New Zealand family holidays are the stuff dreams – and great memories – are made of. Our writers reminisce on favourite holidays of days gone by.
The 4-5 hour drive up to Ahipara from Auckland is one that I remember and have had great memories of visiting as a kid and into my teens. I hope to make it a tradition as I get older – the chance to escape the city and head to a place that has a sense of sweeping spirituality about it; and an untouched, rugged beauty too. One of my favourite things to do on the drive up was to keep a tally of all the Ratana churches we passed along the way.
There are vivid memories of the 4×4 tracks and feeling like I was on some space expedition on the moon while riding on quad bikes; along with the golden potato fritters and fresh snapper from Bidz takeaways that we always looked forward to after a day of swimming. Sometimes I’d get my pencils out and sketch the landscape. My first time atop a horse was as a spotty teen along Ninety-Mile beach, riding past the crashing waves at Shipwreck Bay, breathing in the air, and realising at that moment how happy and free I felt. If there was ever a moment I wanted to badly re-visit in recent weeks — it was this.
Charteris Bay was just a 45min drive from Christchurch in our big old yellow van, the affordable, sensible vehicle of choice for a family of seven in the late 80s.
The beach at Charteris Bay never rates in the top 10 beaches in Canterbury. It’s a locals’ beach — small and secluded. Driving past, you wouldn’t even know it existed, as you first must scramble down dozens of dodgy steps carved into the earth, snaking around giant eucalyptus trees.
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