Lodge sits on an elevated ridge with panoramic views across the rolling hills of the Brynderwyn Ranges out to the stunning beaches and surrounding islands of the Mangawhai coast.
We welcome our guests to experience a homestay boutique luxury lodge like no other. One that is inspired by the beauty of the surrounding native flora and bird life, our passion for sustainability and organic garden-to-table dining, and our love of hospitality and meeting people from all over the world.
With authentic personal service from the owners Vince & Kathy Moores, their family and a team of carefully chosen staff, Te Arai Lodge creates a special escape for those seeking the finest comforts without compromising the environment.
Our relationship with the Te Arai region began over 25 years ago, visiting the area for holidays with our family and staying with Kathy’s parents in nearby Mangawhai, where her father, NZ Golf Legend, Ted McDougall, worked as the pro at the Mangawhai Golf Course.
After many years of searching, 15 years ago we bought our bare block of land surrounded by an ancient podocarp forest and native bush, which offered all the attributes we were looking for to develop the vision we had for the Lodge.
We embarked on a long-term sustained pest eradication initiative trapping possums, stoats and rats, which has resulted in a regeneration of native birdlife that now thrives in our region. I am a qualified chef by trade but an entrepreneur by nature, starting and running over 20 different businesses in a wide range of industries.
As a side interest, I also have a passion for projects, building and development, and have designed and built a number of different properties with Te Arai Lodge being the crowning glory.
I retired at age 50 and have spent the last 10 years traveling the world on adventures and explorations, visiting over 100 countries, hiking the Himalayas, traveling overland through Central America, Europe, Asia and Indochina, cruising around South America, Antarctica and the Caribbean, cycling on a push-bike from northern Canada to Mexico and recently cycling on a push-bike 12,000 kilometres from Cairo, Egypt through 10 countries to Cape Town, South Africa, a 5-month epic adventure!
My wife Kathy is a wonderful mother to our 3 now adult children and has supported me with all of our businesses with a drive towards sustainability, the environment and creating a positive change in the world. She is a passionate gardener, a talented cook and an inspirational yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi instructor.
Together we share our talents and blessings with a wide circle and contribute through a range of charities and gifting. Te Arai Lodge is a proud sponsor of NZ Forest & Bird https://www.forestandbird.org.nz with a percentage of all profits from the lodge being donated to support the work of this iconic Kiwi institution.
Our daughter Nicola is the Lodge Manager, multilingual host and passionate garden-to-table chef. Her background is in design, romance languages and gastronomy, having attended high school and university in various parts of Italy and completed her masters thesis in Italian on the history of food at The University of Bologna in Italy.
She has since worked in the food industry and as a recipe developer in Paris, Milan, Madrid, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Wellington and Auckland, written several recipe books with Green Kitchen Stories in Sweden and presented a travel food series with World Nomads in Spain.
Recently she returned home with much enthusiasm and knowledge after having worked in the kitchens and permaculture gardens of some of the world’s top wellness retreats such as Gwinganna in Australia, Aro Hā in New Zealand and Stedsans in the Woods in Sweden.
Our eldest son Doug is in charge of our website, marketing, social media and new initiatives. He is a qualified yoga instructor, a keen golfer and cyclist, and fitness guru who runs yoga and organic movement classes for our guests.
Our son Harry is a musician, artist, photographer and fly fisherman who offers guests trout guiding experiences around New Zealand and saltwater fly fishing in our local waters.
We look forward to sharing our passions, talents and the Te Arai Lodge experience with you all. Fine wine, food, friends, fun and festivities,
Te Arai is a small community on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, near the northern end of the Auckland Region. Magical Mangawhai lies to the north, and Tomarata, Matakana and Pakiri to the south. From Auckland central, Te Arai is a 75 minute drive or 15 minutes by helicopter.
Te Arai Beach is a pristine white sand beach and is a very popular surfing destination, rated one of the best surf locations in the Auckland region. The beach is safe for swimming and is an utterly gorgeous spot for a day at the beach.
The area is known for its stunning Tuscan-style rolling hills. Tourism and farming are the predominant activities in the area. Among the bird species found here is the critically endangered New Zealand fairy tern, of which only 11 breeding pairs are left in the world. Auckland Council owns Te Arai Regional Park.
