International Women’s Day: Meet Our Women Landowners

Lisa Marcroft, The Beach Cottage, Waikorea Beach, Waikato


Tell us a little bit about your business, The Beach Cottage

We offer guests (who want to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life) an opportunity to slow down and recharge their batteries. Our guests stay in a very simple 2 bedroom bach overlooking the remote Waikorea Beach in the North West Waikato. Guests can sit at the bach and enjoy the views from every room or make the most of the large open spaces by taking long walks over the farm or beach, bird watching, fishing, making huts with debris washed onto beach or sliding down sand dunes with the kids. 

How long have you been in business?

In 2018 we opened the Beach Cottage to the public following some major improvements; however, the property has been in the family for 40 years. 

What do you love about your location and region?

The 6km Waikorea beach is just stunning and always changing. Some days you may have the beach to yourself, along with the Gulls, Oyster Catches and Dotterels and other times you might see goats, seals, crabs, starfish, people fishing or on horses. Some days the waves crash right into and over Split Rock causing water to spray into the air and other days it’s like a lake. After rain there are lots of little waterfalls and the rock formations exposed when the sand is washed away have cool little rockpools. You never know what you may find. 

What inspires you and motivates you as a woman in business?

I have a full-time job and do a lot of volunteering for equestrian sports but I love putting in the extra effort & energy to share this property because it gives people an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the remoteness, ruggedness and simplicity of the place and guests seem to enjoy the experience with many returning time after time. So many of us get so busy, it’s important that we have opportunities to get away, slow down, breathe and just enjoy what nature throws at us – which can be quite a lot on the west coast. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman business owner?

Time is my biggest challenge (if you haven’t guessed by now) and so it’s really important to surround ourselves with great people to share the load – both at home and in business. I am so lucky to have both.  My amazing neighbour on the farm is just so multi-talented and helpful, she does everything from lawnmowing, cleaning, puts up curtain rails, tiling, painting, replaces glass in broken windows and fits all this amongst her own busy workload. 

What are some of your greatest achievements as a woman business owner?

I’m only just getting started, I have been talking to others and we are going to look at developing a new attraction for the area, I’ve got some other ideas as well. 


Shelley Garden – Cosy Container Escape, Millers Flat, Otago


Tell us a little bit about your business, Cosy Container Escape  

We built a unique container cabin as a holiday home for us, for guests riding the Clutha Gold Trail, and for people to escape to for a weekend away and a prototype for our cabin building business. The pandemic has certainly slowed down the cabin building part, but we are finally starting work on the second cabin which will be for rent summer 2022/23.

How long have you been in business?

We started building the cabin in 2020. Covid slowed us down a bit but once we completed it, we lived in it with our 2 children for 6mths to get an understanding of how the building functioned and spent time furnishing it and setting it up as a holiday rental. It’s been operating about 17mths now as a country escape!

What do you love about your location and region?

Firstly, the weather! We love the long hot dry summer days, followed by a dip in the solar heated Millers Flat pool and also the cold nights by the fire with the occasional sprinkle of snow. Secondly, we are an easy 2hr drive from Dunedin, Invercargill, Queenstown and Wanaka and when you get here there is plenty to do – bike on the trail running past our gate, go fishing, walking, visit local cafes and pubs, a movie theatre up the road & historic sites to visit. Finally, we love the super friendly locals who will stop and chat and point you in the right direction if you are lost!

What inspires you and motivates you as a woman in business?

What motivates me is the incredible positive feedback we get. It drives a desire to keep improving, I’m always thinking ‘what else can we do to make our guests go WoW! I get inspired by looking at other accommodation options in the country, especially glamping. I love looking for ways of how we can be more sustainable and leave a lighter footprint.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a woman business owner?

That when your business is small you have to be a jack of all trades and work doesn’t finish at 5pm! You have to be on top of all facets of the business – from taking the bookings and cleaning through to the marketing and finances…oh and fitting in being a Mum too! 

What are some of your greatest achievements as a woman business owner?

I’ve become a very good problem solver; I’m a city girl at heart and soon realised that constructing a shipping container cabin requires thinking outside the box when you are 1-2hrs from a hardware store and have run out of supplies! Finding and building a reliable team of suppliers and staff is something I’m proud of, it’s funny how things just flow better when you have a good team around you. Good communication and involving them in decision making is key. We couldn’t operate without them.

To check out these properties and book your next stay, click on the links in the listing name above or visit www.offthebeatentrack.co.nz

Author: Jessica Vandy