Canterbury is one of my favourite regions in New Zealand. Its beauty lies in its diversity of landscapes; from farms fringing the Pacific Ocean right through to snow-capped mountains.

One of the best places to appreciate this is a little-known off-grid cabin near Waimate, with views stretching from the coast right through to the hinterland.

The place

The Matchbox sits at the top of a hill on a family farm with sweeping coastal views.

It’s just 15 minutes from Waimate, and is reached on a farm road that weaves up to the cabin. It’s completely private, and your only neighbours will be Wiltshire sheep.

Brook Sabin/Stuff

The Matchbox has fantastic views for sunrise and sunset.

The space

The well-appointed cabin runs on solar power and is split into two sections. One ‘wing’ has a super-comfy bed with an indoor fireplace and a skylight, so you can stargaze from bed.

The other ‘wing’ has a luxurious shower – big enough for two – and a basic kitchen with a gas hob, a chilly bin fridge complete with cold packs and all the pots and pans you need for cooking. There is also a flush toilet – a luxury for an off-grid glamping escape.

Outside you’ll find the cabin’s highlight: a wood-fired hot tub with sweeping views of the farmland and coast below. It takes a couple of hours to heat up, so the only tip is to start the fire around lunchtime, so you can enjoy it during the evening. On a clear night, it’s the perfect place for stargazing.

The wood-fired hot tub is the highlight of the escape.

Brook Sabin/Stuff

The wood-fired hot tub is the highlight of the escape.


While getting off-grid and unwinding without technology is attractive for some, others love a bit of entertainment in the form of catching up on their favourite shows.

We tested Samsung’s portable projector known as The Freestyle, which turns virtually any room into a cinema – even an off-grid glamping escape. You can buy a battery base for it, meaning you can use it even when there’s no mains power around.

Connecting it to our phone was easy, and it can project onto almost any surface – like a wall or ceiling. It’s particularly handy for those rainy days off-grid.

We found The Freestyle Projector lots of fun at night.

Brook Sabin/Stuff

We found The Freestyle Projector lots of fun at night.

Worth stepping out for

The quirky tiny town of Waimate is just 15 minutes away. Aside from walks, bike trails and lots of great eateries, it’s also the wallaby capital of New Zealand. While these Australian critters are considered pests in Aotearoa, and are regularly culled, you can visit them for free at an enclosure at Victoria Park – kids will love it.

While restaurants are a short drive away, the owners of the property also run a ‘farm to plate’ butchery, and you can order a pack of supplies to be ready when you arrive, which is highly recommended.

The verdict

The Matchbox is home to one of Canterbury’s best hot tubs – if you’re in need of a secluded place to unwind, this is a great contender.

The Matchbox sits in a secluded part of a farm.

Brook Sabin/Stuff

The Matchbox sits in a secluded part of a farm.


Getting there: The Matchbox is located 15 minutes from Waimate, 3.5 hours from Queenstown, 2 hours from Dunedin and 2 hours and 40 mins from Christchurch. Air New Zealand and Jetstar fly to Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch. See: or

Staying there: The Matchbox starts from $290 a night, and sleeps two adults. Trundle beds can accommodate two children. See:

Carbon footprint: Flying generates carbon emissions. To reduce your impact, consider other ways of travelling, amalgamate your trips, and when you need to fly, consider offsetting emissions.

Freestyle Projector: The Freestyle Projector starts from $1699.95. See:

The author’s trip was supported by Samsung.

published 2023-03-26 02:53:02