Te Arai Beach is the exact antipode of Gibraltar.
A covered portico leads guests in through the double entry doors into “The Great Room” featuring a limestone central open fireplace surrounded by opulent seating.
A David Trubridge “Navicular” chandelier pays homage to the distant sand dune of Mangawhai on the horizon and designates the dining area where guest gather around a repurposed solid elm table for the shared dining experience (alternatively, guests can elect to have private dining in or outside their rooms or in a selection of other dining locations on the property).
A full bar is available to guests for pre-dinner drinks and a range of NZ and international wines are offered on the wine list menu. The solid tawa timber kitchen with granite tops is a chef’s delight where memorable meals are created using fresh organic produce from the property together with other local ingredients.
A north-facing terrace framed by purpleheart timber beams extends along the entire frontage of the property with a covered portico and open fireplace being an ideal place to watch the sun set with a glass of wine.
A 20 meter long heated pool sits directly below the terrace, complemented by a cedar hot tub set into the edge of the bush.
A generous yoga studio and gym with full length mirrors flows out onto the pool decking together with an infrared sauna, indoor and outdoor shower, bathroom facilities and a mini bar / hot beverage kitchenette.
Kōtare (Kingfisher) Cottage
Kōtare Cottage is an ocean-inspired haven with breathtaking views overlooking the organic gardens, native bush and distant islands.
With adjacent parking, separate outside access and level entry, Kōtare is a self-contained cottage with an internal connection to the main lodge through a stone-clad passageway.
Featuring an intimate gas fireplace area, air conditioning, private dining facilities, complimentary minibar and hot drinks, your absolute comfort is assured.
The luxurious double vanity ensuite has a generous bath tub, large shower and beautiful detailing, and on the adjoining private terrace is a stunning outdoor bath in which to stargaze and listen to the birdsong.
Kererū (Wood Pigeon) Suite
Framed by towering purpleheart timbers, the entrance to the Kererū Suite pulls you into a luxurious room inspired by the local flora, fauna and breathtaking views over the native podocarp forest.
Kererū Suite is fully self-contained with adjacent parking and a separate outside entrance with an internal connection to the main lodge through the adjoining library. It comes equipped with a gas fireplace, air conditioning and a complimentary minibar, tea and coffee making facilities and a private dining area.
In addition to the beautifully appointed double vanity ensuite, there is a generous outdoor bath tub on the adjacent private deck in which to sit and watch the sun set surrounded by nature.
Ruru (Morepork ) Barn
The striking Ruru (Morepork) Barn is a blend of the iconic Kiwi shed with a contemporary studio interior. Set directly across from the main lodge, Ruru (Morepork) Barn is framed with a purpleheart timber entry pergola, olive and lemon trees.
It features a generous double-height studio with views out to the orchard and native bush. A generous limestone paved courtyard provides the perfect location to watch the sun set, sitting around the open fire brazier.
Ruru (Morepork) Barn is fully self-contained with its own separate entry, ensuite, kitchenette and walk-in wardrobe, complimentary minibar, private dining facilities and a central wood-burning fireplace.
In addition to the beautifully appointed vanity ensuite, there is a generous outdoor cedar bath tub in the garden which to sit and watch the sun set surrounded by nature.
Nestled at the top of the lodge, the Tūī Mezzanine is the perfect spot to bird watch and take in all the breathtaking views out over the Tuscan-style rolling hills, to the beach and beyond. It is intimate, luxurious and inspired by the bird life that frequently fly by.
Entering through into the main lodge foyer, the striking staircase leads up to the Tūī Mezzanine with ensuite, air conditioning and complimentary minibar facilities.
“Garden-to-table” is the essence of the food offering at Te Arai Lodge, using organic produce grown on the estate complemented with fresh local produce, line-caught fish from Leigh, organic free-range chicken, grass fed-beef and more.
The style of cuisine at Te Arai Lodge is crafted around the seasonality and freshness of the produce, letting the natural flavours tell the story… tantalising entrées, memorable meals, mouth-watering desserts and experiences to last a lifetime.
The “Shared Dining” evening meal experience invites guests to join with the Moores family and fellow guests.
