Home Tours

Simplicity and nature take the forefront in this blissful Great Barrier bach

Simplicity rules at this blissful Great Barrier bach with bleached wood, worn finishes, beach-combed finds and every shade of blue

Meet + greet

Sarah Judkins, 47 (renovator), Jason Judkins, 49 (CEO of Hop Revolution), Zach, 16, and Madi, 13, plus Sammy the Labradoodle.

Sarah’s tips for building on an island

  • Use local tradespeople who understand the logistics of getting materials to your home and have knowledge of what works and doesn’t work for off-grid solar and septic systems.
  • The elements are closer to hand on an island. Design your house to maximise sun and shelter from the prevailing winds.
  • Try to source locally grown plants for landscaping.
  • If renovating, try to stay true to the history of the property. For us, half the journey has been meeting the people who have a connection to the property. This has really added to the story of the cottages.

Honesty box

Where did you save money, or splurge, on the build? We built a single-level house to save money. We splurged on solid wood flooring, tiled bathrooms and cedar cladding.
Best lessons learned? Years spent camping on the section really helped us understand the weather on the site and how to design around it.
Any building, reno or DIY disasters? Underestimating how much paint you need. We’ve learned our DIY lessons in the past and have tried to use experts for anything that matters.
Most memorable experience you’ve had in your bach? Great family times over the summer, endless sunsets, and watching whales and dolphins in the bay, along with hammerhead sharks and schools of anchovies. There is always something new.

Local secrets

Favourite beach on Great Barrier Island Sandy Bay (known to the Judkinses as Stingray Bay).
Best walk Station Rock Path, a stunning ridgeline walk through nikau forest.


The house cost about $400K to build. Our budget for the three cottages was $250K – I think we are just about there.

See more of the Great Barrier holiday home below 

This article was first published in Your Home and Garden. Follow YHG on Instagram, Facebook and sign up to the fortnightly email for inspiration between the issues.

Photography by: Jackie Meiring.

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