This Christmas we celebrated in a classic kiwi bach at the seaside. A bach is a NZ term for simple accommodation – a holiday house without fuss. It had an outside toilet, room for a tent, a deck to enjoy the view out to the bay. The bedrooms were cosy, but the kitchen easily provided the means to feed the extended family, and a BBQ on the deck is an added bonus.
At the entrance a large red flowering pohutukawa is all a New Zealander needs to think it is Christmas.
Our bach was at Little Akaloa, a small bay on the Banks Peninsula near Christchurch. More about our bach.
You can book your own bach anywhere in NZ on the Book a Bach website, most of them are owned by families who only use them a few weeks a year.
The trees surrounding the property provided an island that enabled us to imagine we were the only ones for miles.
They also provided habitat for the bellbirds whose song delighted us in the mornings and evenings, and all through the day. Wood pigeons – Kereru visited regularly during the day, and the red flowering pohutukawa over the drive provided nectar for countless birds and bees.
There were lemon trees and herbs growing wild, and a multi layered garden for the kids to play in.
A few twigs, a sprig of Pohutukawa flowers and some tinsel in the window provided our Christmas tree, and presents soon collected below it.
Christmas Day the table was laid under the trees for shade.
We have left the kayaks down by the water, where mussels and tuatua can be collected at low tide. It is an easy walk to the beach.
Nearby is the small beautifully formed Church of St Lukes Akaloa with it’s beautiful Maori themed decor. We join others in filling the Church for a 5pm Christmas Eve Service.
This is not a holiday of malls and boxing day specials, it is a holiday of gentle relaxing, reading, eating, playing board games, kayaking and swimming. An excursion to nearby bays is the only outing, and not a shop or café in sight. We are out of cell phone range, the internet is not so much banned as simply unavailable.