Autumn holiday in Bay is bliss

By Genevieve Helliwell

Holidaying in the Western Bay is one of the highlights of Dayna Tooke's year so she does everything she can to ensure it's the best one she and her family can possibly have.

That's why she works through the holiday season and takes a family holiday in March or April each year, when everyone else has returned to work.

"There's quite a few factors why we do that but the main thing is the weather is quite settled and still warm but not too hot," she told the Bay of Plenty Times.

"Other advantages are that accommodation can be cheaper and with things starting to slow down, there are discounts and more specials that aren't found in peak season.

"And fewer people is a huge advantage.

"It's so much more enjoyable when you don't have to compete with huge crowds."

Miss Tooke's decision to holiday in early autumn was supported by more than 240 people who took part in a national survey.

Figures released yesterday from Tourism Bay of Plenty revealed almost a quarter of the 1033 people surveyed wanted to take their summer holidays in February or March.

The online survey was conducted nationally by Research Now between December 11-17, 2012.

Twenty-four per cent of the survey's respondents said they would prefer to move the traditional New Zealand summer break, including the school holidays, to February when the weather was generally better.

Miss Tooke used to live in Tauranga but now lives in Hokitika with partner Mike and their two children Vadim, 5, and Zigh, 3. She holidays in the Western Bay each year.

The couple's jobs allow them to work through the Christmas and New Year period and take time off later in the year.

Getting to the Western Bay was a 17-hour car trip but Miss Tooke said it was "absolutely worth it".

"We have lots of friends and family in Tauranga and we love coming back," she said.

"We absolutely love it up there and if my partner didn't have such a good job, we would more than likely be living up there. I definitely miss it."

Miss Tooke said this approach would benefit tourism operators as it would extend the summer season.

"You'll still attract the overseas market in peak time but the New Zealand, and probably Australian market, will have their holidays when things begin to slow down so it will mean more people are out for an extended period.

"It can only be a good thing," she said.

Tourism Bay of Plenty general manager Rhys Arrowsmith said talk of moving the summer holiday period surfaced every year.

He said the research demonstrated Kiwis had mixed feelings on the issue.

The survey also revealed Kiwis' favourite summer activity was swimming and sunbathing at the beach (34 per cent), enjoying food and wine (21 per cent) and reading (12 per cent).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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