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Field Guide to the Ultimate Blokes Weekend

Ah - the boys’ weekend. You might have a reason for going away with your mates: a birthday, celebration, race or end-of-season trip with your team. Or maybe you just need a break…

Spend time with friends, escape from the routine of work and family for a bit, and have a weekend doing something you’re all into. It might be fishing, hunting, mountain-biking or just having a laugh. Head into the mountains, up a river, go bush, or out on the waves. Whatever the case, sometimes blokes just need the space to do bloke stuff, with other blokes. No man is an island… Get out there together!

Use this Field Guide for the Ultimate Blokes’ Weekend as a handbook and inspiration for planning an awesome getaway with mates.

1. The All-Rounder Weekend

A getaway focused on chilling out and switching off, with a touch of activity thrown in if you want it. This is the way to go if you’re catching up with mates you haven’t seen in ages or planning the end-of-year sporting trip and you just want an easy place to hang out. The key is a bach that gives you options – activities on hand if you want them, and loads of space just to sit and relax with a beer.

Bay of Islands, fishing from deck The Boat House, Opua

Bach must haves:

Without specific activities in mind, the perfect bach will be a combination of location and facilities - pretty much any bach, anywhere that suits your particular sized group. Look for a bach with a games room and pool table, an enormous TV, awesome barbecue and loads of outdoor deck space to hold the chilly bins full of beer. Find one close to the water if you’re keen on swimming, fishing or boating.

Okiwi Bay Delight, Marlborough Okiwi Bay Delight, Marlborough

The perfect all-rounder: Okiwi Bay Delight, Marlborough

Why you’ll love it:

The ULTIMATE weekender for guys, this amazing bach perched above the bay boasts everything a group of fellas could want for a long weekend. There’s tons of room for boats and cars, a nearby boat ramp and 2 fish cleaning benches. Plus a fully equipped games room with pool table, dart board, 50” TV and expansive decks for sitting back and sinking a cold one!

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2. The Hunter-Gatherer Weekend

There’s nothing that says “blokes’ weekend” more than heading out together to catch your dinner. There’s a lot of pride and good old male bonding when you’ve bagged the big one. Fishing or diving, pig, duck or deer hunting…take your pick! The beaut thing about our country is there are so many options that are easily accessible, and you don’t have to be super experienced to give it a go.

Diving, Jackson Bay Jackson Bay Retreat, West Coast

Bach must haves:

Totally immerse yourself in a remote location with close proximity to a river, the sea or the bush. Try places like the Coromandel or Far North for fishing, the West Coast or the Central Plateau for hunting, and maybe the East Cape or Great Barrier for diving. Lake Taupo is legendary for trout fishing. Look for a bach with plenty of room for gear storage and cleaning your equipment. And if you don’t have your own gear or haven’t been hunting before, some baches offer a guide service to take you out. 

Triple Tui Log Cabin, Murchison Triple Tui Log Cabin

Immerse yourself in the bush at Triple Tui, Murchison

Why you’ll love it:

If you love the outdoors, then this awesome log cabin with Kahurangi National Park at your doorstep has your name written all over it. Totally off the grid, this remote and peaceful lodge is perfect for a spot of fly fishing, deer hunting, bushwalking and swimming, with the Hope River running through the property. For the more adventurous, there’s also white water rafting nearby! As an added bonus, you can ask Steve about his fly fishing or deer/chamois hunting guided service.

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3. The Action-Adventure Weekend

Leave the fishing rods at home boys, this weekend is for guys that want to completely switch off from their day jobs, get out of town and get the adrenaline going. Perfect for stag dos, or celebrating a birthday milestone where you want to do something a little different. The key to the perfect action-adventure weekend is a spot that has lots on offer – look for luges, go carts, bungy, zorb, white water rafting, mountain biking - anything that will get the heart racing and the thrill level up!

White water rafting
White water rafting

Bach must haves:

Location, location, location is the key! Adventure hubs like Queenstown, Rotorua or Lake Taupo are a good place to base yourself. The bach must have plenty of space for all the gang, and look for ones with the added bonus of hot tubs, saunas or that are close to a hot pool so you can ease the aching bones at the end of a hard-core day.

Rotovegas House, Rotorua Rotovegas House

Be close to the action at Rotovegas House, Rotorua

Why you’ll love it:

The name says it all, in one word, this bach totally ROCKS! Smack bang in the middle of Rotorua, only a few minutes walk to town, Rotovegas is ideally situated to access all the action on offer. There’s enough room for 15 fellas (or up to 20 if some are keen to top ‘n’ tail in the queen beds). Plus the added bonus of loads of parking for cars, minibuses and trailers, secure storage and cleaning area for mountain bikes, a private spa pool and access to a heated outdoor pool and sauna. And if that wasn’t awesome enough, how about the fact that it’s across the road from Countdown, The Mad Butcher and a bottle store? That’s the barbie sorted right there! Bam!

