Holiday Like a Local in New Zealand

Published on : Monday, January 30, 2017

unnamed (2)Gardens made of driftwood and shells, beaches by the front door and bush-enclosed backyards, the Kiwi bach (holiday house) captures the spirit of New Zealand.New Zealanders have always been drawn to out-of-the way places, where barrel waves roll back and forth beyond the porch, long-legged seabirds scavenge in the sand for insects and the only sounds are cicadas chirping. The iconic Kiwi bach personifies the Kiwi character: unpretentious, individual and creative. It is also a place to find solace and silence.


There are extensive listings of Kiwi baches for hire on specialised websites. Here is a sample of some of the best.

Christine Young’s bach is perched on a sand hill above the tempestuous Tasman Sea, on Auckland’s wild west coast. She bought it from her cousin more than four decades ago. The bach was built in the 1950s, a boom time for bach building.

The simple structure, with its plain exterior cladding and wooden decks, looks largely as it did when it was built, although the interior has been renovated in keeping with the period. The wide picture windows look directly out to sea, where gulls dive for their dinner.


Piha is renowned for its endless bush walks, toe-warming black sand and big surf. The locals are fiercely protective of this wild stretch of coastline and the permanent population remains small. Christine says her bach reflects the local community: resilient, low-key, and welcoming.Travel Tips


How to get there: From Auckland, head west on SH13 into Piha Rd. Piha is 38km from central Auckland and 45km from Auckland International Airport.


Best time to visit: Summer is busy with holidaymakers, so if you’re looking to ‘get-away-from-it-all’, spring and autumn are a better option.

As an international muso, New Zealander Chris Parry has slept in some of the world’s poshest penthouse suites. But the place he calls paradise is a bach on the Coromandel Peninsula, across the Hauraki Gulf from Auckland and accessed only by a forestry road.
For most of his career in London, Parry signed iconic bands like the Cure and the Jam, but his bach at Onemana, north of popular Whangamata Beach, is the polar opposite of jet set – remote, slow-moving, and soul-restoring.


When Parry first saw the property, the buildings – a main house, workers’ quarters and barn – were held together by rusty nails, but he renovated the buildings and filled them with New Zealand art, 50s memorabilia and treasures collected on his travels. He says the location is like a little island with forest on one side and the ocean on the other. You can canoe from the private beach and fish from the rocks.

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