Danny de Hek
Finding accommodation on your New Zealand holiday should seldom be a problem.
Virtually every small town and tourist resort in the country has several places to stay – usually at least one hotel, motel, backpackers and campground.
The range of choice in larger centres is wide, from upmarket exclusive lodges and five-star hotels, through budget hotels, motels, motor inns, bed and breakfast guesthouses, homestays, farmstays, hostels, backpackers, holiday parks, holiday homes, motor camps and Department of Conservation campsites.
Accommodation guides can be obtained free of charge from most of these places and from the 100 Visitor Information Centres spread throughout the country. Popular guides include Automobile Association, Jasons, Bed and Breakfast Directory, Youth Hostels Association, New Zealand Hostel Association, New Zealand Hostel Guide, VIP and BBH Backers, Holiday Homes to Rent and Camping Guides. The helpful Visitor Centre staff will provide advice on local lodgings to suit your needs and even make bookings on your behalf. Advance bookings can be made by telephone, fax or internet. When making reservations ask if discounts apply for longer stays, off-peak periods, senior citizens or weekend stays.
During the peak Kiwi summer holiday period from December to late January it is essential to book all accommodation ahead. At other times both Kiwis and international visitors will be travelling around in good numbers but generally there will be plenty of places to stay.
New Zealand Accommodation Options
New Zealand offers a wide selection of excellent apartment accommodation to suit your budget. New Zealand apartments include luxury apartments, resort-style apartments and self-contained, fully furnished apartments. NZ apartments are located throughout New Zealand.
These are exclusive retreats offering gourmet meals and fine wines to upmarket travellers and can be found near main tourist centres such as Rotorua and Queenstown. Other private lodges in remote wilderness settings cater mainly for hunters and fishermen.
These are normally large tourist complexes, which are part of international chains such as Hyatt, Novotel, Sheraton, Regent, Travelodge and Vacation hotels. In smaller towns some old-style hotels are public-license pubs which have rooms attached and these can represent good value for money. Hotel rooms in New Zealand provide facilities for tea and coffee making.
These normally come with well-equipped kitchens and all other amenities. Best Western, Budget and Flag can be found throughout the country along with other chains and private motels. Motels range from compact studios with microwave and tea-making facilities, to fully self-contained two or three bedroom suites at the upper end of the scale. Where there are more than two guests, additional adults usually pay $15-25 per night, making motels exceptionally good value for travelling groups or families. Upmarket motels are often described as Motor-Inns or Motor Lodges and have superior facilities including bars and restaurants.
These are ideal for couples who enjoy the personal experience of meeting Kiwis in their own environment. This market is burgeoning in New Zealand and the range of beautiful private houses and historic colonial homesteads in picturesque settings is staggering. They offer lodging and breakfast at one set price and are great value considering the personal attention and travelling advice that you get. Homestays offer a room in a private home and treat travellers as a house guest sharing breakfast with the host family. The rural equivalent is Farmstays, which function the same way, with the added bonus of observing or participating in farm activities if desired. Sumptuous home cooked evening meals with fresh farm produce are often provided for an extra charge.
These are commonly known as Backpackers and are found everywhere in New Zealand (over 400 at last count). They offer a dormitory bed and communal cooking, bathroom and lounge facilities at reasonable rates. Bunkrooms are designed for between four and ten people and may or may not be segregated. A few double and twin rooms are usually available. Many New Zealand hostels are in stunning settings, often surrounded by native bush, alpine slopes or golden sand beaches. Coin operated internet booths are common, as are TV rooms, barbeque areas, bike and kayak hire, travel and activity booking services. There is great camaraderie amongst travellers as they discuss their Kiwi adventures and experiences. Youth Hostel Association is the largest network and there are YMCA, VIP and Budget hostels plus numerous private operators.
These have extensive areas for tent sites and powered sites for campervans with good quality communal amenities. They sometimes have tourist flats, on-site caravans and cabins.
These offer a variety of accommodation including tourist flats, bache, scribs, cabins, on-site caravans, backpacker-style lodges and camping sites.