North Island Hotels

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  • Kakapo2 profile photo Kakapo2
  • Reviews: 1858

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Mahia Beach Motels (between Gisborne and Napier): Dream Location with Sea Views and White Beaches

If you have not heard of Mahia Peninsula yet it is high time to put it on your New Zealand map. It is a dream destination, for us it was our little Rio de Janeiro including a small Mt. Sugarloaf, minus the crowds and criminals. (I have not written my tip about this destination yet, please be patient.)

The motels are part of a holiday park on extensive grounds. We had a first floor unit from where we had breathtaking views over the sea, the white beaches and this "Mt. Sugarloaf". We had kitchen facilities. There was a certain lack of serving bowls, so we had to serve our pasta in a plastic dough kneading bowl (as I can see on the photos), but who cares? Where in the world is everything perfect? And especially: Who cares at such a fantastic location?

The beach is just some steps away, so perfect for swimming and long walks. I gather it is still a magic place although some new houses have been built since our last visit, and actually they are advertising property sales on Mahia Peninsula on TV.

The holiday park (sites cost $12, as March 2007) has a lot of amenities, including games room with pool tables, video games machines and TV, BBQ area, card phone. Fishing charters are available and bicycles for hire.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Beaches
  • Written February 28, 2007

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  • Kakapo2 profile photo Kakapo2
  • Reviews: 1858

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Celtic Motel, Foxton: A Handy Stopover on Way to Taranaki and the Centre

This is a simple but absolutely comfortable and clean motel with 7 ground-floor units in Foxton, located just 1.5 hours north of Wellington and close to SH1 on the way to Taranaki or the centre of the North Island. Foxton is 18kms north of Levin and probably 30kms south-west of Palmerston North.

And it is super quiet and the rates (NZ$79 per unit, as March 2007) are great.

The unit had kitchen facilities, and there was a BBQ area.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip
  • Written February 28, 2007

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  • Kakapo2 profile photo Kakapo2
  • Reviews: 1858

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Bethshan Seaside Cottages, Algies Bay, Warkworth: Directly on the beach with view to Kawau Island

We discovered those cottages about 1hr north of Auckland (without traffic jam...) when searching a place by the sea and a base for our day trip to Kawau Island - and could not get any closer. The Bethshan Seaside Cottages are right at a safe swimming beach, at an absolutely quiet and peaceful location, and, as a plus, with a view to Kawau Island.

The units have different sizes, from small to family units, all with fully equipped kitchen. On the website you get exact descriptions of each unit, so you can tell exactly what you want. 9 ground floor units (2 studio and 1 bedroom sleep 2-3, 7 two-bedroom units sleep 4-6.

It was fantastic to sit on the beach in the evening and have a glass of wine. We also made nice walks along the beach and cliffs and into the native bush. The motel has dinghis and sailboats free for use, sea kayaks for hire. It is definitely a place to stay longer than just a night if the weather is fine.

Apart from swimming and relaxing the number one activity up there is a visit to Kawau Island, on the famous Royal Mailrun, leaving from the Sandspit Wharf north of Algies Bay and Snells Beach. There are also a lot of vineyards.

Rates as Feb. 2007 are $85 single, $125 double (seasonal rates apply).

BTW You will not believe: The name of the owners is Algie - at Algies Bay!

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Road Trip, Beaches
  • Written February 24, 2007
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A place by the sea (photo from motel website)


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  • Kakapo2 profile photo Kakapo2
  • Reviews: 1858

2 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Millennium Hotel and Resort (Manuels), Taupo: Avoid Room 616

(Review by my very tolerant husband John)

This hotel is situated on a prime location on the shores of Lake Taupo. Almost every room has a stunning lake outlook.

I say almost every room because my experience was absolutely disappointing. Firstly I was put in Room 616. You must avoid this room at all costs. Firstly it has a single meter-wide window looking out to the carpark. There is almost no natural light in the room. The room itself is a funny, awkward shape and appears to have been divided off from a larger machine room (more on this later). Obviously someone thought all that space could fit in another room for $200 per night.

As I said the room was next to some machinery room. It was noisy, with the gurgle of running water running through it. I found it impossible to sleep and at 10:30pm on my first night I rang reception and insited on a room change. They did not argue at all - I am sure Room 616 is well known as a problem room.

