When it comes to accommodation, the humble bach is arguably the most quintessentially “Kiwi” place to stay.
It’s also the most appealing, at least according to research conducted by Booking.com.
Most Kiwis (68 per cent) say they’d seek out a bach-style place when booking accommodation, the research reported.
It was the most popular first choice by far, followed by “cosy cabin” (33 per cent) and “country cottages” (32 per cent).
Kiwis aren’t alone in their love of a bach. A “classic beach house” was the top choice of accommodation for almost half (46 per cent) of travellers across the Asia Pacific region.
What’s good about a bach? It may be that it feels representative of New Zealand. Most baches are located near beaches, something two in five (43 per cent) Kiwis surveyed said was the top quality that made a holiday home “uniquely Kiwi”.
However, Australians may contest this, with 40 per cent stating beach access made a holiday home uniquely Australian.
Pronounced “batch” (and sometimes called a crib in the southern South Island), a Kiwi bach tends to be small and modest. The latter is an important point that distinguishes a flashy holiday home fitted out with marble benchtops, high-speed Wi-Fi and massive bedrooms from a good old-fashioned bach - the kind that looks like a relic of the ‘70s and ‘80s, with worn wooden furniture, small beds and an assortment of tattered board games.
In the 1950s, these abodes represented the rise of the middle-class beach holiday. As cars became more available and roads improved, people began heading to the beach for weekends and time off, typically to the same spot each time. Naturally, it made sense to build a place to stay and the bach was born.