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If you do fly north for the summer, Mt Maunganui and Piha often rustle up the prizes when lists are drawn up. Surely you can’t argue with Ninety Mile Beach getting a look in either. However, when you are the backdrop to films, including The Piano and Xena, Warrior Princess (good ol’ Lucy Lawless), it’s little wonder Karekare Beach, on Auckland’s west coast, was named the second best beach in the world, second only to L’Espiguette Beach, in France, by a US magazine called Passport. International favourite: If you’re a little sick of bumping into people you know on a Kiwi beach, pack your togs for Seychelles – where the sand is described as ‘talcum powder’. Though plan B would have to be Harbour Island on the Bahamas, as this remote destination offers pink sands – something different for Kiwis. Style local: After many arguments in the office, we had to agree to disagree on our fave waterside haven. The vote was split between anywhere within The Sounds and the Southern Lakes.

Casa do Pego

Casa do Pego

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BAGS PACKED FOR THE BACH There are different levels of escapism to achieve here. Is it about leaving the world behind, or taking it with you? If you can’t stand the thought of sitting idle at any moment, your holiday house is going to have to be well equipped. This might be as simple as having a heated swimming pool, perhaps a sauna, or, on the extreme end of the scale, choosing a place with a private water park. Celine Dion and her husband, who has since died, knew how to put all the cherries on top when they developed their Florida property to include two swimming pools, two water slides and water cannons. Despite being a stone’s throw from a white sand beach, occupants are likely to be kept well entertained within the property’s twohectare perimeter. When getting away means leaving everything behind, eco-friendly retreats become the ones to seek. Remote access goes from meaning ‘I can work from home’ to ‘My convertible isn’t going to handle that slope’, and you can forget about digital devices. International favourite: We’ve fallen in love with a place that has it all – an architecturally-designed home that rises out of sand dunes in Portugal. Casa do Pego is a three-bedroom home that also boasts its own heated pool, though metres from Pego Beach, which is known for its top quality water and silken sands. Its rural, isolated and the lap of luxury.

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