I spent the rest of the week in Room 822. This was light and airy, with a view of the swimming pool. The room was quite acceptable, but the lake views remain elusive for me. I suspect there are only a handful of rooms without lake views, but they still try and sell these at the same price as the rest - be wary, and be prepared to insist on a better room if you get a view of the pool (or the carpark).

From most rooms the view across the lake is stunning.

There is a good heated pool and acceptable gymnasium, and a very nice tennis court.

The restaurants are popular with locals - always a good sign. The buffet restaurant in particular was always well attended.

Be aware - breakfast is very expensive - $22 for continental and $28 for cooked. You can do better and cheaper in town.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Romantic Travel and Honeymoons, Business Travel
  • Written February 24, 2007
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Not all rooms are as inviting as the entrance.


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  • Kakapo2 profile photo Kakapo2
  • Reviews: 1858

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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McLean Park Lodge, Napier: 100m to the beach, 5 minutes to the city centre

We quite liked this old-style motel with only ground-floor units (from studio to two-bedrooms) and kitchen facilities.

We checked in primarily because of its great location, only 100 metres from the beach and a five minutes walk to the city centre. Wellesley Road is a parallel street to Marine Parade, so less traffic.

The motel has a swimming pool, spa pool and other features (petanque court, putting green) that we would not have really needed ;-)

It is a member of the Golden Chain, so quality and friendly service are guaranteed.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Beaches, Road Trip, Birdwatching
  • Written February 21, 2007

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  • Kakapo2 profile photo Kakapo2
  • Reviews: 1858

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Skotel, Whakapapa Village (Tongariro Nat. Park): Dream location at the foot of Mt. Ruapehu

Of course, you can stay at the Chateau. It just costs you clearly more than NZ$ 200 per night. Although I try not to spend that much for accommodation I think it would be well worth the money as it is such a unique place, the grand building and its history as well as its spectacular location at Whakapapa Village, at the foot of Mt. Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park.

Anyway, I preferred a more rustic accommodation for the nights around the Tongariro Crossing Track, more matching to the effort in the alpine surroundings. And at least the location was not less spectacular at all, as the Skotel justs sits a couple of hundred metres away from the landmark hotel.

We stayed at a chalet of the Skotel Alpine Resort which now (2007) costs $160 in summer (205 in winter). I have just found an old brochure from 1995, the rate then was $110... This little annex only to demonstrate how fast tourism is developing ;-) LOL Anyway, this chalet was wonderful, it felt like a wooden hut in the Swiss Alps, and had several rooms and bunk beds, kitchen, a fireplace. It would sleep up to four people.

The great thing about the Skotel is that it offers all kinds of accommodation: superior hotel rooms (also $160), standard rooms (130), the chalets and smaller cabins (135), and they even have an annex hostel with prices from $35 to 85 (double room with facilities).

The surroundings are, of course, absolutely peaceful, and you have the view of Mt. Ruapehu which varies over the years, once calm, then threatening, with white steam pouring out of a vent, and then scary - remember the eruptions in 1995 and 1996 when you had the ashes everywhere in the Tongariro National Park, and much further away, and now in Feb. 2007 the waiting for the crater rim breaking and releasing a lahar, a giant mud flow.

It is the nature of the park. Without such events and disasters the Tongariro Crossing Track would not be as colourful and spectacular as it is.

More accommodation nearby in a little township named National Park.

  • Opinion of Price: more expensive than average
  • Related to: Hiking and Walking, Road Trip
  • Written February 11, 2007
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The Skotel is just left of this photo ;-)


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  • Bernd_L profile photo Bernd_L
  • Reviews: 324

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Palm Motel, Waihi: interrupt your road trip and stay for a night

On our way to the Coromandel peninsula we stayed one night at this motel. It's not a fancy one but the rooms were clean and comfortable and they have a small pool.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Written August 10, 2006
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  • Bernd_L profile photo Bernd_L
  • Reviews: 324

5 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Matarangi Beach Chalets: A cosy retreat at a heavenly beach

We spent 5 days at this chalets and it was pure chance that we found them. Actually we wanted to stay at Coromandel town but due to a prolonged weekend all rooms were booked out. The only possibility were these chalets because they opened only a few weeks earlier and people didn't know about them.

