Underhill Valley Earth House
Maybe you've just completed a North Island tour of the magical Hobbiton movie set or Waitomo glow worm caves - or maybe you just want to escape the modern world for a bit. In either case - we have just the thing...
Step out of the hustle and bustle of your real life, and straight into a fairytale, with a stay at the enchanting Underhill Valley. Built into the hillside, this hobbit-style house has been beautifully hand crafted with rustic native timbers and ironwork, to create a sustainable and authentic space. Created over 15 years ago, Underhill has remained a closely guarded family secret - until now.
Underhill Valley is the perfect, romantic, glamping retreat for couples. Huge timber doors open wide to overlook a picturesque pond and farmland beyond. You’ll enjoy the warmth and ambience of an old coal range... the soft glow of candlelight... a glass of wine on a seat by the pond, under the stars. Or just snuggle into the luxurious, specially shaped bed - with pure cotton linen, comfy pillows and thick, wool duvet.
Underhill is a truly special place to unwind, switch off and reconnect. So... treat yourself. Immerse yourself in the stillness and peace of Underhill Valley and take some time to fully enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
Maunga Iti, Tutukaka Coast
Maunga Iti, meaning 'little hills' in Maori, is a large bush block just inland from the stunning Tutukaka coastline. At an easy 2 1/4 hour drive from Auckland, this delectable slice of kiwi paradise makes the perfect escape for weary city folk looking to recharge and relax. Perfect for couples, the luxury tent sits on a hill with a dreamy view overlooking bush and ocean. Self-cater or really spoil yourselves with Ira's home cooked meals made to order.
Highfield Forest Retreat, Kauri Coast
The campsite at Highfield Forest Retreat is set in a dappled glade, in mature native forest on the edge of Highfield Farm. The site features a luxury tent, beautiful kauri hut and an outdoor bath in a rocky grotto, nestled amongst the bush and fern covered ground. Just 2.5 hours from Auckland, it makes a great weekend glamping escape.
Castaways, Karioitahi Beach
Castaways Resort is a spectacular coastal property in the South Western corner of Auckland, just 50 minutes drive from the CBD. Glamping at Castaways is the perfect couples escape. You'll instantly unwind in this truly restful and romantic spot. With your gourmet dinner and breakfast included in the package, all you need to think about is getting yourself there - the rest is taken care of.
Wharakawa Farm, Coromandel
Wharakawa Farm is about 15 mins from the popular summer, seaside town of Whangamata in the Coromandel. The Shepherd's Hut sits on a majestic headland, overlooking absolutely stunning ocean views. Surrounded by pohutukawas and with a private ocean cove just a short walk from the hut door, Wharakawa Farm is the perfect city escape.
Top Hut, Coromandel
Top Hut is situated on a remote bush block on the Coromandel Peninsula. The luxurious one room tree top hut is a complete escape from everyday life. Relax and soak up the serenity in this tranquil place, with long evenings out on the hut deck, toasting marshmallows on the chiminea under twinkling vintage string lights.
Built into the hillside on a beautifully landscaped corner of the farm, this unique hobbit-style house has been a family secret for 15 years. The ambience of candle-light, the warmth of a coal range fire and hand crafted native timbers, offer guests a rustic, cosy and tranquil escape from the modern world.
Chattan Farm, Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty
Chattan Farm is a serene and peaceful haven. 300 hectares of native bush with multiple marked and mapped tracks, make this a walkers or riders paradise. (Chattan Farm welcomes riders and their horses too!) Nearly predator-free, bird life thrives and glampers will awake in their luxurious canvas tent - to the sound of a heavenly dawn chorus.
Maggie the Caravan, Ohiwa Beach
Bay of Plenty
Maggie is our beautifully decorated, roomy and comfortable 1972 Crusader caravan. And she's available to rent at the iconic Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park, 35 minutes from the Bay of Plenty summer hub, Ohope. Just pack like you're going on a beach bach holiday - all the camping gear you need for a comfortable camping holiday is provided.
Tuki Tuki Valley, Hawke's Bay
A stay at Tuki Tuki Valley, in the Hawke's Bay gives you the best of both worlds... You'll feel immersed in the peace of the countryside, while just being a few minutes from vineyards, cafes and the charming town of Havelock North. The campsite is ideal for a couple or family. And, there's no need to leave your furry family member at home - dogs are welcome too!
