Cheryl and Te Taki are using the Tiny House Kit to power their glamping business in the Waikato! We visited them to chat about how it's going for them, as well as their whole off grid journey!
It seems like it's the new Kiwi dream to find your own slice of paradise and live off the land. Even better when you can make it a business. That's what our next group of off gridders have done by building their own luxurious glamping business. Let's go check it out.
"Hi, Cheryl." Hi, Craig, welcome to Orchard Valley. Would you like to come have a look around? "Love to."
Well, we're Cheryl and Te Taki obviously and we're both from the King Country and we went away and now we've come back again. Four years ago, we moved back with our family. We've got four kids up at the house. This awesome opportunity came up– Te Taki's auntie and uncle offered to sell us their runoff
block and we were looking at the time we quit our jobs in Cambridge. We were looking for somewhere just to be a bit more on with the kids and we were just going to move in with my parents until we found somewhere and then they gave us a phone call one day where they were saying yeah we'd love to sell to you guys if you're interested.
So this is our tent that we have we just love it came from exclusive tents over in South Africa. It's a lot more spacious than people probably expect. So you can see here we come in and here's our main lounge room and we've got a lovely large coffee table with our button back couch. And then I love the centerpiece at the back with all the books, our library and all the board games there as well.
So, when we came to this place, because it's not all flat, to farm or make money conventionally, it was quite hard to be profitable. So, we really needed another way of utilizing the land that we have to make an income to allow us to have the lifestyle that we have. We were at the field days a few years ago and saw the safari tents and we thought, oh, these are neat and then, yeah, we were just having that ongoing conversation about, you know, what animals and what different businesses we could look into and then, there was an article on stuff about how lots of lifestyle block owners were setting up accommodation or glamping sites and that we thought oh well I thought oh what a fun idea.
And then over on this side we've got our main four poster bed. "Oh that's nice. I like that." Yeah we love it. We think it's beautiful. And did you notice as well the lampshades? So in here the solar does the three main lights. "The lampshades are cool because it covers up the LED lights." That's right yeah, absolutely.
So we chose to have solar at the glamp site because we definitely wanted some of the luxury amenities of home. We looked at all the options of what we could use for that. But the mains was just too expensive, like, far too expensive to get down here. And what a drama to do that as well. But we'd also had a few power cuts as well. We had a run of power cuts and we don't want that happening down here. I think partly as well is that you know we didn't want it to be, right, you can plug everything in and have a hair dryer and watch TV. You know we still wanted to be unplugged, but still you can charge your phone. And have a fridge (laughs). Yeah.
"And your fireplace down here? Yeah so this is our EcoSmart Fire from Naked Flame, it's really great. It did such a great job of heating in winter. We weren't convinced it would definitely do a great job, but it turned up and it heats it up within 20 minutes or so, it's amazing. Yeah we're so pleased with it. Yeah that's been so good, definitely recommend those.
So, here at Orchard Valley, there's plenty to do right here. We've got the tent, it's such a beautiful spot to hang out in even in the rain. There's board games. There's tons of books to read. There's a lovely indoor burner to sit next to in the evenings and then we also have a little burner down the bottom there for toasting s'mores in the evenings. We got a wood burner hot tub over there. And if you want to feed the animals on the farm as well there's the opportunity. Yeah some people ask if they can come do that, eh? So come to the morning chores with us if you want. Yeah you love when people do that.
And then over here we have a second queen bed that's sort of our day bed so you can just use it as a day bed or if you've got extra family or friends that want to come stay as well. We have a maximum of four people in the tent, but as you can see there's plenty of room for four people. And both these beds have incredible views out onto the orchard. Out onto the pond onto the orchard.
So we found many things quite challenging like just with the farming and the glamping side of stuff. Things take a lot longer, like, originally this was going to take three months and it ended up taking nine months. Plus some probably. If we knew before we started how much it was going to cost, how long it was going to take, and how hard it was going to be we probably wouldn't have done it. But, being on the other side of it, I fully would recommend it to everyone just to do it. If you've got an idea, just do it.
