We round up our favourite holiday homes from around New Zealand so you can stay in some of the coolest spots for your next beach escape
Oruawharo Cottage, Great Barrier Island
This two-bedroom hideaway on Great Barrier Island was designed by Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon of Fearon Hay, with interior architect Penny Hay working on the interiors. It’s cosy, simple and has a sensational view of Medlands Beach and the hills beyond. After the short flight (or longer ferry ride) to Great Barrier from Auckland, you really will feel a million miles from everything while staying here.
First Light House, Waimarama, Hawke’s Bay
Originally designed by students from the School of Architecture at Victoria University of Wellington for the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC, the First Light House has since made a triumphant return home, being sold to a couple who have relocated it to a magnificent site above Hawke’s Bay’s Waimarama Beach. So if you’re feeling like a fabulously eco-friendly escape (the home generates all its own electricity, and returns surplus to the grid), we highly recommend you book it right away.
Otama House, Coromandel
This dream bach in the Coromandel was designed by New York–based architect David Berridge as somewhere to come back to when he visits New Zealand. The rest of the year, this beautiful house with ocean vistas and afternoon sun is available for holiday rentals.
Millar Road cottages, Hawkes Bay
There are two cottages at Hawkes Bay’s Millar Road (near Havelock North), both designed in 2002 by Nick Bevin of Wellington’s Bevin + Slessor to evoke memories of New Zealand river and lakeside baches of the 1950s and 1960s with their relaxed layouts and simple forms. Inside is a great range of New Zealand furnishings and art, and it’s just a short trip from the cottages to vineyards including Craggy Range, Black Barn and Clearview Estate. There’s also a swimming pool on site.
Lake Waikaremoana cabins, Urewera National Park
The Department of Conservation calls these charmingly modest cabins “chalets”, but let’s not quibble about the details. Designed in 1978 by one of the country’s most revered architects, the late John Scott, the corrugated-iron cabins have compact open-plan interiors and are just a minute’s walk from the shore of the beautiful lake and the many walking tracks of the Urewera National Park. Just up the road is the (currently mothballed) Aniwaniwa Visitor & Information Centre, also designed by Scott.
The Cellar Master’s Cottage, Hawke’s Bay
Surrounded by vines and only a limestone-paved path away from Craggy Range’s Giants Winery, The Cellar Master’s Cottage, designed by John Blair, is a wine-lover’s oasis tucked under Te Mata Peak. The set-up of the two-bedroom cottage suggests that cooking is an option, but we might also suggest savouring the local vintages at the vineyard’s Terroir restaurant, just a short stumble away.
Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds
The Bay of Many Coves is technically a resort, but one made up of a number of small, jewel-like baches designed by Marshall Cook of Cook, Sargisson, Tarrant & Pirie. The result is a village of self-contained dwellings congregated unobtrusively on a hillside overlooking Queen Charlotte Sound. Each unit has its own kitchen, but you might be more tempted by the restaurant beside the jetty or one of the resort’s two cafés.
Ahu Ahu Villas, New Plymouth
Designed by Taranaki’s favourite architects, Boon Bhaskar Goldsmith, using hardwood wharf piles, century-old French clay tiles, lattice windows and other recycled items, the Ahu Ahu Villas are actually much less ramshackle than they sound. In fact, these strong and charming buildings are the perfect fit for a magnificent location on a cliff looking back towards Oakura Beach. There’s no better spot from which to enjoy the wild west coast.
The Gray Bach, Ngawi, Cape Palliser
The best way to face the southerlies that pummel Ngawi, the small fishing village near Cape Palliser (an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Wellington), is in a building made of concrete, which is precisely what Studio Pacific Architects’ Evzen Novak created with this very modern take on the seaside cottage. The furniture inside doesn’t quite match the promise of the exterior, but the one-bedroom bach has a log fire, a generous kitchen, and huge windows to watch the sea through, rain or shine.
Images by: Patrick Reynolds, Paul McCredie, Philippa Guthrie, Simon Devitt