Glamping at Te Hapua in Te Horo is only an hour from Wellington and has the most important thing of all – privacy. Photo / Rosalie Willis

With just a handful of steps from the bed to the hot tub, a 700m walk from the private tent to the beach and only one piece of canvas between you and the birds, staying at Te Hapua Glamping in Te Horo is just that – glamorous camping.

Located just an hour from Wellington, escaping for the weekend never got so easy.

Forget struggling to put up the tent, walking to the toilets in pitch black and scrubbing the communal barbecue before making your dinner.

Te Hapua Glamping has everything you need within arm’s reach plus one of the rarest commodities these days – privacy.

The Meyer family. Photo / Dan Kerins
The Meyer family. Photo / Dan Kerins

Located in Te Horo on the 23-acre property, the Meyer family opened their two glamping sites, Te Hapua Wetlands and Te Hapua Coastal, two and a half years ago.

“What we’re doing is selling one of the last commodities available – privacy,” Te Hapua owner Charlie Meyer said.

“We’re selling the fact that no one knows you’re here.”

Opening in December of 2018, Charlie and Kelly Meyer created the glamping sites after selling their retail stores in Ōtaki and Masterton.

Both sites are tucked away on opposite ends of the property.

The coastal site which sleeps two is adorned with a luxurious four-poster bed, comfortable armchairs and a veranda overlooking coastal dunes and Kāpiti Island.

Inside the Te Hapua Wetlands glamping site. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Inside the Te Hapua Wetlands glamping site. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Sleeping up to five people, the wetlands site has a four-poster bed, a bunk room containing three single beds, lots of comfortable seating, a table big enough for a banquet meal and a spacious veranda perfect for overlooking the wetland wildlife in comfort.

Both have private hot tubs and outdoor fires.

“We can guarantee that you don’t see anyone if you don’t want to while you stay with us,” Charlie said.

“We meet and greet all our guests and show them around, and after that, they don’t see us unless they want to come and find us.”

Priced at the same price you would pay for a nice hotel in Wellington, Charlie believes the beauty of glamping is that you enjoy the space rather than just paying for somewhere to sleep.

“Here, you’re paying for a place you’re actually going to be at the whole time,” enjoying the hot tub, strolling around the wetlands and basking in the sinking sun, watching the sunset with the birds chirping around you.

“Most people come with plans to go out and explore around Kāpiti but they normally find they end up staying put.”

The view from the Te Hapua Wetlands tent. Photo / Rosalie Willis
The view from the Te Hapua Wetlands tent. Photo / Rosalie Willis

Built to last, both tents have bathrooms with a mains pressure shower and flushing toilets.

“We have 240V power, proper power which enables us to function all year round.”

Despite one thick canvas tent between you and the elements, when the shutters are closed they keep the warmth in, with heaters also inside the tents to keep you toasty and warm.

It’s proved a successful business model despite initial setup costs not being cheap.

After the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown from May 2020-May 2021 both sites were booked out with the exception of 13 nights.

With the majority of his market being millennials, Charlie’s theory is that glamping has been popularised by a generation of Kiwis who wanted to go camping as camping became less popular.

“I’ve listened to some podcasts and read about them [millennials].

“Their parents are of the generation where house prices started going up so both parents were working with only four weeks of holidays per year.

“They would go to the Gold Coast or Fiji, and the kids never got a camping experience.

“It’s still your Kiwi birthright to go camping and here it’s still one piece of canvas between you and the birds and everything else.”

Going from retail where everything would arrive on pallets wrapped in layers of plastic to planting 500-1000 trees per year on his property along the wetlands, the change in lifestyle has been satisfying for Charlie who has relished a chance to play his role in looking after the environment.

“When we put the tents up we were thinking about the lowest possible footprint for people to leave when they stay with us.

“I’ve got this theory that if everyone just looked after their own little chunk, if you win the individual battles that you’re doing, we’ll all win together.

“You can’t change the world, but you can change what you do.”

This article first appeared in the Celebrating Kāpiti magazine spring/summer 2021.

published 2021-11-28 09:53:28