As spring heralds the return of warmer weather, we identify six holiday home locations you may not have considered boasting summer attractions, easy access from Auckland and surprisingly inexpensive buying opportunities.
An affordable Kiwi holiday home may seem like a pipe dream for many would-be buyers. Many properties in the most popular hotspots within two hours of Auckland have skyrocketed in value in recent years.
But if you’re open to less obvious locations, it’s still possible to find unexpected gems in attractive spots which offer good value for under $600,000, and in some cases much less.
We’ve identified six locations with holiday appeal that shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Some are more accessible with great facilities, while others offer peaceful isolation in the Gulf.
1. Kaiaua, Franklin
With a median price of $365,000, the little seaside bach-town of Kaiaua on the scenic Pacific Coast Highway is truly rock-bottom buying. Roughly 80km (a little over an hour’s drive) from central Auckland on the way to Coromandel, it’s a fishing oasis, famous for its fish and chips and stunning scenery. Life in Kaiaua revolves around the water; you couldn’t live here long without owning a boat. The surrounding area boasts popular attractions like the Miranda Hot Springs, Miranda Shorebird Centre, Hauraki Rail Trail and the beautiful native forest of Waharau Regional Park – making it popular among visitors as well as holiday home owners. Median sales price: $365,000. Was $450,000 in 2017. Five years value change: +1.39 percent. Buying opportunities: plentiful.
2. Port Waikato
Sun, surf and sand are what Port Waikato is all about. On the south bank of the Waikato River where it meets the Tasman Sea, it is a quaint semi-rural town with beautiful sea views and facilities, just over an hour’s drive from Auckland’s downtown, with many holiday baches. It has grown since a store was established here in 1893 and now has a community hall, fire station, library, surf lifesaving club, yachting club, fishing club and a holiday camp. Keen anglers will find plenty of fishing spots. In summer, visitors flock to the surf beach and the river mouth, a great source of whitebait.
Median price: $399,000. Was $410,000 in 2017. Five years value change: +41.5 percent. Buying opportunities: plentiful.
3. Orere Point, Auckland
About an hour’s drive (65km) south-east from the central city, Orere Point is a tranquil spot on the Hauraki Gulf, looking across the Firth of Thames towards Coromandel Peninsula. It has a safe beach for swimming, an abundance of fishing and boating to suit all the family, as well as parks. Nearby Fourforty Mountain Bike Park is rated 5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.
Miranda hot pools are an hour's drive along the Seabird Coast.
Median price: $410,000. Was $535,000 in 2017. Value change in five years: +42.9 percent. Buying opportunities: Cheaper properties becoming harder to find.
4. Matamata, Piako District
Set apart from classic coastal settings, Matamata has its own blend of inland holiday charms. Home of the shire, the town rocketed to fame when the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were launched. Boasting 44 hobbit holes among lush farmland, it is a popular tourist town two hours from Auckland with beautiful natural scenery including Wairere Falls, along with swimming spots and hot pools. It also has heritage trails, nature walks, the Kaimai cheese factory and good cafes. Located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges in the Waikato, 45 minutes from Hamilton, it has an extensive Maori history worth exploring too. Median value: $470,000. Was $460,000 in 2017. Five year value change: +62.6 percent. Buying opportunities: Abundant.
5. Kawau Island, Hauraki Gulf
Kawau Island is 12km, or half an hour by sea, from Sandspit Wharf near Warkworth. The only other access is by sea plane from Auckland, but the regular ferries from Sandspit and water taxis to your jetty make Kawau a feasible option. Known as one of the jewels of the Hauraki Gulf, Kawau boasts stunning beaches, plentiful fish and a rich history to explore with many safe anchorages. There are cafes at Mansion House and Bon Accord bays, plus a boat club with bar and restaurant at Schoolhouse Bay, hugely popular during holiday times. Median price: $505,000. Was $450,000 in 2017. Five year value change: -47.94 percent. Buying opportunities: Many waterfront sections; some baches available at highly attractive prices.
6. Rakino Island, Hauraki Gulf
A tiny island mostly in pasture in the Hauraki Gulf, Rakino offers a unique lifestyle alternative with stunning Gulf views and great beaches just 35 minutes from downtown Auckland, or a 10 minute speedboat trip from Waiheke Island. If peaceful privacy and isolation are what you’re after, then this is the holiday spot for you because access to the island is by private boat. There is a limited public ferry service and no shops or facilities on the island.
Median price: $585,000. Was $405,000 in 2017. Five year value change: +37.7 percent. Buying opportunities: Not many for sale. Classic old baches with sea views are sometimes available for under $200,000.
Price data sourced from OneRoof/CoreLogic