Country Road Punakaiki

Firstly, what is bach you ask? Well a bach (pronounced “batch”) is a house, a home, a crib, a hut… it’s usually a small and often very modest holiday home in New Zealand. Baches are an iconic part of New Zealand’s history and culture. They give us an opportunity to escape and to explore. An opportunity to be a part of the land. Our first story takes us across to the West Coast of the South Island (or ‘the coast’ as locals call it). We hired a bach in Punakaiki, the gateway to the Paparoa National Park. Punakaiki is renowned for its rocky coastline, lush rainforests and deserted beaches. The famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes remind us of how beautiful mother nature can be in rain, hail or shine. The West Coast is rugged and raw. It’s an honest and untouched beauty which makes visiting all the more unique. Our home for the weekend is an incredibly loved and quintessential kiwi bach. Hidden away off the coastal highway and built on solid rock that faces out towards the Tasman Sea, Woodpecker Bay Bach is a place where stories are made. If you’re lucky, some of the local wildlife (seals and penguins) may even pop in to say hello. A trip to the West Coast would not complete without a whitebait sandwich. A whitebait fritter (whitebait, egg and a pinch of salt and pepper) in between a couple of slices of crunchy, fresh white bread and some freshly squeezed lemon, and you’ve got yourself a true kiwi favourite! During the spring months, you’ll often see locals out ‘whitebaiting’ in rivers trying to catch some of this renowned delicacy. If you manage to get some, park up on a deserted beach, with a locally brewed Monteiths Radler in hand and watch that famous West Coast sunset. It’ll be a moment that will stay with you forever.

Mark Townshend