So we got a brandnew holiday home that was very well equipped (even a washing machine was available). The rooms were spacious and in the evening you could sit on the porch having your own barbecue and watching the beautiful sunset.

There is no pool available, but it's only a few steps to the most attractive Matarangi Beach.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Related to: Family Travel
  • Written August 9, 2006
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Matarangi Beach Chalets

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  • Bernd_L profile photo Bernd_L
  • Reviews: 324

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Broadway Motel, Matamata: Home away from home

During a one-day stopover at the city of Matamata, where we visited VT-member kiwi, we stayed at this small but cosy motel. The rooms were brandnew and very tastefully furnished. The breakfast was delicious.

On the premises they have 2 pools and a hot tub as well as a childrens playground.

  • Opinion of Price: about average
  • Written August 9, 2006
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  • Bernd_L profile photo Bernd_L
  • Reviews: 324

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

Suncourt Motor Hotel, Taupo: Overlooking the lake

This motel offers comfortable rooms in a modern building. They have a restaurant where you can have breakfast and dinner, a small pool, a heated spa and a playground.

The rooms on the southern side of the buildings offer a splendid view over Lake Taupo and the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Written August 9, 2006
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  • Bernd_L profile photo Bernd_L
  • Reviews: 324

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

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Cooks Garden Motor Lodge: a great motel in Wanganui

We only stayed one night at this modern and nice motel. The staff was very friendly and helpful and the rooms clean and attractively furnished.

They serve an excellent breakfast

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Written August 8, 2006
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Cooks Garden Motor Lodge, Wanganui NZ


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  • pugwashman profile photo pugwashman
  • Reviews: 252

3 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Baylys Beach Holiday Park: Dargaville - Baylys Beach

Nice place to stay.
Pleasant surroundings and short walk/drive from massive sandy beach.
There is a small cafe onsite but there are a few nice cafes/restaurants within a few minutes walk so there is choice.
You can also hire quad bikes to cruise up and down the sands of the longest driveable beach in N.Z.
Facilities were nice and clean.

Close proximity to superb beach.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Road Trip, Budget Travel, Beaches
  • Written March 20, 2006
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Carved kiwi

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  • pugwashman profile photo pugwashman
  • Reviews: 252

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Taupo Lakeside Holiday Village: Taupo - Excellent campsite

The Taupo Lakeside Holiday Village is located just on the outskirts of Taupo.
It is well managed with plenty of facilties, including internet room, washing/drying facilties and kids playplace.
Being near the lake on top of a hill, at night there is a fantastic star show which is really something to behold.
I've seen lots of stars above before, but here they were everywhere, in every direction you looked.
The showers and toilets were immaculate and probably the best we saw the whole time we were in N.Z.

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Road Trip, Budget Travel
  • Written March 19, 2006
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View from back of van

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  • pugwashman profile photo pugwashman
  • Reviews: 252

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Dickson Holiday Park - Thames: Thames - wonderful country setting

The Dickson Holiday Park is located on the banks of a country stream and in amongst plenty of woodlands.
There are lots of ducks and chickens wandering around, and we saw kingfishers along the riverbank.
There is also a Tropical butterfly house onsite, and the facilities and amenities were excellent.

Riverbank location & Butterfly house

  • Opinion of Price: least expensive
  • Related to: Budget Travel, Road Trip
  • Written March 18, 2006
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Campervan on riverbank

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  • pugwashman profile photo pugwashman
  • Reviews: 252

4 out of 5 starsUser Rating

Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park: Rotorua - Free dips in the thermal pools

The Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park is situated on the outskirts of Rotorua, near to the Whakarewarewa thermal park.
The park is set amidst acres of forest and parkland, and an added attraction is the free use of the sites thermal pools, which are rumoured to have therapeutic qualities.
We parked our campervan up, and looked out on to a large park, and in the morning we were treated to the most amazing dawn chorus we've ever heard.
Believe me, there are some strange birds in New Zealand, with noises to match.
Still it gave us the motivation to be in the thermal pools at 07:30 in the morning which was a new experience, and very relaxing.
The showers and toilets were also very clean.

Free use if the thermal pools is an excellent perk, as you would pay extra in town for the privilege.

  • Opinion of Price: less expensive than average
  • Related to: Road Trip, Adventure Travel, Budget Travel
  • Written March 18, 2006
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View from our campervan overlooking parkland


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