About us


Join us at Adrift and experience the beauty and history of our little "slice of paradise"...


Adrift Family


From Lettuce, to Lilies, to Luxury

Our beachfront accommodation is a family owned and operated holiday resort. It’s run by three generations of our family who live on the property in our extended family home - Bess and Gordon, our daughter Emily and her husband Johnny and our grandchildren Coco and Eli. 

I (Bess) am Canadian born and Gordon hails from the north of England. We met and married in Canada and lived in central British Columbia where the temperature would often plummet to –40 C in the winter! We had a good friend who visited New Zealand and came back singing its praises. This piqued Gordon’s thirst for adventure and he began to research both the physical and social climate of this amazing country.  

The more he read the better it sounded, so he applied for work as a teacher and we set off in 1980 with our first babe in arms to live in New Zealand, sight unseen. The first two years were spent in Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty on the North Island, where Gordon was teaching science, computing, and maths at the local high school. It was here that we heard of a job being offered in Nelson and Gordon felt strongly that we were meant to move there so he applied and was accepted and that set-in motion where we are today. 

We wanted to own our own home and after searching unsuccessfully for land for two years in the Nelson area, we discovered this 10 acre block of undeveloped beachfront property in Golden Bay in the spring of 1984 and "knew" that we had found our home. 

Beachfront property in 1984 Golden Bay, New Zealand Tukurua 1984 Beachfront Villas Golden Bay New Zealand

Our initial dream and following project was to establish a market garden and sell our produce to the local community and visitors.  During this time Gordon was also teaching part time, building our first home and helping to raise the then three of our four children. In 1991, he was made redundant from his teaching job and we were now desperately in need of a new source of income. The most unlikely answer to our prayer for provision of work was the inspiration to "grow lilies". So, after researching something we knew nothing about, "Lilies in Bloom" was birthed and grew into a successful business. For the following fifteen years we sold flowering plants in the summer and in the winter our bulbs were sent throughout New Zealand and the rest of the world.  It was an amazing experience to see and smell thousands of flowering lilies growing beside the beach, but there were better things to come... 

In 2001, we built an addition to our home as a guest wing for my father to stay in when he would come to visit from Canada. Unfortunately, he passed away before it was finished and we now had a "room with a view" that needed someone to appreciate it. So, on Boxing Day of 2002 we opened our Beachfront B&B and launched ourselves into the wonderful world of hospitality. 

In 2003 our daughter Emily and husband John; both with backgrounds in hospitality, moved back to Golden Bay with their baby Coco to help us out on the property and it soon became apparent that we would need more than the lily business and the B&B to sustain us all.  We had received such encouraging feedback about our accommodation and its popularity was growing, so the decision was made to sell the lily business and over the next two years we proceeded to build five self-contained, luxury villas. 

The winter of 2014 brought big changes and new development to the property. Up to this point Emily and Johnny and their family had been living off-site. The long-term plan had always been that they would take over running the business and we would remain living here. This meant that they needed to be closer, so we closed our business for 6 months and built an extension onto our home in order to provide them with a manager's residence. This in turn precipitated the need for some major landscaping renovations. Our son Jordan had just graduated in Landscape Architecture, so this was the perfect opportunity to give him his first big project! He came up with a stunning design and together with Emily, Johnny and Gordon, worked hard over the winter months to implement it. 

It has been an ongoing adventure as we continue to dream and develop the property and business. We're always looking for ways to enhance the natural beauty that surrounds us and to make Adrift something special, memorable and a 'home away from home' for our guests. 

We have met so many amazing people over the years who have encouraged us and spurred us on. We feel extremely privileged to be able to share our piece of ‘heaven on earth’ that we've been blessed with and our hope is that you will come and enjoy it too! 


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