Guests can choose to source produce from the gardens with the chef, to observe or partake in the finishing touches of the offerings or to simply relax by the open fire on the terrace with a drink, to then be invited to share a communal table for dining.
Alternatively, guests can choose a “Private Dining” experience and have the various courses of their meal served in a location of their choice around the property. Breakfast is served buffet style, together with a choice of hot dishes cooked to order. Again, guests have the option of shared or private dining locations.
Owner Kathy’s passion, her pride and her joy, are the gardens of Te Arai Lodge, where she, and her husband Vince, have personally planted over 4000 shrubs, trees and plants together with an extensive array of raised vegetable and herb gardens.
As it matures, the orchard promises a rich bounty of lemons, lemonades, limes, oranges, blood oranges, mandarins, feijoas, figs, tamarillos, avocados, papayas, bananas, plums, apples, pears, and an assortment of nut trees. The orchard is also where our free-range chickens will run and our bees will make their honey.
50 olive trees will eventually provide the lodge with its own organic extra-virgin olive oil to complement the range of locally produced award-winning varietals that are currently used in the cuisine.
The lodge wine list offers a small selection of international wines, however, the main focus is on NZ wines, showcasing the country’s growing influence on the global stage.
A selection of complimentary wines are served for pre-dinner drinks and guests are invited to select wines of their choice from the wine list at an additional charge.
Pool, Spa & Sauna
The stunning lap pool (20 metres long x 4 metres wide x 1.5 metres deep) is nestled into the bush line on the lower terrace of the property surrounded by purpleheart decking with sun loungers, umbrellas and cotton towels for guests’ use.
An electric pool cover and heating provides year-round access together with a hot cedar tub for relaxing, surrounded by nature and abundant bird life.
We also have a beautiful pine wood infrared sauna to help you relax, lose weight, relieve unwanted pain, increase your circulation, purify your skin and enjoy better sleep and longevity.
Pīwakawaka (Fantail) Yoga Studio & Gym
A secret haven of tranquility, the Pīwakawaka (Fantail) Yoga Studio & Gym comes equipped with full-length mirrors reflecting the surrounding native bush and saltwater pool, a ballet bar and a range of exercise equipment from a TRX system, Total Gym, rowing machine, exercise bike, Swiss ball, yoga mats, recovery tools and more.
There’s also an amazing surround sound system and flat screen TV with Netflix to keep you entertained while you work out. And for those who just want to relax poolside there’s a beautiful tea station, mini bar, yoga mats, straps, blocks, infrared sauna, ensuite and indoor and outdoor shower.
The Mangawhai and Te Arai regions boast a wide range of walks to meet every skill and fitness level. From short 20 minute walks with rewarding panoramic views over the inner estuary to more challenging cliff, bush and sand dune walks.
Take a strenuous hike up a range of waterfalls through native bush to an ancient Kauri dam or a more leisurely walk around the estuary or a stroll along some of the region’s amazing white sandy beaches.
Routes and itineraries can be custom-made to guests’ requirements with maps and directions provided. Guided walks can be arranged together with picnic packs and provisions by prior request. POA.
Some of our favourite walks include:
Mangawhai Cliff Walk
One of New Zealand’s great coastal and short walks. This walk provides breathtaking coastal views that extend from Bream Head in the north down to the Tāwharanui Peninsula in the south. The Coromandel Peninsula and Great Barrier Island/Aotea are often seen on the horizon.
The track starts along the beach, then climbs quite steeply for about 20 minutes to a lookout point. It then winds past ancient pōhutukawa teetering on the sheer slopes before descending to the stony beach below. From here you can walk back along the beach (8 km), but only at low tide. 2 – 3 hours
The Tanekaha Tracks
The Tanekaha Tracks on the south side of the Brynderwyn Hills is one of the premier walking destinations in the North Island. Largely on public land, these spectacular walks have been developed by local volunteers and vary from ridge walks, to stream sides and waterfalls, to spectacular forest.
Currently four tracks make up a series of loops all beginning and ending at the King Road car park, giving flexibility regarding length and difficulty. After crossing a short swing bridge you will pass through a lush kanuka/tanekaha forest with groves of tree ferns and nikau palms.