Absolutely exciting moments that we had for the glampsite at the start was just finishing and opening up. Yeah. That was just really exciting and then having people come and just love it and thanking us for opening it up. I guess when you're starting to make money and starting to be able to pay off some of the debt that you've incurred with your projects is quite exciting. Seeing the projection coming up. And otherwise being on the farm definitely the highlights are the sunrises in the morning. I just love sitting with the kids having breakfast outside. Just seeing the excitement of the kids, you know, finding the fruit on the trees or and finding the different bugs in the forest. All the new animals being born.
So this is our bathroom, come have a peek in here. "Beautiful bath!" Oh yeah we love that too and got the nice big rain head and the telephone handles. And we love having all the candles in here as well so people can have a nice hot bath and relax with all the candles and it's very private on this side too so. Yeah, so you can actually have the curtains open. We love our little bathroom.
So, advice that we would give to others that we're wanting to, I guess, do something similar. Definitely do your research at the start because when it gets hard, and you think you might give up, hey, you want to know that yes, I definitely want to complete this project. If you're looking at solar, you just want to make sure that you've got room to move when you do that sort of stuff. Sometimes, you know, like spending a little bit more to get that extra safety is worth it in the long term.
Well, if anyone's looking for resources to use. YouTube's like your first port of call I reckon. Watched a few videos on regenerative farming especially with Joel Sullitan and Justin Rhodes. I guess what what's really helped us is that we've got family that are, that are really good farmers and these neighbours and friends and everyone's actually willing to help and I think that's the key thing is people actually want you to succeed so you just have to ask. If anyone wants to have a glamping chat, we're always up for a chat (laughs). Yeah, absolutely.
So, come on over this way. So, here we've got our covered dining area and obviously our kitchen. "Oh, that's flash." It's nice, eh? We got the unit from Early Settlers. Basically, in the kitchen, we've just got the bar fridge and then the sink and unit for storing all the cutlery and things. We always provide eggs and bread and a s'mores kit, milk and juice, you know, that type of thing. "And is that all the solar gear in that cupboard in behind you there? And the batteries underneath?" Yeah, that's right. All covered up in there.
So, we have installed our Tiny House kit– I don't know if you can see behind us, but there is a wee cupboard here on the wall and then just out the window the solar panels are on the hill just here behind us. I came across your website and thought 'Oh I love it!' it says DIY and it says everything's in the kit, so I just love that. I thought, 'Oh it's all set up beautifully and clear and we should be able to install it ourselves.' Oh I love it. Yeah. Sometimes I bring my stuff down here to charge instead of charging it up at the house– it's free power. But no, it works well, it does everything we want. I guess the most different thing that we've had plugged in down here was someone that needed a Cpap, yeah! They said most glamping places don't have electricity so they had picked ours so that they could plug in overnight, I thought, 'Oh that's really cool that they could still do that'.
So if we come over this way we've got our wood fired hot tub. "This is a luxury!" Oh it's it's so good. I think lighting the fire and setting it up is sort of half the fun as well, you know. Yeah, yeah! So you open all this up, you put in your little fire and this dampens down the fire and you, you put the wood down the chute once it's going. It works really well. It's beautiful sitting here with the stars and looking out over the pond and that's our neighbour's beautiful kiwi fruit orchard over there. And down the bottom there you can see we've got a little burner. We did have a nice big open fire pit, but obviously in the fire season, you can't have those big pits so we read that you could have the chimney as all year round so we went and got one of these. Perfect!
What do we love about this lifestyle? Everything! (laughs) We do some long hours, some really long hours, but, you can do those long hours with your best friend. The thing that I love the most is the family side of it. I just love that we look after this piece of property and we look after the plants, we look after the trees, we look after the animals, you know, we watch the sunrises in the morning. I just love doing things together and I love that we're close enough to town but yet we're rural. I just love having the space. I just love having the different things to explore with the children. It's really, yeah, our dream property.
"Wow, what an amazing place. And to think this whole glamping experience is running off one of our tiny house kits. Just goes to show what you can run off our small kits."