22 December, 2005
Alex and Clayton enjoying the swing
What I enjoyed most (which Alex doesn't!) is the fun of staying in different sorts of accommodation throughout the entire holiday. Altogether, we stayed at 20 different places - from quality backpackers, to apartments, to hotels, to lodges - wasn't that fun?
Each of these accommodation has its own character and there are few we like more than others and this is usually so. But having said that, I don't think New Zealand will ever be short of beds! Even the cheapest backpackers looks clean and comfy.
I will share in this page what we think/feel about some of the places we stayed. I must stress that these are our 'own' opinions and it is based on the type of room and category stayed during our time of travel.
When in Auckland, we stayed at three different hotels - The Duxton, The Sebel Suites and The Ascott Metropolis. Of all three, we love the Ascott. Not only is it located in the heart of the city, it is near the 'happening' Vulcan Lane and High Street. Yes - you guess it! I enjoyed the shopping and cafes in the area. Besides, it's close to the ferry terminal, the harbour and even the city grocery store!
The views from the rooms is fantastic. Depending on the weather, you can even catch a glimpse of Waiheke Island.
Another great place we adore is The Crows Nest Villa at Opua. To me, this is one of the best kept secret in this area.
Opua is a three hour leisure drive from Auckland City. This place is a real treat! It can comfortably sleeps up to 6 people and the villa is full-equipped with en-suite and a nice kitchen.
This is important for me as I need a place to do some simple cooking for little Clayton.
There are two villas to choose from and we opt for the Bridge Deck Villa. Clayton enjoyed the swinging bench in the living room and Alex loves the balcony and the deck. Me? I love everything about the villa!
Opua is only few minutes drive from Paihia. Paihia is a little seaside village and most tour operators are based here. There are many ( I do mean 'many'!) accommodations in Paihia. It is not difficult to find out that suits your budget.
For us, this is a good opportunity to experience what's like to sleep in a seaview villa. We can never afford one like this in Malaysia. It's so refreshing to wake up with a view!
The Coromandel, New Zealanders favourite destination
Moving on to the Coromandel, Cathedral Cove Villas at the Hahei Holiday Resort is a true value-for-money place to stay. Moreover, it is situated just next to the beach. And if you have a bigger group, you can opt for the two-bedroom which overlooks the sea.
Besides the villas, this is also a holiday accommodation park. Hahei Holiday Resort offers a bed for every budget from a family camping holiday, comfort cabins, deluxe villas to backpackers and motorhome sites ('Wohnmobil').
Hahei and Hot Water Beach has many B&Bs, lodges and motels too. Not many of the B&Bs and lodges accept little children though. So do write to enquire first before making your choice.
For more accommodation choices in the Mercury Bay and Whitianga area, check http://www.whitianga.co.nz/accommodation.html
“Rotorua - feel the spirit – Manaakitanga”
We stayed at the Troutbeck Cottage in Rotorua. The owners, Jack and Di owned few lakeview properties in and around Rotorua district.
We stayed at the upper room with a panoramic of Rotorua Lake. The cottage is clean and cosy tho' we find ourselves a little catasphobic staying in the bedroom. I wish the bed was a little bigger. It was full moon that night and believe me, the moon from the room was the clearest and roundest I have ever seen!
Rotorua is home to many international hotel chains. There is a bed for any budget in Rotorua - I really mean 'any'! This is perhaps the most visited tourist destination in the North Island.
For a list of accommodation directory in Rotorua, check http://www.rotoruanz.com/accommodation/accomm_directory.asp
We decide to stay only one night in Rotorua after being warned by some locals about the sulphur aroma in this town.
Being a paranoid mum travelling with a one year old baby, I took the advice quite seriously. (I discovered later that it isn't that bad after all. So parents - relax...)
Another two more nights were then spent in Lake Taupo, which is within an hour's drive from Rotorua.
In Taupo, I pick The Baycrest Motor Lodge, an award-winning luxury motor lodge. We stayed in the one bedroom with a cute thermal tub in the courtyard. It is quite a romantic choice for couples. We soaked ourselves in the thermal heated tub after putting Clayton to sleep - that was relaxing and nice!
Lake Taupo is less touristy than Rotorua. So if you prefer a more relaxed and less crowded place to stay, Taupo is the choice. At least, you won't see that many big tourist buses.
The Mount, Bay of Plenty
Next is Mount Maunganui. We only decide on where to stay when we arrive at The Mount. We choose the Oceanside Twin Towers Resort after doing some on-the-spot accommodation shopping.
The one bedroom apartment is well-priced at NZ$170 for its location. It comes with a spacious kitchen - fully equipped, a separate bedroom and two bathrooms.
We requested for one with a partial view of the Mount and the sea. The apartment-style living room is big and Clayton has lots of room to crawl around. It is nice and cosy with a balcony overlooking the sea and The Mount.
There are few places which stand out from the crowd near The Mount - The Pavilions, Hot Spot and Oceanview Luxury Apartments (the luxury arm of Oceanside). Rates for these luxury choices start from NZ$200, depending on the season.
Wellington - The Windy City!
Finally, we spend our last two nights in the North Island in the new Bolton Hotel, Wellington. This is a nice hotel located in the hub of Wellington city, tucked at the corner of Bolton and Mowbray Streets.
We are so happy that we chose this apartment-style hotel as it was cold and windy during the two days we were there.
So we spent alot of time in the hotel room, lazing at the comfortable king -size bed, watching the trees swaying with the strong winds.
The furnishings in the room is chic, tasteful and modern. Even the kitchen is impressive - stainless steel finishing with a minimalist feel.
I will definitely recommend this hotel to anyone for enjoys style and comfort. I like the idea of free internet surfing at the foyer too.
The Bolton offers weekday specials and weekend packages on a regular basis starting from NZ$169.
Cathedral Cove Villas, Hahei
Outside Oceanview Resort, Mount Maunganui
Our comfy room in Bolton Hotel, Wellington
Posted by WAHM at 11:29 p.m.