Dateline January 24, 2015 – Bay of Islands – Swallow Ridge

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Beautiful Whangarei Falls on the way to the “Loops”

We drove out of Auckland the first thing Saturday morning traveling north on our way to our first golf adventure, our destination the Bay of Islands. This area of New Zealand is well known for the 144 islands, water sports and beaches. Of course going to the beach was not on our list but seeing beautiful scenery along the way was part of the plan. As we headed north about 2  hours later we arrived in Whangarei, where we stopped at the information center to get some ideas on what to visit.  The hostess suggested we go out on the “Loop” to Tutukaka ( try that a few times), then head on to Russell. After almost 2 hours of heading down the first loop we were back on the main road only about 10km further north of where we started the loop. Now heading towards Russell little did we that the second “Loop” would get us to Russell after 2 more hours of driving up and down high cliffs.  Finally arriving in Russell, a place for the rich and famous, it was too late to do anything and we still had over an hour to get to the B&B which was in Kerikeri.

Ferry to Kerikeri from Russell
Ferry to Kerikeri from Russell

The shortest route was by ferry so we headed to the ferry out of Russell to Kerikeri,  destination the Swallow Ridge Bed and Breakfast.

We were greeted by the owners Mike and Chris. There home was beautiful, views down to the bay of islands were spectacular. Mike and Chris moved to New Zealand from London about 7 years ago and built the home in 2009.  They kept their home in London, thinking that running a B&B would be an interesting hobby but if not they always return to London. They love living in Kerikeri and say they have more friends in New Zealand than they ever had in London so they now rent the house back in the UK and live full time in Kerikeri.  They were awarded a silver medal in the Master Builder  House of the Year for 2010. The B&B is well organized with the 2 large rooms for the guest at one end of the house with sliders outside to the views of the bay.   Sunrise from our room..WOW.



After breakfast we headed out for our golf adventure at Kauri Cliffs.  (link to blog post on Kauri Cliff)After golf we returned and settled in and enjoyed a few drinks.  Mike made us reservations at a local restaurant.  We enjoyed a great dinner and returned to Swallow Ridge for a good nights sleep.

Mike and Chris
Mike and Chris

Mike wears many hats with the maintenance of the home and also is the chef in the morning for breakfast.  Chris is not allowed in the kitchen when Mike is cooking!  She spends the early morning working on bookings.


They are very busy from December into April, with a full house most days.  Wonderful experience with a wonderful host couple.

If you come to New Zealand, a stay at Swallow Ridge should be in your plans.  If you plan to play golf at Kauri Cliffs, their B&B is a perfect place to stay!



  1. marty

    Did you get a chance to pick up/read Blue Latitudes? You will love reading about Captain Cook’s adventures where you are.
    Sounds like a great trip for you guys!
    Love, M & J

    1. John and Janice

      No, but will look for the book. Everything is going along well, seeing great sights. The locals are just wonderful.

  2. Thank you for your kind words. We enjoyed having you stay with us at “Swallows Ridge” and hope that we might meet up again some day. If any of your friends would like to stay please ask them to contact us direct we can give them a better deal, plus we can also get a discount for them if they want to play golf at Kauri Cliffs!

    Enjoy the rest of your NZ trip, lots of love to you all.
    Mike and Chris xxxx

    1. John and Janice

      Thanks for the note. We certainly will tell them. Janice when she has time will do the Trip Advisor post. It was such a pleasure to meet you both.

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