1. Six generations of New Zealand farming history
The Gordon family has been farming Clifton Station in Te Awanga for more than 150 years, with Tom Gordon the sixth generation to tend the land. Two years ago, Tom and wife Lucia welcomed their first glamping guests and this year, opened their second luxury escape.
Set amongst 800 hectares of private coastal farmland, the Gordons’ glamping sites offer complete privacy and picturesque views of the Maraetotara river, forests and green countryside peppered with plantings of pine, poplar and Acacia trees.
Although only a short drive from Hastings and Napier, Clifton Glamping is a world away from city life. It’s the perfect five-star escape for singles and couples alike on one of New Zealand’s most historic working farms.
2. Resort-style indulgence
Clifton Glamping’s permanent structures are safari tents, imported from Holland and built by Tom. Broken into three distinct spaces – an entrance, the bedroom, and the deck and kitchen room – the tents are filled to the brim with treasures Lucia has collected on her travels or sourced from her sister’s homeware store. Decorated in a breezy resort style, there’s a lovely marriage of old and new, the décor punctuated with historic items from the farm’s early days.
The main room is devoted to the super-king-sized bed with lounging chairs and a cosy wood fire for colder nights. Outside there is a large deck with a dining area, and a gourmet cook’s kitchen complete with herb garden. Close to the tent is a bathroom, outdoor shower and bath.
3. Al fresco bathing a design success
Bathing at Clifton is an unforgettable experience. The large bath sits proudly overlooking the land, private and discreet, with uninterrupted views under a bright starry sky not faded by city lights. The shower is equally as indulgent, with a thoughtful design enabling expansive views across the farm, river and sky.
4. A respect for the land
While Lucia gathers her gourmet treats, preserves and toiletries from local producers and the farm’s organic pastures, the practicalities of life are also considered, with mobile phone coverage and plenty of power points.
5. Delights aplenty in a relaxed seaside village
On Clifton’s doorstep is Te Awanga, home to top NZ wineries Clearview Estate and Elephant Hill. Next door is Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, designed by Tom Doak and named Best Golf Resort in Australasia by Golf Digest, while the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony is a short tractor-ride away.
Bikes are available to hire, with horse riding experiences and walking guides also on offer. For those needing to wind down, Lucia can arrange couples’ massages, catering or a private chef for in-tent dining. Every weekend, Tom and his father Angus hold sheepdog and shearing demonstrations in the historic Clifton Station woolshed, giving visitors a taste of New Zealand farming life.
This article was originally published in the November 2018 issue of SilverKris magazine