Off The Grid

Off The Grid Cabin In New Zealand Paradise

Hidden away deep in the Baton Valley, nestled amongst the imposing mountain ranges of the Kahurangi National Park is a tiny, off the grid cabin which looks as though it could have sat there for hundreds of years. Named the Honeywell hut, a tribute to it’s builder Jack Honeywell, this historic looking cabin is the pride and joy of it’s owners Richard and Fiona, who constructed this unique get-away as an escape for themselves, as well as to help provide additional accomodation for their horse trekking business.

Even today, the Baton Valley is as remote as it is beautiful. A 13 kilometre (8 mile) single lane road is the only access to the valley. Baton Run is Richard and Fiona’s farm. The farm has been in Richards family for three generations since it was purchased by his grandfather in 1906. Today, it’s still a working sheep and beef farm, but much of the land has been planted in regenerating forest.

The Baton River flows through the farm, bringing pristine water into the valley from the Kahurangi National park. It’s along the shores of this river, where the Honeywell Hut has been constructed. Originally built from an old changing room shed which the couple purchased for $2,000 and had transported onto the property from Nelson, the hut has now been converted into a stunning off the grid cabin.

Although the cabin was only constructed 8 years ago, it looks as though it could have sat on the land for a hundred years. Many of the timbers which were used in it’s construction were found on the property, already weathered by many storms, their history and character being imprinted on the cabin. There are no services here. No access to water or power, and so this cabin sits off the grid, collecting water and generating power from a small solar system which sits on the roof – the only real touch of the modern world to be seen.

A wrap around deck complete with rocking chairs tempts you to slow down, take the time to sit, relax and watch the world go by with the gentle sound of the batten river flowing and echoing throughout the valley. The rusted corrugate awning brilliantly juxtaposed against the solar panels gives a sense of history, remoteness but with a slight hint of the most basic modern comforts.

On the rear side of the cabin is the outdoor toilet as well as a shower and bath tub with water warmed by a small wood burning stove. In some places, it would seem extreme to have all these facilities located outside, but here it makes perfect sense and encourages a greater connection with the outside world and the cabin’s panoramic views. Alone in the valley, a hot shower or bath under the stars is soul cleansing.

The rustic charm is continued on the interior of the cabin as well. The wood, mostly macrocarpa, almost all comes from the Baton Valley and helps to make the place feel cosy. The hut can comfortably sleep 5 with the dwellers being warmed by the gentle light of an old-fashioned cast iron pot belly wood stove.

There’s a dining table, and a fully featured kitchen offering plenty of space to cool. Limited electricity means that cooking is mostly done on gas, or use of the wood stove. A small 12v fridge powered by the solar panels keeps just enough food and drink chilled.

On the wall sits an enchanting piece of history. The original con-job which lead to Richards Grandfather purchasing the property. Investors were told that there was a tremendous amount of gold in the Baton River, enough to make them all very rich indeed. There is gold in the Batten River, but nowhere near as much as had been suggested by the con-artists and so, unfortunately for Richard’s Grandfather, but with great fortune for the land and future generations, Baton Run was never mined and the land was able to remain pristine.

Today, the Baton Run is still a family treasure and the Honeywell Hut one of the jewels amongst it. If you would like to stay a night or two at the Honeywell Hut, you can visit their website here. Be sure to watch the full video tour above to see more beautiful details of this spectacular, remote cabin.