Depending on what track you take there are a plethora of pristine waterfalls and streams along the way, the remains of a kauri dam and great views out to the Mangawhai hinterland and sand dunes. 1 – 2 hours
Mangawhai Sand Dune Walk
Walking the deserted golden sands of the Mangawhai sand dunes starting from the Pacific Road beach car-park is a truely unique experience. From the car-park you will walk approximately 40 minutes along a pristine white sand beach with the crystal clear waters with the Pacific Ocean lapping at your feet.
Approximately 40 minutes down the beach you will see the moonscape of the Mangawhai Sand Dune on your left. Climbing to the top is an exhilarating experience and well worth the effort with spectacular views at the top out to the Mangawhai coast, estuary, headlands and Tara It Golf Course.
Along the way you will see the Fairy Tern sanctuary marked by the Department of Conservation. The Fairy Tern bird is a hidden treasure within the dunes and with approximately 40 birds left is an endangered and protected species and a real highlight to look out for during your walk. 2 hours
Te Arai Reserve Walk
Only 7mins drive from Te Arai Lodge you will find the Te Arai Reserve Beach. From the beach car-park you can walk up the steep iconic ridge, taking a sharp right along a grassy track to the top of the climb and Trig.
Passing through native bush you will gradually head down into the pine forest on the other side to the equally beautiful Forestry Beach.
Make sure to keep your eyes open with spectacular views to be had at the top of the ridge out to the coast while hidden depressions south of the ridge hide special treasures, the remains of three freshwater sand lakes, only one of which has extensive open water.
There are several tracks and lookout points along the way. Make sure to visit the shell cove at Te Arai Point to collect a beautiful memento at the end of your walk or cool off with a swim in the crystal clear pacific ocean. 1-2 hours
Massage & Beauty Therapy
Our massage therapists take pride in providing an impeccable service with attentive detail and connection. To achieve a holistic approach to wellbeing, the team incorporate nature’s finest modalities and luxuries that emulate traditional practices of body therapies in combination with the latest techniques in therapeutic skincare.
They deliver exceptional therapies with uncompromised standards of luxury and results, drawing on vast experience in the industry, from super yachts to luxury spas and retreats, with an ongoing commitment to personal and professional growth and a genuine love and passion for their work.
Your treatments will be customised to create an experience that is unique to you. This ensures the delivery of optimal results and ultimate indulgence.
Each therapy performed embodies a collection of experiences designed to evoke the senses and create synergy between the mind, body and spirit and includes a thorough consultation to ensure the delivery of a results-targeted therapy and ultimate indulgence of the senses.
Yoga & Exercise Classes
Enjoy a Yoga or Exercise class taught by Lululemon Ambassador Doug Moores and world-class guest teachers. Classes can be catered to all level of abilities, whether you’re just starting out in yoga and getting back in shape or you are an experienced yogi or athlete.
The focus of our our classes is to align the body and mind and leave you feeling rejuvenated and energised. Classes can include hatha, yin or vinyasa yoga, Tai chi, Qi Gong, dynamic bodyweight and resistance exercises.
After class, you can enjoy an organic tea and treat in our beautiful studio over looking our salt water pool and podocarp forest for a truly transformative experience.
Beach Bike Riding
Ride the pristine Te Arai beach on our Trek fat tyre bikes. This is a truly unique experience riding along 11km of untouched golden sand beaches.
On your ride, you can climb the sand dunes, swim in the crystal clear ocean and explore the beautiful Mangawhai estuary often without another person in sight. This experience includes bike use, drop off and pick up from the beach, refreshments and snacks.
A sustained pest eradication programme over the past 15 years, together with the planting of over 4000 native shrubs, trees and plants, has transformed the surrounding landscape and the ancient podocarp forest into a haven for our native birds.
The lodge has been positioned to sit into the top of the ridge line giving a magnificent vantage point over the treetops and surrounding bush. The experience is like being up in the forest canopy with the birds.
Binoculars are available in each guest suite for guests’ use during their stay together with a New Zealand bird book to identify and to observe the birds in their natural environment.
