Tauranga and Mount Maunganui accommodation providers are only a few rooms shy of being fully booked this week with an overspill of visitors forced to seek accommodation in the wider Western Bay.
Tourism Bay of Plenty head of marketing and communication Kristin Dunne said the i-SITE Visitor Information centre who did accommodation bookings on behalf of visitors said accommodation was virtually at capacity until January 2 and 3 and they had been referring visitors to Katikati, Te Puke and the wider Western Bay for accommodation.
"We haven't seen this level of bookings for the last couple of years so it's a fantastic problem to have."
The official visitor statistics would not be available until one month after the holiday period, but all indications "look good that this is going to be a very busy New Year's period" and accommodation bookings only accounted for a quarter of visitors, she said.
"Commercial accommodation is only 25 per cent of the picture though, as 75 per cent of visitors are visiting friends and relatives and come to stay with rellies or mates. Most of us locals will be jam-packed with visitors right now, especially as the weather is so good."
Gert and Alana Jordaan from Hamilton were among the crowds on Mount Maunganui beach yesterday.
They had booked their spot at Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park months in advance to beat the rush.
Papamoa Beach Top 10 Holiday Resort general manager Rebecca Crosby said "heaps of people just turn up without booking and it's really just silly at this time of year".
All 260 campsites and 35 accommodation rooms were fully booked over the next week, she said.
About 70 per cent of their guests had already booked for the Christmas and New Year period by March, she said.
New Zealanders accounted for about 95 per cent of their guests, mostly from Auckland and the Waikato, she said.
Omanu Cosy Corner Family Holiday Park owner Greg Davidson said being fully booked was nothing unusual at this time of year.
"From Boxing Day it starts building up. Last night we were full ... We're booked until early January.
"We get a lot of tourists looking for a night but they don't realise they need to book this time of year."
Tauranga Motel Association president Gail Fagan yesterday said there were only five rooms left for last night across Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and one in Paengaroa.
"There are a few rooms left, but only a few. Every year everything is chocka. This is a hot spot."
Mount Mainstreet manager Peter Melgren said the streets were packed with visitors. "I'm getting lots of phone calls from people asking where they can find accommodation for the 30th and 31st but there's just nowhere."
Tauranga City Council city events co-ordinator Ella Anselmi said the summer ambassadors working at Mount Maunganui were finding the main street "chocka".
She said New Zealanders from Auckland or Waikato made up most of the crowds.