Birch Hill, Central Hawke's Bay
Birch Hill Station is the quintessential Central Hawkes Bay sheep and beef farm. Accessible to both Auckland and Wellington - it's perfectly situated for groups of families or friends to gather for a country escape. The campsite consists of three luxury tents and a fantastic fully enclosed kitchen and camp lounge.
Ridge Top Farm, Manawatu
Glamping at Ridge Top Farm will give you a chance to experience rural NZ like never before. Try some clay bird shooting, take the kids to feed the chooks, do the marked tramp over farmland with sensational views, and relax around the campfire with a glass of wine at the end of it all.
Kapiti Island is a bird and nature lovers paradise. Whether local or visiting from overseas, seeing native birds and kiwi in their natural habitat, is an experience not to be missed. The luxury tent is located near the Kapiti Island Lodge, surrounded by nature. Delicious meals are included in the overall package for your stay, as well as all ferries, DOC permits, and a fantastic night kiwi-spotting walk with an experienced guide.
River's Edge Retreat, Martinborough
Just 10 minutes from popular Wairarapa holiday town, Martinborough, River's Edge makes the ideal place for a couples escape. The luxury tent is set on the edge of a quiet, tree-lined river that runs through a pretty farm property. The front of the tent has a large glass door frontage, which offers a beautiful river-side view.
Fossickers Hut, Marlborough
Fossickers Hut is situated near small, historic, gold-mining town, Canvastown, on the main route to Nelson from either Picton or Blenhiem. The pioneer-style hut is tucked into native bush, perched on a bluff above the serene Wakamarina River. An old coal range in the lean-to kitchen, and outdoor, fire-heated bath, add to the historic vibe.
Kissing Gate, Nelson
Kissing Gate is nestled on a 7 acre farmlet, set amongst a glade beside a pond, surrounded by peaceful countryside. Based in the beautiful Mapua district, its just 30 minutes from the centre of Nelson and 16 minutes to Motueka. The campsite is made up of two vintage caravans, Ruby and Pearl, and a luxurious camp bathroom and kitchen.
Hurunui Jacks, West Coast
Hurunui Jacks is a magical property on the South Island's West Coast. Surrounded by virgin native bush and bordering the pretty Kaniere River, glampers will find plenty to do and see. Go trout fishing on the lake, enjoy some delicious whitebait fritters - and savour absolute peace in an outdoor bath under the stars. Hurunui Jacks is situated right on the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail.
The Hexagon, West Coast
The Hexagon is an off-the-grid rustic hut, originally built by an astrologer over 30 years ago. Native timber planks line the walls and ceiling and hand-made stained glass windows offer stunning views of the ocean, coastline and bush surrounds. Just 10 minutes from the famous 'Pancake Rocks', The Hexagon is the perfect place to stop and rest on your way up or down the wild West Coast.
Camp Kekerengu, Kaikoura Coast
Camp Kekerengu is set on the majestic Kaikoura Coast, sheep and beef farm, Ngaio Downs. Situated three hours from Christchurch, half way between Blenheim and Kaikoura, you'll feel a million miles from anywhere as you gaze out to the ocean from your luxury tent. With three large tents, sleeping up to 11, this is the perfect campsite for groups.
The wagon of WagonStays is tucked into a secluded corner of a 90 acre farm, 30 minutes from Christchurch. Built in 2005 as a flight of fancy by a design engineer, it's a stunning recreation of an old western style wagon, complete with beautiful hand-crafted timber detail. With breakfast included in the cost of your stay, and home cooked meals on request, the wagon is a truly luxurious glamping experience, perfect for couples.
Lavericks Bay, Banks Peninsula
With the luxury campsite a 15 min walk down to a beautiful secluded beach, glamping at Lavericks Bay in the Banks Peninsula is something pretty special. Enjoy long, warm days swimming and playing in the soft sand on the safe beach. Bring your bikes and explore the farm tracks or take your kayak out for an afternoon... all followed up by a hearty camp cook-up at the end of the day.
