My father flew in from cold snowy Sweden (-10 degrees C at the moment) before Christmas to stay with us for a month. We took him up to the Bay of Islands between Christmas and New Year where we stayed in a Opua holiday house that we rented off the internet using Days in the Bay.
It is a bit hard to rent off the internet as you never really know what you get and it is hard to judge from the web site photos as to what the quality of the accommodation is. In addition, my wife gave me a really hard time as she wanted a “proper” hotel! However, we were pleasently surprised, to say the least. The Opua house we rented was extremely nice, and the views out over the Bay of Islands were to die for. We spent the evenings BBQ-ing sea food on the deck and enjoying the views. I am back in the good books! This kind of accommodation beats any hotel. We will be back in the future.