Once upon a time, kissing gates were found on the pathways between villages to prevent cows and sheep from wandering. These gates were shaped like a V, so only one person could go through at a time. When a young courting couple returned to one of their villages, the man would teasingly demand a kiss before allowing his female companion to pass through the gate back to her village. Hence, the ritual of the “kissing gate.”
Roger Waddell and Adele Smith decided to replicate the kissing gate on their property in Mapua, New Zealand. Located about 30 minutes from Nelson and 30 minutes from Abel Tasman National Park, they’ve created the perfect setup for those wanting an incredibly unique experience after the ferry crossing from the North to the South Island (or the other way around). Canopy Camping and Escapes directed us toward yet another beautiful property.
Walk through the “kissing gate” into your own bit of paradise. With wild mistletoe hanging above the Gate itself, be sure to give your loved one a smooch on the lips before entering! Unless he’s your brother of course; David and I decided to pass!
Once through the gate, you will find yourself in your own secluded charming getaway. Here’s what you will find if you stay at Kissing Gate:
Vintage Caravans. Ruby and Pearl are incredible. Ruby is the oh-so-fabulous bedroom caravan, and has an incredibly comfortable queen-sized bed. Award-winning Pearl, on the other hand, is great for lounging. With a booth style table and plenty of color, I found it to be the perfect working-space. They have taken the traditional Kiwi Caravan and turned it into something glamorous.
Luxurious Amenities. Even though you’re technically “glamping,” it doesn’t feel that way in the slightest at Kissing Gate. The wooden house set between the two caravans is split between the toilet room and the bathroom. Despite having a compost toilet, the toilet room is constructed as if it weren’t such; upon entering the nicely finished room, it’s hard even to tell it’s a compost.
The bathroom next to it is beautifully made with top notch showering facilities — better than that of most hotels! The piping hot water is a fantastic addition too.
The open-air kitchen is fully-equipped and functional for all kinds of cooking. It was quite easy for us to make our dinner, and the on-site refrigerator was a definite plus. Kissing Gate also offers complimentary tea and fresh pressed coffee if that’s your sort of thing.
The tub down by the pond is a fantastic way to relax as the sun sets. With hot water, crisp air, fairy lights, and the sound of cicadas, there’s no better way to prepare yourselves for bed.
The Stars. Let these photos speak for themselves. With a perfect view of the Milky Way, and the most gorgeous clear sky, Kissing Gate made for the perfect stargazing spot.
Romance. There are few places more romantic than Kissing Gate. Really! Love is in the air, everywhere. From heart shaped patios to books on kissing to a red-colored interior, this place screams romance. If only I had come with the man of my dreams instead of my brother…
Kind Owners. Roger and Adele are the epitome of incredibly gracious hosts. We so enjoyed getting to know them and their family. They have two other properties: Corru Gate and Copper Gate. If you don’t feel like glamping or you’re more than three, these would be fantastic alternatives, and you’d still have the pleasure of meeting Roger and Adele.
Accessibility. The location of Kissing Gate is just about perfect. We drove from Picton after having taken the ferry from the North Island and used Kissing Gate as our home base for our trip into Abel Tasman National Park. After having talked to Roger in depth about Abel Tasman, we decided to drive to Kaiteriteri and take the sea shuttle to Medlands Beach. From there, we opted to go on a four hour hike down to Anchorage Beach. The views were absolutely stunning, and I would never associate water so blue with New Zealand!
If you don’t feel like checking out Abel Tasman National Park, and would prefer a relaxed day at Kissing Gate, be sure to go to the Mapua Wharf. Only four minutes away, this old port has been renovated into an incredibly chic pedestrian area on the water lined with various shops, restaurants, and bars.
Even though we just left, I already miss the atmosphere that Kissing Gate provided. I know that I will return in the future, and I cannot wait for the day when I get to reunite with Roger, Adele, and their beautiful vintage caravans Ruby and Pearl.
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**Special thanks to Roger and Adele, Canopy Camping and Escapes, and Air New Zealand for sponsoring our journey. Outfit courtesy of Lucy Activewear. As always, all opinions are my own. Photographs taken by David M Gallo Photography.