Check Availability and Book - Underhill, Waikato
A 10% deposit is charged during the booking process. The deposit is non-refundable, however it can be transferred to another booking made within a 12 month period, if your stay is cancelled more than 3 weeks prior to your arrival.
Rates and Extras
Underhill is open year round and can accommodate a maximum of two people. A 2 night minimum stay applies to public holiday weekends. Multi-night discounts are applied automatically during the booking process.
Peak Season (1 December - 28 February):
Standard nightly rate - $345 per night
Stay 2 nights, pay $310.50 per night (10% discount)
Stay 3 nights or more, pay $276 per night (20% discount)
Off Peak Season (1 March - 30 November):
Standard nightly rate - $325 per night
Stay 2 nights, pay $292.50 per night (10% discount)
Stay 3 nights or more, pay $260 per night (20% discount)
HOW TO BOOK AND PAY
The quickest way to check availability and book is by using our online booking calendar. This is always up to date. Find the date that suits you, click on it, select the number of people and nights you want, and then hit next. You'll be taken through the booking process in a few easy steps.
During the booking process, you’ll be asked to pay a 10% non-refundable deposit via Paypal to secure your booking. Once you've completed the booking process and Paypal deposit payment, you'll receive a confirmation email. This explains how to pay the remainder of your balance, which is due 4 weeks prior to your arrival date. If you’ve booked within this timeframe, the full balance will be due straight away. We’ll provide bank account details for payment by Internet Banking deposit, and we also provide a secure link so you can opt to pay by credit card. Credit card payments incur a $10 surcharge.
Give the gift of glamping! Gift Vouchers are available for Underhill or any Canopy Camping Escapes glamping site. These are provided in electronic format, for you to print out and pop in a greeting card for the lucky recipient. Read more about our gift vouchers, including how to purchase one, here.
Due to the pond on the property, Underhill is an adults and couples only campsite. If you're looking for a safe and family friendly glamping site, check out some of our other glamping sites that are super safe and fun for kids.
When you arrive you'll park your car at the homestead, and your hosts will take you and your luggage down to Underhill via quad bike. If you need to return to your car throughout your stay, you can either take the short walk up to your car or just give your hosts a call, and they will bring the bike down to pick you up.
CHECK IN & OUT
- Check in is between 2pm – 6pm.
- Check out is by 11am on the day of departure.
Underhill Valley is completely off-grid, so there is no power source, however you will have mobile phone reception.
Warm in winter and cool in summer, the hillside house enjoys a year round natural temperature of 16 degrees Celsius. A coal range provides extra warmth.
Underhill has a unique ‘wash cave’ with a vanity and shower with gas heated hot water and a clean & pleasant composting toilet within a handy distance from the accommodation.
Underhill has everything you need for self-catering:
- All the utensils and implements you need for cooking.
- An old-style coal range providing heating & cooking facilities inside and a wood burning bbq providing an outside cooking option.
- A portable gas ring for quick cups of tea etc.
- Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar, milk, oil, salt pepper, dishwashing liquid.
- Filtered water.
- A chilly box for cold food storage, and hosts will replace ice packs daily if required.
- 100% cotton, top quality New Zealand-made linen by homeware brand, Gorgi
- Wool duvet and underlay
- Plenty of extra blankets
- Towels and wash cloths.
WHAT TO BRING
- Food and drink if you choose to self-cater
- Warm clothing in winter – especially if you want to soak up the evening stars
- Insect repellent and sunscreen.
This is a working farm, so for the safety of all concerned it’s very important to follow the safety guidelines and terms that you’ll find in our booking terms and in the Information Pack found in your accommodation. These terms and guidelines include:
- Visitors to the farm stay at their own risk, this is a working farm with hazards both farm related (ie. machinery and animals) and natural (ie. Ongaonga/stinging nettle)
- Leave gates as you find them
- Animals are unpredicatable - best to avoid them
- Extreme caution driving in and out of the property
- There are specific water hazards on the property - for example, the pond, water troughs and streams
- For your own safety please do not touch any farm machinery, and do not enter the woolshed or other buildings on the property.
Underhill is located a short distance from Hamilton City, in the heart of the Waikato. It's a pleasant 45 minute drive from Matamata, home of 'Hobbiton', making it the ideal overnight stay after your Hobbiton tour, and the amazing Waitomo glow worm caves are about a 1 hour car journey away.
