I'm planning a week's stay in Northland in January 2011 for my family of four, including two teenage girls with vey different interests. It will be the last leg of a drive up from Wellington.
Older daughter will be happy with sightseeing, historical places, etc. The younger one (for whom "museum" is a dirty word) just wants to laze around on a beach and work on her tan.
I'm leaning towards a base in the Coopers Beach area (a bach or similar where we can self-cater and all get some privacy). It looks as if the beach there is very pleasant. Just wanted to know whether the water temperature in early January will lend itself to swimming. We visited the Coromandel area in summer 2005, and it was frankly freezing in the water.
Am I right to think that Doubtless Bay will have better beaches than the Bay of Islands itself? Could the water possibly be warmer on the west coast?
Thanks for any advice.