Summer is tantalisingly close: the warmer days and longer nights toying with our lockdown emotions and 'will we, won't we' predictions for imminent freedom. Those of us with our cups half full (and in dire need of something to occupy our time) might like to whip out the dairies, fire up the laptop and start planning the ultimate summer sojourn.
Notepads and pens at the ready - or an excel sheet if you're that way inclined. Here are seven compilations of top-rated accommodation options, from simple campsites to seriously indulgent abodes to propel you into organisation mode. There's something to satisfy every type of holidaymaker.
Best DoC campsites of 2021
Between December 2020 and February 2021, the Department of Conservation's saw 108,000 people stay at bookable DoC campsites and 30,000 at bookable huts across Aotearoa. Meaning, this summer is set to be just as (if not more) popular. If DoC's 2020 summer statistics are anything to go by, those who procrastinate planning may end up celebrating at home.
NZ's top-rated Airbnbs
At the beginning of September, winners of Airbnb's very first Host Awards were announced, recognising the most welcoming, creative and big-hearted hosts around the country.
Winning hosts were selected by judges Shelley Ferguson, host of The Block, and expert Superhost Merrydith Callegari, who sits on Airbnb's global Host Advisory Board. Winners were selected based on extensive Airbnb data, guest scores and reviews.
As the Bach of the Year awards enters its second decade, the definition of the once-humble Kiwi holiday home has been stretched to the limits.
Early September saw Bookabach announce New Zealand's 10 best baches for 2021, the winners of the 11th annual awards. This longlist of winning properties includes a converted barn in Raglan and a palatial holiday home on the Kāpiti Coast with space for 25 - and then some.
Winning baches were judged on bookings and reviews made over the past year, visitor feedback and their overall appeal for family holidays.
Family-friendly luxury lodges
When it comes to lodges we have some world leaders.
... We thought we'd set the bar pretty high when we decided to profile "some of New Zealand's greatest luxury lodges and what makes them so special". Perhaps we didn't realise how many high-end lodgings you can find in and around Aotearoa. So we decided to focus on the best of the best for families.
Top-notch historic hotels
As international borders slowly begin to reopen, travellers worldwide are facing the reality that the way we used to travel will never be the same. This isn't new. The standards of travel have always been changing and evolving. After all, when was the last time you saw silverware in Economy Class?
That doesn't mean that it's not possible to revel in what it was like to explore the world 10 or even 100 years ago. New Zealand's best historic hotels can evoke a distinct sense of time and place, all without sacrificing the modern amenities we've come to expect from great accommodation.
Trendiest tiny houses
Whether you want to try out the tiny house lifestyle or just book a uniquely different Airbnb, spending a few nights in a tiny house is an escape from the everyday.
Embracing simpler, minimalistic living that is close to nature, a tiny house holiday is a chance to get away from it all. These homes highlight simple pleasures, such as enjoying a view, watching a crescendo sunset, sipping a glass of wine by a roaring fire, or opening bedroom doors to the sight of native bush.
Remote lodges with luxe appeal
When we say off-the-beaten-track, we don't mean "at the end of a metal road" or "only reached by kayak". These are all superb lodges - although the Range Rover may break a little sweat on the way.