After spending the night at a lesser establishment in Paihia, I knew I'd have to lift my game when my wife traveled up to join me for the rest of a camper-vanning holiday. After comparing the reception to my face to face inquiries at the two motel/campgrounds facing the Haruru Falls, I opted for the Falls Motel.
The new manager and joint owner - Peter was very friendly and welcoming. The camp ground, which is situated below the motel, has a stunning outlook towards the falls, has a small beach and also I later learned, the oldest inland wharf and surveyed road in NZ from early pioneering times. It was off peak so the camp was quiet. The facilities - kitchen, showers, laundry etc, are older, basic and functional, though, in spite of this are perhaps the cleanest I have come across. Hot showers were at no extra charge, though you've got to be quick - the hot water appears to last about 3 minutes and includes the warm-up time. The machines in the laundry worked well and were generally cheaper to operate than some other camp grounds I used later. There's a good walking track from the falls to Waitangi and there are basic sit-on-top kayaks (and life jackets) available and fun to paddle on up to and just under the waterfall if you're keen. The paddle down the river to Waitangi passes some nice spots and takes only about 2 hours return if you choose to head out around the islands and in towards Paihia and back. Peter operates a book exchange in his reception - swap your recently read novel for another, or buy one for about $3; and also has a good range of DVD's available for viewing if the weather has you off the kayaks or other available activities. There is also a trampoline and a basic relatively lightly built playground suitable for smaller kids.
Our time at the Falls Motel and Campground was so nice, we stayed an extra night and my wife and I found our experience there a magic start to our holidays together.
I would recommend this place and will return again.