Sunny Bay a popular destination

By Joseph Aldridge

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The Bay of Plenty is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the country but has been upstaged by its coastal cousins to the north.

The Coromandel and Northland are New Zealand's two most desirable holiday destinations, according to a survey of 7000 people by travel website Travelbug.

Nelson/Tasman comes in at third place, followed by the Bay of Plenty with 8.6 per cent of votes.

Travelbug's Brad Monaghan said Coromandel was top of the "must visit" list for New Zealanders this summer and collected 18 per cent of the vote.

"Water, sunshine and space are all coveted during the hotter months, and Coromandel has this in spades with dozens of beachy spots to choose from."

Bookabach, an online company that matches those wanting holiday homes with those who have them, has also released a list of this summer's most popular holiday spots.

Based on the number of nights booked on the site from December 1 to January 11, the figures show Mount Maunganui was the fifth most popular summer holiday destination in New Zealand, while Papamoa was 17th. Both spots have retained their ranking from last year.

The most popular place to book a bach was Whangamata in the Coromandel, for the fifth year in a row, followed by Lake Wanaka in Central Otago.

Mangawhai Heads in Northland was the third most popular spot, followed by Whitianga, another popular Coromandel holiday location.

However, when it comes to buying coastal property, rather than renting it, the Mount and Papamoa were streaks ahead of the pack.

According to property website realestate.co.nz, the two Tauranga beachfront suburbs hogged almost half of all views on the site's top 10 holiday locations list in 2012. The Mount received 25.2 per cent of all hits on the top 10 (567,888 hits), while Papamoa followed close behind with 24 per cent (540,000 hits).

Realestate.co.nz's marketing manager, Paul McKenzie said the Bay of Plenty's appeal was its lifestyle.

"Tauranga and its surrounding coastal areas are experiencing high levels of beachfront development recently, which naturally results in increased interest and strong demand," Mr McKenzie said.

"However, high value, top-end properties valued at more than $1million in the area are also attracting a lot of interest, and are pushing up prices and demand."

At Mount Maunganui's Ocean Beach Rd, Wellingtonian Sue Mellsop, husband Steve Mellsop and their three children have enjoyed five years of spending their holiday at the beach.

"We came up many years ago to do the half marathon so that's what brought us up. Since then we've come up, done the marathon and had a holiday afterwards," Mrs Mellsop said.

"We absolutely love it."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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