Where to stay in New Zealand
New Zealand offers a wide range of top-class hotels, luxury lodges, exclusive boutique retreats, motels, traditional pub rooms, moderately priced accommodation and guest houses. Rates on the whole are cheaper in rural areas, while every city and town also offers a choice of budget hotels and motels. Budget accommodation, often with self-catering facilities, is increasingly popular. Boutique accommodation is almost always in a historic or heritage building or landmark, offering a high standard of amenities and often including breakfast. Wilderness hideaways are spread throughout the country and worth the effort for an exclusive, highly individual evening.
Grading: Hotels in New Zealand are graded from 1 to 4 stars. Motels are graded on a separate scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Bed and breakfast
Usually located in restored, older buildings; guest houses, bed and breakfast hotels and private hotels offer moderately priced accommodation, often with shared bathroom facilities, but with generally high standards.
A number of established companies can arrange farm holidays where visitors stay with a family as a guest, sharing bathroom facilities. Many farms are conveniently located for outdoor activities such as fishing, skiing and horse trekking. Prices usually include breakfast and dinner. Homestays and farmstays are an excellent way of spending time with your hosts and gaining an insight into local life. There is an eclectic mix of hosts and homes to stay in and although you are encouraged to interact with your hosts, guests have their own room.
There are many campsites throughout New Zealand, which is reputed to have some of the world's best camping grounds. Rates and facilities vary considerably. It’s advisable to make advance reservations from December to Easter. The Department of Conservation (www.doc.govt.nz) runs a number of basic sites all over the country, often in prime locations. It also provides hut accommodation in many of the national parks, with well-equipped, comfortable structures set up with communal kitchens and bunk rooms.
Motorcamps, holiday parks, cabins and tourist flats are characteristic of New Zealand. Motorcamps and holiday parks provide sites for tents, caravans and campervans. Many also have cabins, self-contained motels and backpacker lodges. Some are powered, others are non-powered, and there is usually access to a shared kitchen, bathroom, dining area, TV lounge and other amenities, such as a swimming pool. Visitors are required to provide their own tents and equipment, which can be hired from a number of companies. Occupants are also usually required to supply their own linen, blankets and cutlery.
Cabins are ideal for budget travellers and contain only beds and rudimentary furniture (visitors need to bring their own bedding).
Tourist flats are at the top end of the cabin scale and usually offer sheets and bedding, as well as fully equipped kitchens. Full details can be obtained from Tourism New Zealand (www.newzealand.com).
There are more than 350 backpacker hostels located across the country. Budget Backpacker Hostels (tel: (03) 379 3014; www.bbh.co.nz) issues a card entitling the holder to discounted transport within New Zealand and pre-paid telephone calls. The Youth Hostel Association (tel: (03) 379 9970; www.yha.co.nz) runs more than 60 hostels throughout the country, and reservations can be made in advance from December to March. There are also number of small, intimate lodges in New Zealand with up to 20 rooms offering breakfast and dinner
A number of established companies can arrange farm holidays, where visitors stay with a family as a guest, sharing bathroom facilities. Many farms are conveniently located for outdoor activities such as fishing, skiing and horse trekking. Prices usually include breakfast and dinner.