Directions for getting to Underhill are provided in the confirmation email you receive once you've booked your stay (right at the bottom after the payment information) and also in a pre-stay email we send you four days prior to your arrival.
Eating and Drinking
Bring your own food and have a truly unique experience cooking with the old coal range. Or enjoy a peaceful wood burning bbq outside. You'll find a kitchen stocked with all the cutlery, crockery, pots and pans that you'll need.
We also have a portable gas ring, if you are just wanting a quick cup of tea.
The closest supermarket is located a five minute drive from the homestead. Make sure you stock up before you get here so you don't have to worry about food for the duration of your stay!
Things To Do
Make the most of Underhill's peaceful surrounds by taking the time to just chill out and relax.
- Bring a good book to read under a tree, or snuggled up in front of the coal range.
- Bring your favourite board game and slog it out over a game of scrabble or Monopoly.
- Enjoy a relaxing game of petanque across the pond.
There's plenty to see and do in the local area including:
- The set of 'Hobbiton' (as seen in films The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings) in Matamata - a pleasant 45 minute drive.
- The amazing Waitomo Glow Worm Caves - a one hour drive.
- The arty West Coast town of Raglan with it's black sand beaches - about a half hour drive.
Underhill Valley is set on a small family farm just outside of Hamilton, owned by Jessie and Craig Moon and their two girls, Paige and Piper.
Underhill is the realised dream of Graham Hannah, Jessie's dad, who built the incredible cave as a haven for his family and children. He was inspired by his travels around the world and the different dwellings he encountered along the way. If you'd like to watch a short video documentary on Underhill, you can do so right here.
Jessie and Craig will welcome you onto the property and brief you on all the ins and outs of Underhill.
1. Booking and payments
1.1 The dates of your booking will be held upon payment of a non-refundable deposit of 10%.
1.2 On receipt of the deposit, an email will be sent to you within 24 hours confirming both the payment and your booking details.
1.3 Full balance payment will be due 4 weeks in advance of your arrival date and an email reminder will be sent to you 3 days prior to this date, where applicable. Any booking made less than 4 weeks in advance of your arrival date must be paid in full immediately.
1.4 If you are unable to pay the balance before the stated due date, you will forfeit your deposit and your booking will be cancelled.
2. Cancellation and severe weather warnings
2.1 Some campsites may have limitations due to weather. If severe weather is forecast we will call you as soon as possible prior to your scheduled arrival date to advise you and cancel your booking. You can choose whether to defer your holiday to a later date subject to availability or receive a full refund.
2.2 Your 10% deposit is non-refundable, however it can be transferred to another booking made within a 12 month period, if your stay is cancelled more than 3 weeks prior to your arrival.
2.3 Cancellation by you within 4-21 days of your arrival date will result in 50% of the total cost of your stay being charged. Cancellation within 3 days of your arrival date will result in 100% of the total cost of your stay being charged.
3. Safety and Hazards
3.1 Campsites are often situated on working farms and there are hazards both natural and man-made. You accept that you enter the property at your own risk to participate in a glamping holiday.
3.2 Participation in activities such as, outdoor baths, climbing trees, walking on the property and any other activity on the property is the responsibility of the Guest and is done so at their own risk.
3.3 Canopy Camping Escapes accept no liability for accident, loss of property or personal injury whilst on your stay.
No pets allowed. Campsites are often situated on working farms, and therefore are not suitable for visiting pets.
GST of 15% (where applicable) is included in the daily per night cost. A GST invoice will be supplied if requested.
6. The Holiday – Guest Conditions of occupancy and Conduct
6.1 The Guests have the right to occupy the Property for the paid holiday period only.
6.2 Guests are required to observe the rules and familiarise themselves with the procedures contained in the information folder provided in the tent.
6.3 Guests shall take all reasonable and proper care of the property and its furniture, fittings and effects in or on the property and leave them in the same state of repair, condition, cleanliness and tidiness as at the commencement of the rental period.
6.4 Guests are required to inform the owner of any damage or breakage in or around the property promptly so that it can be repaired and replaced for the next guests. Guests are bound to reimburse the owners for replacement, repair or extra cleaning costs where reasonably demanded by the owners for damage caused by the guests.
