Last weekend I took time out with a good friend from Wellington and headed for Waitarere Beach.
There is nothing like the sound of the sea at night crashing on the beach, fantastic company along with good food and wine to make for a fun, relaxing weekend. It was a long-overdue catch-up time and we were hoping for lazy mornings (beyond 7am is usually a sleep-in for me) sunny days and lazy walks. And a real bach!
I find people's perception of what constitutes a beach bach is very different. I think of a bach as somewhere you can go to relax and unwind. Comfortable seating and beds are a must, perhaps a deck, but if not, a grassy area to sit and enjoy each other's company - and assorted furniture, accessories, books and music to help create that relaxed atmosphere.
And what we found was the perfect retreat - a little Iconic Kiwi Bach on an easy-care section thanks to Ralph and Julia who own this lovely delight. Three bedrooms just for sleeping, a shower and toilet cubicle, washhouse and open-plan area consisting of kitchen, dining and lounge which opened out to the east and west capturing the sun at both ends of the day and a place to relax in a sheltered area depending on the wind direction.
And what made it an Iconic Kiwi Bach? It looks like it was built around the 1950s, but hard to tell as it has been altered a little over the years and boasts a new roof, freshly painted fibrolite walls with battens over the joins and white timber joinery with the exception of one door; nice and fresh looking. It is nestled on an elevated section but not quite high enough to see the sea but we could definitely hear it. Just inside the front door is a log burner (real wood) for those chilly winter nights and days, because the beach shouldn't just be reserved for summer. Our West Coast beaches are just as much fun in the winter as the summer we just use them differently with the change of the seasons. The bach has been opened up a little so the kitchen I'm assuming isn't as cut off from the other room.
I can imagine when families and friends come together there would be lots of laughter and talking done here. You could easily seat 10 people in this area, a tight squeeze, but then isn't that what holidays are for? Getting together, sharing, fun and creating memories.
This room is a work in progress. You don't really notice that so much, but I did notice the colours and the textures and the little bits and pieces hung or placed here and there. Through the main living area there has been a soft grey plush cut-pile carpet and in the kitchen is the old carpet that is similar if not the same as the old striped carpets we used to sit on at school - a little bit of Kiwiana from my childhood and beyond.
An eclectic mix of old and new furniture, the little classic metal chairs from the 50s/60s still dressed in their original coverings, 70s dining chairs with a laminate table, a little nest of tables so handy for rooms with limited space, a classic little Formica coffee table and an F&P; radiogram on the wall. This little gem has a hidden turntable between the speakers and radio, a nice surprise.
And, of course, no Kiwi Bach would be complete without a guitar or two in the corner for those late-night sing-a-longs. The kitchen is stocked with memorabilia from some of my childhood and beyond: an old blue can opener attached to the wall, good old Kiwi (orange) fly swats, an assortment of china from the early 70s along with a trusty brown F&P; fridge. Lots of 'I remember and we had one of those' during the cooking sessions ...
Little pieces of artwork around the walls also, a modern take on our classic images of Kiwi pav, Weetbix, Jandals, an old red-dial telephone and our classic-shaped caravan. And what I particularly liked were old sunhats hanging on the wall, much loved and well used.
So, all in all, a sun-drenched Kiwi bach, filled with memories, laughter, songs and storytelling. Generations have passed through this place to relax, unwind and come together. A BIG thank-you to Ralph and Julia for your generosity and in keeping a little part of our Kiwi holiday heritage alive!
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