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Next stop, owning an island resort

Selling everything to buy a resort on a foreign island may seem beyond anyone’s idea for the future.

But for a Greytown couple, it’s the next step in searching for a new life challenge.

BECKIE WILSON spoke to the Rackliffs as they plan their move to Bali in March.


Tracey and Rob Rackliff prefer to live a life far from the ordinary.

They have bought an 11-room Balinese resort, about 58km from the capital, Denpasar.

They are not strangers to the Indonesian island after having holidayed there roughly once a year over the past decade.

More recently they stayed in Bali for six months testing the waters of their new business venture.

“We wanted to have a go at living in a different country, initially we thought Portugal, but factors led to Bali — why not Bali?” Mrs Rackliff said.

“We went there for six months, had a look around at other business options within the hospitality industry, but everywhere was busy and not what we were looking for.”

Rob and Tracey Rackliff travelling around the Komodo National Park, short flight from Bali. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

That was when they found the boutique Samanvaya resort in the Sideman Valley, in a village of about 400 people in rural Bali.

All rooms, yoga studio and swimming pool look out over the rice terraces, surrounding hills and out to the coastline of Sanur.

The majority of the buildings are made from bamboo materials and have an “organic” feel to them.

“We have travelled heaps, but [Bali has] a feeling of serenity which sounds real weird but there’s something religious about it,” she said.

“You walk down to the beach and you will see a whole gathering of local Balinese doing offerings to the water gods… and it’s the temperature – it’s amazing.”

The Rackliffs will take on the established 21 staff at the resort, which is made up of a handful of families.

What kickstarted their dream to live overseas was on their return from a two-year police deployment in the Solomon Islands nearly three years ago.

They had planned to leave Masterton’s police CIB and dedicate their time to their property developing and management business, Orion Property Management.

The Rackliff’s are at a stage in their lives where they want to explore what else was out there.

“Now that we are working for ourselves you think about other ways that could give you a better lifestyle choice, you don’t have that if you’re working for a company, but we now have a bit more freedom,” Mr Rackliff said.

“This resort is going to give us a different lifestyle.”

The resort was built from the ground up about seven years ago by a British couple.

The Rackliffs with the resort’s staff and the previous owners. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The business is running well, but the Rackliffs want to bring in a travel planning side venture.

They want to offer an itinerary for travellers who want to explore Bali and close by Indonesia, and offer experiences that can’t be found through a travel agent.

A half day trek along the rice terraces, rafting, morning market tour, a unique motor scooter tour of Sidemen Valley taking roads inaccessible to car or an introduction class to weaving are some activities already offered through the resort.

“We are keen to get people to the resort for four or five days and then they go off on the planned itinerary,” she said.

Mr Rackliff said they want the resort to be a place where tourists can come a relax by the pool and enjoy a traditional meal and cold drink after a day of intrepid exploring.

“We want it to be a really nice experience, boutique great service, all the comforts you would want so it’s not like the resort is intrepid, it would be an escape from it,” he said.

To live in Bali is not the scary part but they admit there was a financial risk, Mrs Rackliff said.

“It’s about making money, but we could stay here and make money keep doing what we are doing, but a bigger part for us is what else is out there for us to see and learn.”

The couple said to make a lifestyle change like them, you need to talk to people and start making steps towards a plan.

“It’s not going to happen if you don’t do something about it,” Mr Rackliff said.

But sometimes it’s just getting out of your comfort zone and just looking at being open to options, he said.

Mrs Rackliff said now that their children had moved out of home, they had the opportunity to see what else was out there.

“We have lived in 10 homes in 10 years, we get itchy feet – it’s exhausting doing the same thing.”

The couple are excited to embed themselves into the culture, learn the language and “live through someone else’s eye for a bit”, she said.

The Rackliffs have grandchildren in Greytown and leaving them behind was going to be the hardest part about the move,” but what a cool place for them to come on holiday”.

“But we will be living a life far less ordinary and are excited about what the future holds for us,” Mrs Rackliff said.

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