Luxury accommodation on the shores of a fishing pond could certainly be said to be angling for the title of perfect couple’s getaway.
Sonya and Mark Eckhold, who host the Take a Kid Fishing Day at their pond, in Gibson Rd, near Papakaio, will soon be offering two high-end chalets for two, on its waterfront.
High Tree Chalets was positioned at a spot on Eckholds Pond where friends would often come and stay with their caravans, Mrs Eckhold said.
‘‘They always said, ‘God this would be great for other people to be able come along and you know, do what they do’. So that’s sort of how we went about it — we thought, ‘Oh well, let’s give people the opportunity to come out’.’’
The project was a family affair.
Mr Eckhold enlisted the help of a couple of builder friends to help him construct the design his wife had created.
‘‘I came up with that, my husband curses me for that. You sort of see things, and then you sort of put it together.’’
Daughter, Casey, would manage the accommodation, and was in the process of helping to create the website. She and her partner, Bradley Sim, had their own business, CB
Contractors, but while Mr Sim was out operating a digger, she was mostly at home, she said.
‘‘So it’s something for me to do, while I’ve got the kids at home.’’
Miss Eckhold and Mr Sim lived at one end of the pond, with their two children Colton (4) and Isla (17 months), while her parents lived at the other. The chalets were in the middle.
‘‘I’m basically just running them for Mum and Dad. I live, like, 300 metres away from the chalets . . .so I’m going to be there doing all the behind-the-scenes stuff, which will be fun,’’ she said.
They planned to be taking bookings for the accommodation by June.
The process had taken about three years, and had not been helped along by Covid-19, but they just ‘‘went with it’’, Mrs Eckhold said.
‘‘That’s just what it was. We didn’t have a time thing, because, you know, that’s just the way the world goes at the moment.’’
The Eckholds had been dairy farming in the area, but sold their farm eight years ago, just keeping hold of the block where the pond was.
The best part of the process for Miss Eckhold so far had been working with her mother on the interior design of the chalets.
‘‘Me and Mum have had fun going around shopping.
‘‘It’s been good, it’s been tough though . . . [because] obviously with Covid, and ordering things, that was a bit of a nightmare, but designing the inside was definitely the most fun part of it.’’
The chalets had large water-facing windows, and the exteriors were a combination of Coloursteel and wood. Each chalet was at either end of a large deck, and had its own outdoor hot-tub.
Guests would have the option of wine platters, and breakfast hampers and there was a selection of restaurants within a short driving distance.
‘‘It’s great to share something that we’ve got,’’ Mrs Eckhold said.
They had no particular target market. Interest had come in from all around New Zealand, including from locals.
Although most of the building process was straightforward, the challenge now lay in all the work behind the scenes, such as preparing the website, Miss Eckhold said.
‘‘Getting set up, getting like the opening date set up — we’ve been pushed back month, by month, by month, so that was pretty hard.
‘‘But . . . everything went pretty smoothly otherwise.’’