Te Arai Lodge is a proud sponsor of NZ Forest & Bird www.forestandbird.org.nz with a percentage of our profits being donated annually to this iconic NZ institution. Some of our resident birds include:
- Kōtare (Kingfisher)
- Kererū (Wood Pigeon)
- Pīwakawaka (Fantail)
- NZ parakeet
Surfing & SUP
On its day Te Arai and Forestry Beach are two of New Zealand’s premier surf locations. There are several peaks to choose from along both beaches with both right and left-hander waves.
Te Arai and Forestry Beach are suitable for all levels of surfers. And there are several pods of local Bottlenose dolphins which often join the surfers and play in the waves which is a real highlight. Surf boards, SUP boards and surfing lessons can be arranged at an additional charge.
Te Arai Lodge is located 10 minutes drive from the Mangawhai Golf Club, one of NZ’s top 20 Championship Golf Courses, and 8 minutes drive from Tara Iti golf course, a spectacular Tom Doak designed private course ranked as 6th best in the world.
Other nearby courses included the spectacular seaside Waipu Golf Course and Omaha Golf Course, both of which are within a 40min drive from Te Arai Lodge.
All courses are kept in great condition throughout the year with superb sand based, free draining fairways, native flora and spectacular views. And with two other courses being built in Te Arai, it is fast becoming one of the great golfing destinations of the world.
There are also several other top integration golf courses within close driving distance or a short helicopter flight including one of New Zealand’s great links courses, Muriwai Golf Course, the only Alister Mackenzie golf course in New Zealand, Titirangi Golf Club, and the Jack Nicklaus designed Royal Auckland Golf Course are all only a 90 minute drive away.
Kauri Cliffs, currently ranked #37 in the world by Golf Digest, and another one of New Zealand’s most spectacular courses Carrington Golf Course, are both only a short helicopter ride away or 2 hours 30 mins and 3 hours drive away respectively.
Te Arai and the surrounding Mangawhai region offer world class gravel and road biking opportunities to push the pedals while enjoying our beautiful coastal environment and getting a whatever level of workout you’re looking for.
Mountain bikes and helmets are available to guests at no charge, with routes tailored to guests’ requirements and fitness levels.
From Te Arai Lodge there is one of the most scenic gravel rides you will find anywhere in the world. Riding the Te Arai ridge along old farming tracks and back roads you will encounter plenty of rolling Tuscan style country side, stunning views of the coastline and Tomarata lakes and plenty of undulation and exhilarating downhills.
The best part of the ride is you rarely see another car or person, however there are plenty of cows, birds and bees. For those who are keen there is an extra 5/10km that can be added on to the 20km loop that starts and finishes at Te Arai Lodge.
Alternatively you can try one of the gravel roads to Te Arai Point and if the tide is low come back along the beach to Pacific Rd (30km).
For a good workout get onto Lawrence Rd from the Kaiwaka/Mangawhai Rd, over Prichard and Ryan Road, over to Mangawhai Road and then take School Road onto gravel at Busbridge Road. and follow your nose north back to Mangawhai (48km).
Our favourite road ride is through the winding Whangaripo valley past olive orchards and rolling farm land up over the Tour De France level Matakana Hill and back. A solid 70km + loop with plenty of great views and one big hill that is sure to challenge even the most seasoned riders.
There is also the choice of half a dozen or more loops most with low traffic volumes if you stay away from State Highway 1. The Garbolino Rd. loop is a favourite, 17km with just a couple of good climbs.
If you are looking for something a bit more challenging try the Tomorata Valley loop with a good grunt up School Road (48km). If you like the coast head over to Waipu via Langs Beach, couple of good climbs each way but lots of flat riding (51km).
Experience world class sport fishing locations, modern boating, top of the line tackle and quality service and results with our friends Tony and Bea Orton from Offshore Adventures.
Tony and Bea been traveling and fishing the world’s greatest locations for over for nine years. They bring their world of expertise to one of their favourite fishing grounds, the stunning Mokohinau Islands located just 25 miles off the coast of Te Arai/Mangawhai Heads, New Zealand.
The Mokohinau Islands and surrounding area are a fishing paradise with a diverse and abundant fishery frequented by large marlin, kingfish, tuna, snapper and everything in-between.