On our honeymoon about 5 years ago, we spent 6 weeks travelling around New Zealand by car. Although we booked some of our hotels ahead of time, the most charming place we stayed was found by chance.
We drove into Nelson, (North of South Island, and said to be the artists town of NZ) late in the night, and after spending the evening at a pretty dreadful motel, explored the city in hopes to find something befitting to a honeymoon.
We walked into a potter’s shop, and after chatting to the proprietor (whom we fondly called the “Happy Potter”), found out that he was renting out a few cottages around the corner from his shop, in historic “South Street”, which was the oldest preserved precinct in New Zealand.
Without a deposit, credit card details or anything to speak of, he cheerfully gave us the keys to “Briar Cottage”- which turned out to be absolutely perfect.
Built in 1864 and obviously renovated with a lot of care, the cottage was incredibly cosy, with a kitchen stocked with delicious breakfast essentials (homemede marmalade, butter, cheese etc), and the bedrooms had fluffy pillows and huge soft duvets. There was a cd player and an assortment of music to choose from (big band jazz- my favourite!), as well as a washer/dryer.
My favourite part however, were the french doors that led to a good-sized garden with a paved seating area. We did a shop at the local market and ate all our meals in, by the fireplace or under the stars in honeymoon-induced bliss.