Andrew Alderson stays at a classic Kiwi cottage on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Getting there? Leaving from central Auckland, out of peak hour, the journey takes less than two and a half hours. Grabbing a few treats at Tairua Four Square might add five to 10 minutes. One day I'd love to take what would presumably be a 15-minute helicopter ride to land in the paddock next door.
Check-in? Visit the convivial reception, chat about the news of the day, then get directed to your immaculately-prepared cottage.
Room? Trot up the steps of the veranda via French doors to an open-plan area with vaulted ceiling (created with recycled joinery), queen bed and window seat, TV, fridge, tea and coffee facilities, microwave, toaster and en suite.
Price? In the summer season (December 1 to March 31) it's $140 for a studio, $175 for a separate cottage and $210 for a self-contained cottage. Look for substantial discounts in the shoulder and winter seasons on the website (see below).
What's so good about this place? The tranquillity and simplicity. A tapas-style restaurant with a booze list to give any inner-city joint a run for its money; the well-tended gardens which offer privacy despite close proximity to other cottages; the 10-minute walk to the beach past the old-school dairy and fire station. This is idyllic New Zealand 1950s bach life with the bonus of electricity.
And the bad? At the risk of Mum and Dad disrupting their one-year-old's sleep, sir's port-a-cot was erected in the en-suite bathroom. More a parental conundrum than one for our hosts and it proved a stroke of detente genius.
What's in the neighbourhood? It's about a 45-minute hike to Cathedral Cove (or water taxis can pick you up off Hahei Beach), grab a spade and travel less than 10 minutes to Hot Water Beach for a spa at low tide, drive 10 minutes to the Whitianga passenger ferry and in a further five minutes you can be striding about the Coromandel's main metropolis. There's also fishing to please most tastes and the tractors on the main beach hint at the number of boats offshore.
Food and drink? No chalet is more than a 50m stroll from the on-site restaurant. After a day in the surf, wolf down morsels of fresh snapper, chorizo, chicken skewers and patatas bravas and oversee a regular supply of beer and wine journey from the chiller to your table.
The bed? Queen with enough duvet to prevent any 2am custody battles.
Bathroom? Bliss - once the heir's port-a-cot had been removed to create a morning access way to the shower. Robust water pressure and, with a basin and dunny in the same precinct, it enabled a post-haste completion of the three Ss.
Noise? Listen ... I'm sure that's a tui I can hear among the assorted garden fauna.
Perfect for? Couples who want a weekend sans hustle and bustle.
Would I return? Always. A Coromandel jewel.
The Church is at 87 Beach Road, Hahei. Phone: 07 866 3533.