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Life's a bach

28 May 2021

Style goes on a hunt to find the unique, the off-the-grid and the more traditional baches around the country.

Kiwi’s and baches go together like pavlova and cream at Christmas time. But to get there, early decisions must be made. Do you travel once the children have been sated with their gifts and filled up to the gills on Nan’s chocolate? Or work up a detailed diagram on how to pack the presents in the back of the car along with Aunt Maisie’s very heavy Christmas cake and a ham that will have to sit in the back seat with the children?

But the crucial thing is to book your bach well in advance. Otherwise you’d best be planning for a tent in the backyard. The key to a good holiday bach is to have one in the family or have an appointed person whose sole responsibility for the year is to find your abode for the holidays. Several browsers tabs will be required and a Facebook group chat.

With that in mind, Style has done a bit of the leg work for you, with the folk from Bookabach, to find an eclectic range of baches around the country that may pique your travels for next Christmas. Not this year of course.  If you haven’t booked yet, it’s out the back and into the tent you go. 

The eco-friendly  

Once upon a time, a bach with a long drop out the back and some dodgy wiring was deemed an “eco” option. Fortunately for our noses, time and technology have moved us into an era of beautifully crafted eco-friendly homes.

First Light House Accommodation – Hawkes Bay

This house went on an OE before finding its own little slice of Kiwi paradise overlooking the white sands of Waimarama Beach.

Designed and built by some very clever students at Victoria University, the house was constructed in a Lyall Bay warehouse, before being packed down and rebuilt not only on the Wellington waterfront but then again in Washington DC for an international competition.

After winning a few awards, the house has settled in Lightning Ridge. It has a small energy footprint due to its solar-powered design – it produces at least as much energy as it uses. 

With one bedroom though, it is more of a sneaky get-away for a couple, so a very good excuse to leave the in-laws at home. 

Keeper’s Nest – Nelson

This is billed as a truly “off the grid” experience – yes, it has no wi-fi. Sounds delicious already.

With an orchard of apples, plums, figs and feijoas, this eco-friendly bach is perched on a hill above Collingwood, where you can pop your feet up at the end of the day, perhaps with a suitably frosty glass in hand and breathe in the incredible views.

The bach is fully solar-powered and located moments away from the beach. If you are looking for a place where the boss can’t possibly expect you to check your work emails, this bach is the one to book. With beach swimming nearby, cockles to collect and the Heaphy Track nearby, it really is a place to soothe the soul.

Off the map

Sometimes you just need to feel like the city, work and traffic are a thousand miles away.  That special place that gives you the good vibes and a tickle inside. Even better if there are alpacas thrown in.

Ashley Forest Luxury Retreat - Canterbury

Set on two hectares and surrounded by forest with spectacular views, this Canterbury bach in Ashley Forest, about 50 minutes from Christchurch, is something special.

The only neighbours here are the alpacas and the cats, so after a day perhaps of exploring the walking tracks, pop yourself in the spa pool and enjoy pure and utter relaxation. 

The bach can accommodate up to six and is only eight minutes from Rangiora, so if you forget your Nespresso pods you can nip in for a quick fix.

The Log Cabin in the Woods – Twizel

Like something out of a western movie, this newly constructed bach has a rustic flavour but with all the trimmings of modern life. 

If waterskiing, swimming and fishing are some of the things you enjoy for your Christmas break, then this will tick the box for you. Lake Ohau and Lake Middleton are just a 10-minute jaunt down the road and there are plenty of walking tracks to work up a ferocious appetite for some leftover plum pudding and pavlova.

Bookabach gave the nod of approval to this three-bedroom home with a silver gong in its Bach of the Year Awards for the Unique category. 

The Cowshed – Waikato

Normally the words luxury and cowshed are not strung together but it seems to work for this bach located 10 minutes from Waihi.

Tucked up the front corner of an 11ha lifestyle block, this former herringbone cowshed has been recrafted and furnished to sleep four people.

You can sit back, relax and enjoy the totara, rimu and manuka trees and even cool off in a shallow waterhole fed by a small stream.

As a homage to its former four-legged occupants, you can step into the old tanker stand to find two showers with plenty of space, while the original hot water cylinder has been repurposed for hand basins. Boards from the former calf sheds are framing for the bathroom, while corrugated iron that was on the roof is now on the walls and ceilings.

Te Pahika – West Coast

What do you do with a train carriage after it crashes? Well, turns out they make a nifty bach, if in the hands of the right people. This former guard’s van was built in the early 1900s and put to work until 1963 when it crashed at Moana.

Nestled by some native bush and a pond, Te Pahika’s main carriage is now the bedroom and dressing area, while the newly built “station house” has the kitchen and bathroom, linking to the carriage with a nifty semi-covered deck. 

Kiwi classic

Nothing says a typical Kiwi bach like a humble home by the water, complete with a barbecue and a deck. They are the creators of great childhood memories.

Hannahs Bay Waterfront Family Getaway - Rotorua

Out the gate and onto the lakefront at this classy getaway. This renovated 1950s cottage by Lake Rotorua can fit two families and has a launching ramp and jetty a short distance from the property with kayaks provided. It won the Family Friendly category at this year’s Bookabach awards. And the icing on the Christmas cake? It is close to Redwood Forest, which is a popular mountain biking option.

Little Harbourfront Bach – Northland

You’ve finished cooking on the barbecue and now it's time to put your feet up while gazing out at the sea and mountains. What a way to spend a Christmas break. Located in Whangarei Heads, the bach is near the sea and close to walking tracks.  Simple and understated but with incredible views, it’s a good place to let time slip away.

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