Not too late to book a bach

FRANCESCA LEE
Last updated 07:18 23/12/2012

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Want to spend summer in a good old Kiwi bach, but think it might be too late or too expensive?

More than half the baches and holiday homes in New Zealand listed at bookabach.co.nz have been booked for the festive season, and others come at exorbitant prices of $600 a night, but if you look far and hard enough, and are willing to try something a bit beyond the ordinary, you might just uncover hidden gems at affordable prices.

Holidayhouses.co.nz manager Andrew McKaskell said Queenstown was the most popular holiday destination for this time of year, followed by Waiheke Island and Mt Maunganui.

Last minute holiday-makers need not worry about finding a place; more people have been letting out their houses as baches. "It's definitely not too late to book your holiday accommodation. There are still plenty of houses left in great locations that have nights available over summer," said McKaskell.

Near Queenstown, a historical high-country hut set in the mountains overlooking Lake Wakatipu costs $60 a night to rent over the Christmas and New Year period. However, the lack of electricity and the need for a four-wheel-drive might put off some holiday-makers.

For something a little less isolated, a cottage in an orchard in Karamea, Buller, offers a getaway from the humdrum of metropolitan life but is close enough to modern amenities and costs $80 a night. The cottage is well-hidden and free for any last-minute Christmas bookings.

Others might prefer a converted barn in Banks Peninsula overlooking the hills and Goughs Bay for $80 a night. There's no mobile coverage so it's perfect for a techno-detox.

Up the top of the South Island, Marlborough offers a bach just on the edge of Mt Richmond Forest Park, 55km from Blenheim, at $80 a night. The bach is open for business on Christmas, but New Year's has already been booked up.

The North Island's Central Plateau has a cottage offering hill views of Tongariro National Park costing $60 a night.

The East Coast of the North Island is a trove of wee gems, with a farm cottage in Omakere, 15 minutes from Gisborne, offering a rural retreat but still close enough to town for a good night out. Or perhaps a beachside apartment at Porangahau Beach for those who crave the sea. Both start from $75 a night.

For a perfect hunting base or just a chance to relax in the Taupo region, Turangi offers a lodge at the foot of the hills at $70 a night.

Foxton Beach in the Manawatu offers a retreat right beside the estuary at $80 a night all year round.

In Northland, a little cottage in Mangawhai Heads close to the beach and the golf course is going at $70 a night.

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In the Wairarapa, a converted barn at Gladstone close to vineyards, olive groves, cheese-makers and a brewery might be mistaken for a retreat in Provence, but starting from $75 a night, it's a lot more affordable than a trip to France.

- Sunday Star Times

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