After enduring a year of uncertainty in 2020, the summer has been sweet and internationally envied here in our Aotearoa bubble. But with the sun setting earlier and earlier at the day’s end, it’s time to take advantage of the lingering warmer days by exploring everything that our backyard has to offer.

From the East Coast to the West, there is something for everyone. While we still have the glorious sunshine, pack your bags and take off with your family, friends and lovers for one last summer adventure!

Even if you’ve used up all of your annual leave, the pandemic has altered our ability to work from anywhere – even holiday. No longer confined to five days a week in an office and desperate for a change of scenery from Working From Home (WFH), Booking.com has predicted that we’ll see a significant rise in the “workcation”. Nearly a third (32%) of travellers have already considered booking somewhere to stay in order to work from a different destination. Now that there are zero excuses to not book that last minute holiday, you can dial in to your next Zoom meeting from the beach! 

For inspiration on where to enjoy the last of the summer sun, and to find award-winning properties to stay at on your trips, read on. Each of the following properties received a Booking.com Traveller Review Award in 2021, meaning they’ve been globally recognised for making travel experiences more memorable for all. With the frequent unforeseen changes in our ability to travel, Booking.com offers flexibility and a range of convenient cancellation options when you book, so you can still make plans and feel confident you won’t lose out if last-minute changes come up.

NEW PLYMOUTH

Located on the rugged West Coast of the North Island, New Plymouth offers stunning 360-degree views of the Tasman. The ocean surrounding Mount Taranaki makes this place a party for the eyes, so make sure you’ve packed your camera.

If you’re keen on hitting the surf, dabbling in a wide choice of scenic walks, or if you’re there for the great selection of food and drinks, New Plymouth is a great place to explore.

Surf or swim the world-renowned Fitzroy beach and catch the sunset across the beautiful west coast. Stroll the unmissable Coastal Walkway, stretching the entire length of the city, or go for a feast at the ‘Social Kitchen’ in Powderham Street.

WHERE TO STAY

After a day’s exploring, head along the coast to the beachside town of Oakura where the charming Ahu Ahu Beach Villas await. Set on a vast hill top with incredible oceanside views, the villas offer the perfect spot to enjoy an evening BBQ and grab a bottle of wine, as the sun sets on the stunning West coast skyline.

These unique villas are oozing with charm and character making for an extra special end to a fantastic summer.

HAHEI, COROMANDEL

Hahei is a must-do on the summer itinerary. This iconic beach town in the Coromandel is home to glorious white sand beaches and clear blue waters. Encompassed by grand Pohutukawa trees, Hahei beach is a fantastic place for families to relax and play.  

The town’s charming streets, attractive climate, and relaxing vibes make for an ideal vacation spot. Spend your last days of summer taking the famous walk to Cathedral Cove, eating and afternoon drinking at the residential food trucks at Hahei campground and spending endless hours at the beach with nowhere to be but there.  

WHERE TO STAY

Located on the Hahei beachfront, Hahei Holiday Resort offers self-contained accommodation with cooking amenities and great ocean views. As the beach and shops are all a leisurely stroll away, these holiday homes are the ideal situation for a traditional Kiwi summer holiday.

With a variety of room sizes and accommodation types on offer, the resort has something suitable to any group and budget. Take your family or friends for a relaxing stay and watch your worries melt away.

MANGAWHAI

An easy hour and a half drive north of Auckland, you’ll gladly find yourself in magical Mangawhai. Head away with your favourite company and choose from a plethora of activities from the active to the relaxation.

Walk the Mangawhai cliff for alluring views and go surfing at one of the local surf beaches such as Te Arai or Forestry. Head across the estuary for a spot of dune-boarding – or simply stay put landside and enjoy ocean views the magnificent dunes present.

WHERE TO STAY

Enjoy the perfect summer stay at the Tui & Nikau Cabins. This modern but homely accommodation offers beautiful garden views and is pleasantly secluded to let you truly escape the day to day. Relax in this naturally lit abode after a day of exploring the local area. Have a glass, toast some marshmallows and enjoy this escape.

AHIPARA

On the southern end of 90 Mile Beach discover the untouched West coast town of Ahipara. Watch horses run wild on the beach, catch a wave at Shipwreck Bay, rent out off-roading quad bikes or check out the famous local Fish n Chip shop for a sunset dinner. If it’s high action or relaxation you’re after, Ahipara will tick all the boxes for you. Make the most of the summery weather, pack the car and head up to the serene landscape of Ahipara to satisfy those holiday cravings.

WHERE TO STAY

Come take a big breath of fresh air at the Endless Summer Lodge in Ahipara for a pleasant weekend away. This lodge offers idyllic beachfront accommodation in a historic 1870s villa. Guests can relax in the hammocks, or enjoy a walk along 90 Mile Beach. At the end of your day, come back for a lush, wood-fired pizza in the traditional oven, built on the beautiful back deck. Book yourself a weekend of simple pleasures and enjoy everything that the Endless Summer Lodge provides

 PAIHIA

Known as the gateway to the Bay of Islands, Paihia is sure to stun with its good looks. Pop on the ferry to Russell for the day, or you can head five minutes over to Waitangi and delve into our country’s rich history, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the Paihia township. A small place with big character and endless surrounding places to visit will make for an exciting and scenic trip away. Paihia’s romantic landscapes will have you falling in love with New Zealand all over again.

WHERE TO STAY

Enjoy the warm earthy tones at the attractive ‘Cliff Edge by the Sea’ property. Set on a peaceful hilltop with grand bay views, this expansive holiday home offers free Wi-Fi and breakfast. An easy two-minute walk from the beach, this property is sure to impress every guest. Come and explore the Bay of Islands for the day and cosy up with a nice cuppa (or vino) for a relaxing evening back at Cliff Edge by the Sea.