North Islanders flock to Coromandel Peninsula during December and January, when you'll need to book well ahead. In the off season, you'll get motel beds at laughably good rates. Lodgings on the east coast are generally nicer than those on the Thames side.

Van and caravan sites in Conservation Lands are available on a first-come, first-served basis; camping fees are from NZ$6 per adult and NZ$3 per school-age child. For details, contact the Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 78, Thames (tel. 07/868-6381), or the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre (tel. 07/867-9080;

The rates given include the 12.5% GST.

In Thames

Tuscany on Thames, Jellicoe Street, Thames (tel. 07/868-5099;, is a smart, new motel complex with a swimming pool and 14 units with lovely bathrooms with big tubs.

In Whitianga

I like the convenience and uncluttered modern style of Marina Park Apartments, 84 Albert St., Whitianga (tel. 07/866-0599;, which overlook the marina in the heart of the village. The bright, roomy one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments are perfect for families and couples traveling together. There is the added bonus of two heated Jacuzzis, swimming pool, and gym; and prices range from NZ$195 for one bedroom to NZ$350 for a three-bedroom apartment. Within the Bays, 49 Tarapatiki Dr., Whitianga (tel. 07/866-2848;, has two very nice, modern guest rooms with great beach views for NZ$275 to NZ$360. They are very ecofriendly and operate a single-party booking system.

In Tairua

Colleith Lodge, 8 Rewarewa Valley Rd., Tairua (tel. 07/864-7970;, has three very nice, modern B&B rooms with en-suite bathrooms overlooking a lap pool and Jacuzzi for NZ$495. They have a Qualmark Enviro-Silver rating and Wi-Fi throughout the property. Harbourview Lodge, 179 Main Rd., Tairua (tel. 07/864-7040;, also has three en-suite rooms and a swimming pool and is more reasonably priced at NZ$200 to NZ$220 with an extra-person rate of NZ$25. Both make an ideal base for exploring the peninsula.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.