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4. The Fine Art Appreciation Weekend

The fine art of beer brewing for example! One thing we can be proud of is we’re “world famous in New Zealand” for the quality of our craft beers. Maybe you’re drawn by an event for connoisseurs: Beervana, Oktoberfest, or another craft beer expo. Or just make your own occasion: get the fellas together, hitting the town and working your way round the best boutique breweries on offer. There’ll be plenty of time for tall tales and loud jokes in between sips, and hopefully a pie or a mean steak along the way.

Your main city centres are the places to hit if you want to line up an itinerary of boutique brewery visits. Auckland, Christchurch, Nelson and Dunedin have quite a few, but it’s Welly that’s known as the Craft Beer Capital and our pick of the bunch. Read our guide to Craft Beer in NZ for more info.

The fine art of loud music might lure you too – gather up your fellow music buffs and head off on a road-trip to a festival, or a great concert. Laneways, the legendary Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers, or the Opera House in Wellington – whatever works for you.

Beervana, Wellington
Photo credit: Beervana

Bach must haves:

You want to be in walking distance, or a cheap cab ride, from the main hub for easy getting around. Priority is the ability to keep it simple and focus on “getting out and doing” rather than staying in. However, look for a bach with loads of entertainment extras so you do have have the ideal chill-out pad to head back to. 

The Wellington Container House, Wellington The Wellington Container House, Wellington

Get a little funky at The Wellington Container House, Wellington

Why you’ll love it:

Industrial design in style and created out of three vertically aligned containers, this contemporary and unique bach is a short 10 min drive out of town. The total WOW factor comes with the penthouse cinema room with 100” HD projector screen, SKY TV with Sky Sports and PS3 for DVDs, Blu-ray, and loads of games that are all included. Oops, sorry, we forgot to mention the 8ft billiards table in the games room! Perfect for smaller groups, and those that would love a quirky, unconventional, easy, lock-up-and-leave weekend.

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5. The Sporty Weekend

The one thing you can categorically say about NZ is that if you love sport, you’re in luck! Play it, watch it, talk it about, there’s heaps going on. There are no boundaries on where to go for the best sporting weekend if you’re not fussy on location or maybe want to stay closer to home. In most cases you’ll be able to play golf at a top-notch golf course, rack the bikes for cycling or mountain biking, pack the kit for a tramp in the bush or hit the coast for surfing or paddle boarding, without much effort at all.

Main goal of this weekend – get some fresh air, blow off some steam and make the most of the great outdoors! Baches at Raglan or Muriwai give you lots of options – surf, kayak, run, mountain-bike or play golf. Wanaka and Queenstown have fantastic spots for snowsports, hiking, biking and kayaking.

Mountain Biking
Mountain biking in Queenstown

Bach must haves:

The ideal bach would be situated to cater to several sporting activities but would also have a great outlook for winding down at the end of a full-on day. Look for a place with plenty of room for gear and sports equipment or one that provides it for you.

12079, Tower House, Muriwai The Tower House, Muriwai

Bush, golf and waves at The Tower House, Muriwai, Auckland

Why you’ll love it:

With a 3-storey tower, large decks and a spectacular location above Muriwai Beach, you’ll get a great view of the waves. There are tennis courts, pools and horse hire around the corner. Plus it’s close to the golf course, and Woodhill Forest is on the doorstep, if you fancy mountain-biking, dirt bikes or flying foxes.

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5. The Retreat Weekend

Kiwi manhood’s not all beer, rugby and gumboots these days. You’re just as likely to find a big beard on a hipster poet as a pig-hunter. Head off on a weekend away with your drumming circle, your book club, your fathers’ group. Surround yourselves with nature, play music, cook, meditate - why not? There’s plenty of room in Aotearoa for more artists, poets, philosophers and a sweat lodge or two.

Whitebaiting, West Coast Pukekura Lodge, Westland

Bach must haves:

Look for somewhere with great views, natural surrounds and peace and quiet. It might be an off-grid eco-retreat, or a comfortable lodge that feels a million miles from anywhere. Maybe you have to hike in, to a cob hut in the high country, or boat there. Places like the Coromandel, Waiheke and the Nelson/Golden Bay area have long been home to artists, and those after an alternative lifestyle. Off you go – into the wild.

Coromandel Holiday Retreat Coromandel Holiday Retreat

Swimming holes, forest and an eco-sanctuary at Coromandel Holiday Retreat

Why you’ll love it:

You’ll be surrounded by bush, with the sounds of native birds, a river to swim in, and views over the Coromandel Ranges. There’s room for 25, and you can enjoy the outdoor BBQ fireplace, play drums, darts or pool, and relax in the spa pool, gazing at stars.

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