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NZ, not just mountains and rings: the real holiday home

December 13, 2008

A bach (pronounced batch) is New Zealand’s archetypical holiday home. And also part of Kiwiana. What better way for me to talk about them than to show you:

This one has been renovated, but picture a small cottage usually put together by dad and his buddies from leftover wood, iron and whatever he could find. Then picture mum working on the interior, grabbing old furnishings and crockery (usually seconds), crocheted rugs, covers and one suitably tacky painting – to be hung in the living area. In two words New Zealand baches were very much “anti -style”.

Baches have been a part of the kiwi psyche since I can remember. A place to escape to for weekend fishing, winter skiing, or summer holidays.

The thing I love most about baches is not what they look like, but their locations. In the past Kiwi’s would build their baches just about anywhere. High on ridges, deep in the gullies; even inside a rocky crag.

Weather and politics have changed and reshaped how baches survive. Baches like this one above are becoming a rare sight on the landscape, but the popularity of baches still continues. In fact, they are going through a rejuvenation. Baches are back in style, redesigned and outfitted to suit the more sophisticated tastes of the modern traveller without compromising the magic of discovery.

Tripping from bach to bach is a wonderful way to see New Zealand. And feel a part of its unpublicised heritage. Baches don’t discriminate: anyone can stay. They can be cheap and cheerful or exclusive. And fabulous for the family who need space.

Baches have been written about and widey photographed, even protected under UNESCO. If you want to know a little more about the history check out wikipedia

If you’re thinking about holidaying in NZ this summer, bach accomodation is the way to go. There are several good sites where you can book: bookabach and one I particluarly like whalebayvillas

When I go back to New Zealand for a holiday, I will be staying in a quiet bach, next to one of my favourite beaches listening to the surf roll in.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. December 13, 2008 7:05 am


    I just returned from a two week trip to New Zealand and it was fantastic. Such a beautiful country and people…we didn’t “bach” it, but what a great idea for next time. Merry Christmas to fellow NZ- lovers!

  2. December 15, 2008 4:55 am

    Hi there. I just found your site because I’m looking for good info on an upcoming trip to NZ (Feb/March 2009). I’ll be sure to take a good look at all your posts. Thanks!

  3. December 15, 2008 9:27 am

    Hi There

    Love your Kiwi batch but don’t forget that in the south island it is a crib, even more confusing fot the non Kiwi

  4. Cate permalink
    December 16, 2008 12:58 am

    Yes the crib thats right! Thanks for reminding me Christine. Kim and Justin thanks also for your comments. I recommend checking these palces out if you go to NZ. The cost is reasonable if not cheap. If you decide to hire a car then baching is the best way to go.

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