Summer getaways are hard to beat, but they can also be fraught with stress.
Maybe you forgot the tent pegs, or your friend's cousin's wife decided they wanted to stay at the bach after all, or you spend 14 hours stuck in traffic on the long weekend.
Wairua Lodge hopes to come to the rescue with their City Escape Package, which is designed to take the stress out of a getaway - for those who can afford it.
You can start relaxing right this second, because after experiencing the package myself, I've got the whole weekend planned out for you.
5:00pm: Shoot off that last email, pop on your 'out of office' reply and grab your comically over-stuffed weekend bag, it's time to head to the ferry building. Let's be honest, you've been watching cat videos all afternoon anyway.
6.40pm: Board the Auckland-Coromandel ferry. Kick back with a wine, bust out a book or just breathe in the ocean air while the sun sets over the islands. Think of everyone else making a desperate break for a holiday, stuck in horrendous pre-weekend traffic jam. Smile smugly.
8.40pm: Arrive at Hannefords Wharf, Coromandel. One of Wairua Lodge's owners, Ernst, is waiting to provide a warm welcome, a ride to the lodge and many a good yarn during the 40 min journey. Hit the road - some of it gravel - before driving through a small but stunning river ford to access the lodge: a beacon of calm in the depths of the bush.
9.30pm: Meet Debbie, who will check you in, give you a tour, and even bring over a gorgeous breakfast tray for the next morning.
10.00pm: Don your robes and head straight for the Night Sky Spa, an outdoor hot tub perfectly positioned for stargazing. Soak away your worries while you gaze incredulously up at the constellations that wink down at you with breath-taking clarity. No light-pollution here, folks.
9:00am: Wake up to native bird song, taking time to stretch out luxuriously in the expansive bed and silky bedding, which reminds you, you've really got to get a better bed. The rooms aren't particularly spacious, so you'll want to set up your breakfast tray in the sun outside and fuel up on fresh fruit, home-baked bread, cold cuts, cheese and honey made on-site. Say 'hi' to the lodge's chooks, who often check in on the guests in the morning. Be sure to make up ridiculous names and backstories for each of them.
10.00am: Make your way into Whitianga for a trip to The Lost Spring, an almost magical geo-thermal oasis hidden in plain sight. Head down the fairly nondescript driveway for a Narnia-style reveal of cascading waterfalls, crystal grottos and sunlight-dappled hot pools. Pick your jaw up off the floor (which has gemstones imbedded in it), and explore the grounds before settling for a poolside pina colada and grazing platter.
Sure, the swing-bridge, smoking volcano and amethyst caves aren't exactly untouched nature; but the mineral-rich waters from an ancient spring 667m below Whitianga are totally legit, and glorious. The Lost Spring is an extra cost on top of what Wairua Lodge charges, but the attentive service on top of all the jealousy-inducing Instagram photos you'll snap make it well worth it.
2:00pm: Return to Wairua Lodge, having picked up some dinner ingredients and snacks from town. The lodge only provides breakfast, so self-catering supplies are a must, which can be a bit of a pain if you haven't planned for it.
Spend the afternoon exploring the stunning native bush trails around the property. Meander along the Waiatekatanga River, stopping to cool your heels at one of the sparkling azure watering holes. Take advantage of the various hammocks and deck chairs dotted around while submerging your bottle of rosé in the river bank to cool in the crisp water.
6:00pm: Utilise the communal kitchen and BBQ to whip up some dinner and enjoy it outside, taking in magnificent views of the ravine from the dining table on high. Be warned: should you really not want to cook dinner for yourself, no restaurants are within walking distance.
8:00pm: Don't even think about calling it a night now that the sun's down. There's a picturesque campfire to chat around and even glow-worms to discover in the forest.
9:00pm: Close out the evening with a nightcap in the candle-lit treetop bathhouse that looks out over the rainforest canopy. It's ridiculously romantic, and completely private - save for the occasional appearance of a voyeuristic possum, according to legend.
10:30am: Summon every second of your sleep-in abilities, knowing that your Monday morning alarm is now mere hours away. After breakfast, with that thought top of mind, go and find the double wooden hammock by the riverside, read, and have another nap.
1:00pm: Now more refreshed than ever, squeeze in a quick game of giant Jenga against a picturesque backdrop of native trees before heading into town, one last time. Get a bit overexcited and shatter the calm of the forest with your competitive screaming.
2:00pm: Lunch up a storm at one of the waterfront restaurants in Whitianga, just a 15-minute trip from the lodge. If you're keen to sample some local wine, go right ahead - Wairua offers a transfer to the ferry building.
4:30pm: Board the ferry back to Auckland, reluctantly, but feeling zen and content -especially as you'll be back in time for dinner. Make mental note that you might be thinking about food too much.
Monika experienced the weekend getaway courtesy of Wairua Lodge and The Lost Spring.