After being stuck inside for so long it's no surprise we're emerging from our collective cocoons with a strong sense of wanderlust. As our overseas getaways have been foiled for the forseeable, now's the time get out and explore our wonderful country, and you needn't stray too far from NZ's largest city to do it.
Whether you've got two days or two weeks, there are plenty of incredibly beautiful places to enjoy from the comfort of rustic hidden baches stashed in remote regions all around Auckland.
Forget paying through the nose, here are 11 of the best under-the-radar baches available in regional parks dotted around Tāmaki Makaurau.
Located above Anawhata beach, this is peak remote beauty. If you've ever hiked down to the beach and looked enviously at the little house sitting in the bush you'll be stoked to know that it's available for rent and sleeps up to six people. Built by the Parker family in the 1930s this heritage home still retains many of its original features. Walking tracks from the house allow access to the beach and there are a number of bushwalks in the local area. Whether it is a quiet weekend to read and relax or explore West Auckland, there will be few places that beat this gem.
Near to Anawhata beach is the restored three-bedroomed Craw Homestead, which was once part of the original farm and sleeps up to six people. With stunning bush-lined views to the coast, you'll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of town. Since there's no vehicle access to the beach be prepared to hike down to sea level, but we promise the view when you get there will be worth it.
This beachfront three-bedroom cottage sleeps up to six and is nestled just a few steps from Little Huia’s tidal beach—you'll be stepping into a piece of Auckland’s history when you stay here. Built 80 years ago with materials from the original Barr Cottage of the 1880s, enjoy the peace and quiet or use the bach as a base to explore Whatipu Beach and caves on the Manukau harbour entrance. Afterwards have a wander around Cornwallis and discover the Orpheus Graves walk where three unknown victims of New Zealand’s worst martime disaster are buried. Barr Cottage has also featured in a TV movie called The Man Who Lost His Head, starring British actor Martin Clunes of Doc Martin fame.
Just inside the entrance to Ahwitu Regional Park lies Awhitu House. Built in the 1930s this two-bedroom bach sleeps six and is a five-minute walk to the beach where you can look back across the Manukau harbour at Auckland. Plenty of walks and bike trails criss-cross the park with long sandy beaches to stroll along. Ever driven from town to Manukau Heads Lighthouse high on the hills above Manukau harbour? It's a long ass way for a day trip, but you'll have no excuse if you're staying nearby. The views are legendary.
Take in stunning views from the deck of this three-bedroomed house across Waitawa Bay and beyond to the Coromandel Peninsula. Sleeping six people, the cliff-top bach offers a great vista of people paddling along Te Ara Moana (the sea-going pathway), one of the many routes used by Māori to travel between settlements along Auckland’s south-eastern coast. There's plenty to do at Waitawa Regional Park from fishing and tramping through to mountain biking and kayaking. Or simply sit on the large deck and enjoy watching the world pass by.
Te Whetuki House
Located on beautiful Umupuia beach, three-bedroom Te Whetuki sleeps six and is nestled below Duder Regional Park. Whether it's relaxing out the front of the bach, on the beach or exploring the regional park just five minutes' walk away, this is a beautiful place to relax and unwind. Duder Regional Park was once part of a family farm but now houses a bird colony and being a peninsula, provides stunning 360-degree views of the Hunua ranges and some of the Hauraki Gulf islands. Clevedon or Maraetai are both just minutes away if you want to explore further afield.
Te Kuiti House
Next door to Te Whetuki house on Umupuia beach lies two-bedroom Te Kuiti Cottage which sleeps four people. The beach is a great place for swimming or exploring the shoreline at low tide. At the northwestern end of Umupuia beach lies Umupuia Marae, the home of Ngāi Tai ke Tāmaki, while the southeastern end lies the homestead of the Duder family whose ancestors farmed the land that is in the regional park.
Festival-goers will have nothing but fond memories of Tapapakanga Regional Park famed for hosting the epic Splore festival every year. Now you can relive those heady days from your roost at the three-bedroom Tapapakanga bach, which is surrounded by farmland. With elevated views over the regional park and the lower part of Tikapa Moana (Hauraki Gulf) across to the Coromandel Ranges, this bach is a great place to unwind and relax. With walks crisscrossing the park and historic sites lying within, Tapapakanga Regional Park is a great place to explore while you stay.
Wenderholm Beach House
Wenderholm Beach House is a three-bedroom home in Wenderholm Regional Park, which did you know, was Auckland’s first regional park? Located right on the beachfront it is a perfect getaway. The park has some of Auckland’s best examples of mainland coastal forest to enjoy. With Orewa just 10 minutes away this is a great home away from home where you could spend a week and still travel in to town if you had to.
This bach is the perfect accommodation for anyone who loves a good soak as the hot pools in Parakai are just next door. The original campground manager’s house is also a very handy base for any exploration around South Kaipara including mountain biking, horse riding, tree climbing, fishing on the harbour or just hanging out. Plan a wholesome stay here as you're not allowed alcohol at this bach but you can sober party with beds for up to eight people.
Kaipātiki Tiny Home
This accommodation is a unique opportunity to see what tiny homes are all about. Sleeping up to four people, the space is brilliantly utilised and includes a kitchen and flat-screen TV. In the same campground as the Kaipātiki Bach, this tiny home is perfect if you want more of an intimate quiet option for your digs. Get in early enough and you could even score both if you wanted to extend your getaway vibes to more of the crew. Like its neighbour, alcohol is also prohibited here.
Like what you see? All of these options can be booked through Auckland Council by going to the book accommodation in our parks page on the council website.
Itching to go on more local escape adventures? Here's eight towns near Auckland to visit while you're there.
Image credit: Auckland Council