Helen Van Berkel checks in to the Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park.

Getting there:

About a two-and-half-hour drive from Auckland, if you can avoid the jams.

Check-in experience: Friendly and welcoming. And they loaned us a phone charger, the absence of which would have ruined a teenager's holiday.

Room: A self-contained one-bedroom cabin with a double bed in the lounge and bunks in the bedroom. A small veranda outside is a pleasant place to sit and watch the kids playing on the village green outside.


Price: About $100 a night.

What's so good about this place: It's comfortable, clean and cheap and close to Waitomo's main attractions.

The bad: The entrance could be better signposted: I tried to enter via the exit and ended up dithering dangerously on a high-speed road.

What's in the neighbourhood? Walk, abseil or float through majestic caves and admire the constellations of glow-worms.

Toiletries: Soap and shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one that you wouldn't want to use on your hair.

Food and drink: Within walking distance are the Huhu Cafe for upmarket dining and Curly's for good Kiwi tucker.

The bed: A comfy double on wheels in the lounge for me and a bunk in the bedroom for the daughter.

A room with a view: Outside is a village green where campervans park and kids kick balls.

Free wi-fi: Yes.

Noise: Not a problem.

Value for money: Absolutely.

Room service: No. It had a well-equipped kitchen and tea and coffee was available.

Exercise facilities: There's a playground, pool, a spa pool and a trampoline for recreational rather than exercise purposes.

Contact: waitomopark.co.nz
Perfect for: Families.