6.5 Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the property.
6.6 Guests undertake to behave in a proper, appropriate and legal manner with due respect to the Owner, the Property and other guests and their property. If any guest behaves inappropriately or improperly (of which the Owner will be the final judge on their Property), or illegally, the Owner reserves the right to ask the guest and their party (at their discretion) to leave the Property before the end of the holiday period. Any refund for so doing will be at the entire discretion of the Owner in consulation with Canopy Camping Escapes.
13. Authority to Sign
The person who completes the Booking Form certifies that: he or she is authorised to agree the Booking Conditions on behalf of all persons included in the Booking Form, including those substituted or added at a later date; the signatory is over eighteen years of age; they agree to take responsibility for the party occupying the Property, and to notify Canopy Camping Escapes if they are not a member of the holiday party.
Comments from our guests
The guest comments we publish on this page come from a feedback survey that we send every guest after their stay at Underhill. We publish these comments verbatim.
"Wonderful place to stay and get away from it all."
(26 April 2016)
"Underhill is such a cute, idyllic and unique experience. We loved the outdoor bath to have a glass of bubbles and look at the stars by candle light very romantic! The showerhouse was really amazing as well."
Katie Beswick (7 February 2016)
"We had a great, relaxing time away at underhill."
Lynette & Antoni (1 February 2016)
"We had a wonderful night at Underhill - it's a unique experience which combines the feeling of simple rustic living with all modern comforts, including a hot bath under the stars - amazing!"
Joanna Joseph (1 February 2016)
"Underhill is a unique experience that I would highly recommend. A great slice of paradise that can be enjoyed by any and everyone."
Harry Howard (26 January 2016)
"A truly unique experience of living basic but with some little luxuries in a 'Hobbit house'."
Baz (23 December 2016)
"We loved our stay at Underhill. Such a beautiful, unique, romantic way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Highly recommend!"
Crystal McKoy (20 April 2014)
"Awesome, Awesome, Awesome experience!!!!! So relaxing and unique. I want one myself!"
Daniel (26 March 2014)
"We loved every minute of our stay. Underhill is such a unique place.The food was excellent and sleeping with the doors wide open was just fantastic. Thanks for a great time! We hope to be back one day."
Viv and Ursula (20 March 2014)
"Underhill was an amazing place to stay to really disconnect with the world and truly get away from it all. An amazing and magical place that I would definitely love to return to."
Julia (18 March 2014)
"Lovely spot with unique accommodation and superb food."
Mandy (2 March 2014)
"A PERFECT place for a quiet break . You will return home feeling refreshed and inspired."
Sue Darragh (26 February 2014)
"An amazingly romantic and relaxing experience. We loved it so much and can't wait to go back again."
Sara Purkiss (14 February 2014)
"A unique experience that starts before you arrive with the quad bike ride! The property is very private and has a great feeling of seclusion. The shower cave is brilliant and we would love to return again in the future. Relaxed hosts add to the experience."
Ollie, Kate, and Freya Michell (12 February 2014)
We love this poem by Rachel Judd, a recent guest at Underhill...
Underhill, beside the pond
Over the hills, away, beyond
Where you can go and can be
In peaceful, quiet serenity
Where birds do sing and a frog will croak
Creative whims you can evoke
Where you can sit and gaze for hours
Enjoy the view or paint the flowers
Enjoy a simple way of life
Eliminate the clutter of trife
Where hands have toiled for your pleasure
You'll find ways to use your leisure
Climb upon the roof and see
True Kiwi ingenuity
Or sit around the old wood fire
Where you can dream to your heart's desire
Alone and with your thoughts you'll find
Another way, a different kind
A slice of heaven you'll discover
An idyll, where you can recover
You'll be refreshed, you will fulfill
When you are at Underhill
"Thank you Jessie & Craig. The poem says it all. What a creative, wonderful place. We want to share it!"
Rachel & Graham Judd - Auckland (11 January 2014)
"I was looking for a place with the "WOW" factor for my husbands 50th celebrations, I couldn't have found abetter place than Underhill - it ticked all the boxes. I'm a candle addict - this was an aladins cave. For him - he loved it. Fabulous place, lovely and relaxing, great to getaway from the 'real' world."
