We stayed at the Sandy Shores for a weekend in January 2013 and absolutely loved it! It was right across from the beach and a quick 5 min walk into town for the ferry or 5 minutes in the opposite direction to the Lost Springs. We were in the bottom unit. There is a bedroom and a full bed in the living room. On occasion you can hear people walking on the street but the sounds of the ocean waves make it all okay. There is a full kitchen (including a microwave, which is a big deal in NZ) and had all of the necessities to make your own home-cooked meals. The owner, Thelma, was also very nice and accommodating. For the price, space, and location, it was probably the best place I stayed in New Zealand. So if you are planning to visit Whitianga, I highly recommend the Sandy Shores.