While international travel may have been put on hold in 2020, dreams of far-flung destinations have not.
According to recent data released by Booking.com, during the weeks in lockdown an overwhelming majority (95 percent) of New Zealand travellers spent time looking for holiday inspiration, with over a third (38 percent) looking at potential travel destinations as often as once a week.
Social media may be a common source of inspiration for travellers when daydreaming about travel, but one third (33 percent) of respondents said looking through old photographs from previous trips helped them decide on a future getaway.
Aotearoa has no shortage of beautiful places to explore and as we're out of lockdown going into summer, Kiwis are being given the chance to return to their roots and revisit places around the country that hold special memories.
"Just as much as we want to head overseas, there are so many summertime experiences - from hot chips eaten fresh off the paper to enjoying great conversations with family and friends late into the night – that we can find comfort in right here in our own backyard," says Todd Lacey, area manager of Booking.com.
"When there is so much uncertainty happening in the world, taking a trip to a place one can be guaranteed they will love is an easy win."
For those looking for an escape from the everyday, Booking.com has compiled a list of nostalgic properties across New Zealand.
Hot Water Beach
Formed by violent volcanic activity thousands of years ago lies an absolute gem of the Coromandel Peninsula, Hot Water Beach. Many Kiwis will certainly be able to remember their childhood experience of heading to the iconic beach with buckets and shovels, ready to dig holes on the beach to create hot water mini sand baths. Annual visitor numbers have been estimated at 700,000, making it one of the most popular geothermal attractions in the Waikato region.
Where to stay: Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park is located a convenient 700m from the famous beach, making it just a little walk away. With a variety of chalets, bungalows and villas, there are options for families, couples, or even a solo adventurer.
Making the top ten of trending destinations from recent data, this is still a popular getaway spot. The small town in Hokianga came to fame in the 1950s due to Opo the bottlenose dolphin, who would visit during the summer and play with the local children. Many New Zealanders will have fond memories of this beautiful beach, which still has plenty to offer.
Where to stay: Opononi Hotel offers visitors a rich, historical experience for those wanting to explore beautiful Northland. Guests can wind down after a day of riding the sand dunes with a cold drink and a bowl of hot chips.
Like many parts of the Coromandel Peninsula in the late 1800s, the main attraction for settlers was the gold and timber. Prospectors began mining operations around Whangamata in 1887, on a ridge in the Wentworth valley near the Wairoa Stream, calling the area the Goldwater Claim. Whangamata is a relatively quiet town during the year, before hundreds of visitors from Auckland and all around the North Island flock in the summertime. Offering a long stretch of beautiful beach which evolves into an estuary, this holiday hotspot will take visitors back to their memories of renting a Bach for the whole whānau to enjoy.
Where to stay: Pipi Palace encompasses everything a traditional Kiwi bach should be and is filled with character and beach vibes.
Those who like to head up to Northland for the summer months may like to discover Matapouri, a coastal settlement 35km north-east of Whangarei. Te Wai o Te Taniwha, the Mermaid Pools, were a major tourist destination at Matapouri, but were closed indefinitely in 2019. But there's still plenty to rediscover such as the walkway via the coast to Whale Bay.
Where to stay: Spectacular Woolleys Bay – Matapouri Holiday Home is situated just 50m from the beach, offering beautiful sea views and outdoor living. This spacious holiday home is an ideal spot for visitors to bask in the slow lifestyle Northland has to offer.
For those who live in or near Otago, Arrowtown is an easy win when it comes to holidays. The area is rich in history as a historical gold mining town that was colonised by the British and Chinese gold miners. Arrowtown is charming and quirky, nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River.
Where to stay: Arrowtown Country Cottage is a cozy stay perfect for families who want to reminisce on their memorable getaways. The cottage is full of character, with an outdoor patio in the adorable garden.