Sandra & Alistar - Pirongia (5 January 2014)
"It's rare to find somewhere so unique and personal that is also a place where people can come and stay. The love and effort that you have obviously put into the place really shows, and has added a lot to the pleasure of our stay. It's a long way from England to NZ but we'll certainly be saying to all our friends who come that they should come here! People often have dreams and fantasies, but rarely do they execute them with such integrity and success. Very impressive."
Binny, Stuart, Rufus & Quentin - England (21 December 2013)
"Underhill more than lived up to its reputation as a romantic glamping retreat. We had a really lovely, relaxing evening - cooking the amazing dinner (prepared by host Jessie so all we had to do was light the BBQ and cook it!), and drinking wine under the stars. The cave is very cosy and candlelight makes it look even more special, and the bath cave is excellent - plenty of hot water! Definitely recommend Underhill for couples looking for a relaxing short break."
Layla and Adam (11 November 2013)
"The instant we found out about Underhill we booked in immediately. While enjoying our visit we have now decided to build a retirement cave on our property, we loved it here so much. We are still 20 years away from retirement age and figure we should almost get it built in time. The only negative we have about our stay is that we didn't book for 2 nights! We enjoyed a beverage on each of the cozy seating areas around the property before darkness fell and then soaked up the warm candlelight and snug fire for the remaining evening. A hot shower by candle lamp was a treat, as were the complimentary nibbles and wine left by the wonderfully accommodating hosts. We will not hesitate to recommend Underhill to everyone we know and meet and I am positive we will return. I celebrated my birthday here last night and cannot think of anything I'd rather do, so likely to be back, a year today. It will be a two night stop for sure and we are considering making a yearly tradition of our visit. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing this special little segment of middle earth with us! Aroha"
Ronnie & Jeyy James (12 October 2013)
"Jessie, Thankyou for being a great host, this place is everything I dream about, it's magic, I could live here forever! Finding it hard to leave this morning, but I will be back but will bring my two sisters with me so they can enjoy this lovely spot. Only one thing missing is an outdoor bath, would be nice to finish off the day with a glass of wine in a bath looking at the stars. But really enjoyed my stay, have taken so many photos to show everyone. All the best until we meet again."
Linda Rosser (2 October 2013)
"Thank you so much that we could stay at this wonderful place. Its a real Hobbit-Cave and its a perfect place to stay after the Lord of The Rings tour in Matamata. Thank you!!"
Claudia & Thomas (18 September 2013)
"What an enchanting, delightful secret escape. We so enjoyed this unique getaway to celebrate our anniversary. Your food is delicious, loved the fennel flavour in the roast vege! We will let our friends and family know about your very special place..."
Achusla and Andrew (8 September 2013)
"Thank you so much for our unique stay! It was definitely a lovely break from the rush of life and was a great opportunity to reconnect. Your home cooked meals were to die for, and were definitely worth including. Even with the rain, it was a great stay! We will be sending family this way soon. Great prezzie for my mums 50th I think!"
Monica and Kain (28 August 2013)
"Best romantic get-away in NZ....Maybe the whole World!"
Natalia, Australia (25 August 2013)
"This has been the most unique accommodation experience! Love the serenity & tranquility of this place. It is like a time machine taking us back to medieval living. We will certainly be telling our friends back home about our fond memories here. We hope to be back again soon!"
Jonathan & Anthony, Singapore (14 August 2013)
"Thank you so much for sharing this special place with us. The peaceful surroundings were tranquil & relaxing. We could have been anywhere in the world. We particularly enjoyed the 'self-sufficiency' in learning the coal, satisfied with our achievements by preparing a delicious breakfast. As wonderful hosts, you ensured we were well catered for & left us to our own devices. The meals were wholesome & tasty straight from your kitchen. A magical place, we will be back."
Robyn & Pete, Hamilton (11 August 2013)
"Thank you so much for a really wonderful anniversary weekend at Underhill. We couldn't have picked a more peaceful and romantic place to spend a few days. You've been fantastic hosts and we'd absolutely love to come back again in the future. Breakfast was delicious & plentiful. We really couldn't have asked for more!"
Amy, Sam & Baby Finley, Auckland (7 July 2013)