Hamilton has been named as the most popular bach destination this summer, shocking neighbouring councils that offer some of the country's most sought-after beaches and prompting one to ask what it's got that they don't.

But Hamilton mayor Andrew King is under no illusion about the "understated, under-rated" city he represents, saying it's the major events such as Rugby 7s, cricket matches and Festival One that are pulling in the punters.

Hamilton - for possibly the first time ever - has topped accommodation provider Bookabach's most booked summer spot in New Zealand.

Major sporting events including the Black Caps games have proved popular at Seddon Park, Hamilton. Photo / Getty Images
Major sporting events including the Black Caps games have proved popular at Seddon Park, Hamilton. Photo / Getty Images

Wanaka is the second most booked on Bookabach followed by Queenstown, Rotorua township, Taupō central, Whitianga, Mt Maunganui, Ohakune, Brophys Beach and Oneroa.

Advertisement

But King said while people are drawn to Hamilton for the events, once they were there they tended to stay on and visit nearby sites such as Hobbiton and Raglan.

Within the city boundaries there were river walks, Hamilton Lake and the popular Hamilton Gardens they could also explore, he said.

King didn't mind that people thought Hamilton was boring because he said the city liked to "stay under the radar".

Hauraki mayor John Tregidga, whose district includes the popular Waihi Beach summer spot, was shocked by Hamilton's placing given how popular the Coromandel Peninsula-Hauraki region was during the summer months.

"What's Hamilton got that we haven't got?"

Despite coastal Coromandel being bumped from its first place rating awarded by Bookabach last year, Thames Coromandel mayor Sandra Goudie said the Coromandel remained a popular destination and had a fantastic summer.

Bookabach was just one booking channel and there were also many others including Bachcare and Air BnB where people found accommodation, she said.

It didn't bother her how people were finding their accommodation because she knew they were staying.

"If Hamilton had good news, that's great."

Waikato mayor Allan Sanson, whose district boasts popular west coast surf town Raglan and Sunset Beach in Port Waikato, said he believed Hamilton's popularity on Bookabach was due to the accommodation it offered when big events were on.

"It's not driven because it's got the beaches is it?"

Waikato District mayor Allan Sanson struggled to understand how Raglan did not outscore Hamilton. Photo / File
Waikato District mayor Allan Sanson struggled to understand how Raglan did not outscore Hamilton. Photo / File

Sanson said Raglan was hugely popular during the peak times with the large influx in visitors often causing a headache for the council and its facilities.

Taupō mayor David Trewavas said Taupō was heaving with visitors over summer and it was only slowing down now. Taupō had been ranked the fifth most popular place to book a bach, down from second place last year.

But Trewavas said the placing drop could be the difference between the site looking at bookings for Taupō central this year compared with Lake Taupō last year, which would have covered all the surrounding area around the lake including Acacia Bay, where a lot of the baches were.

If people were looking for the largest freshwater mass in Australasia, peace and quiet along the lake and a hot soak in one of many hot pools then Taupō was the place to be, Trewavas said.