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The FAQ (part 4 of 6)
Section - B5.2 Accommodation

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Top Document: The FAQ (part 4 of 6)
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See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
There is a wide variety of accommodation available in NZ, with something to 
suit each budget or travelling mode.  Travellers will be spoilt for choice.
Types of accommodation include Hotels, Motels, Backpackers, Bed and Breakfast, 
Camping Ground, Caravan Parks, Holiday Parks, Farm Stay etc.

As a rule it pays to book accommodation (and transport) well in advance if
you plan on being here during the tourist season (November to March).
Booking is less important with Backpacker style accommodation.
If you have access to a web browser, you will find the URLs available
in Section B5.2.6  "Online Accommodation Guides"  a useful starting


B5.2.1  Hotels

Basically these are buildings with rooms rented out by the night.
They tend to have a dining facility like a cafe or restaurant,
bellboys to help you with bags etc.

The price and quality depends on the type of hotel it is.

There are budget hotels that provide the basic room. Some even have
cheaper rooms if you share facilities.  An example is the Kiwi 
International Hotel in Auckland where the price starts from about
NZ$70 per night.

At the other end of the scale there are luxury 5 star hotels where the
average double room is at least $150 - $200 per night during off peak.
There are very few 5 start hotels in NZ, the good ones are mostly four
star hotels.  

The mid-range hotels are at least $100/room/night.  The Chains in this 
range include, Quality Hotel, Flag Inns and Best Western.


B5.2.2  Motels and Motor Lodges

These are by far a more popular choice of accomodation compared to hotels.
As with other accomodation modes, the range is from cheap to expensive.

Motels are typically big units that usually have full kitchen facilities.
They are suitable for families as you request for units that have more
than one room.  You should be able to park your car near your unit.
Most motels will not have a dining facility.  The larger or more upmarket
ones may have a restaurant.  There's definitely no room service though 
many of them provide breakfast if you wish to order it (at additional cost 
of course).

The range of prices go from around $60 per night to $200 per night.

Two examples of recent motel experiences:
27 Dec 97  - Motel in Taupo at $160 per night.  It was essentially a 2 room 
unit.  There were 2 king sized beds, a huge bathroom, a spa pool, tv and a 
kitchen.  The kitchen had a dining area with a table that will accommodate
6 people.  The kitchen facilities  include a microwave, fridge, toaster, 
electric kettle, stove, a set of cutlery and crockery, tea, coffee (plunger 
coffee), and  milk.  Towels and toiletries like shampoo, and soap were 
provided.  There was a swimming pool in the Motel.

September 97 - Motel in Hamilton $65 a night. 
1 bedroom unit with Queen sized bed, tv and arm chair.  Kitchen had
microwave, stove, toaster etc with table that seats 2 ppl.
Bathroom was small with shower, toilet and sink.


B5.2.3  Backpackers

Some information about backpackers:
For those of you not familiar with backpackers here's a quick rundown.
Most of the time you have multiple beds in a room.  This can be either
single beds or bunk beds.  Backpackers are either old houses converted 
into backpackers or purpose built buildings.  Each backpacker has a 
kitchen as backpackers tend to cook their meals to lower their cost.   

Some backpackers segregate their rooms by genders and some don't.
Same goes for toilets and bathrooms.  Many backpackers also have single 
and double rooms but the price is more.  Bunk beds in dorms range from
NZ$10 a night.  

The kitchens (whether purpose built or not) tend to be designed so that 
more than one person can cook at the same time.  So at blenheim 
backpackers, by each stove was a food prep area with its own knives, 
forks, pots, bowls etc.  There's more than one stove.  There are ovens
and microwaves.  There's more than one fridge too but most of the time 
there are no freezers.  At the backpackers in Dunedin, the fridge was 
one of those multidoor ones you get at dairies or petrol stations.  
This was a four door fridge with glass doors and shelves.

There are no chores (not even at the YHA).  However you have to clean
up your own mess.  ie if you cook, you have to do your own dishes and
should give the stove and bench you used for food prep a wipe.  The
detergent for dishes is provided.

There is a lounge and dining room.  There's showers, toilets but very 
rarely are there baths.  It is not usual to have an ensuite.  In fact
at Topspot(Kaioura), in the main house, none of the rooms there had 
ensuites.  But at the newer house, each room had an ensuite.  Even if 
you check out by 10am, you can hang around and use the communal 
facilities (lounge/kitchen/shower/toilet) till you leave. all you need 
to do is vacate your bed and room.   

All backpackers have a laundry facility with washing machine and dryer.  
Some of them are coin operated.  I brought my own laundry detergent.  
You either buy a small bottle to take travelling with you or some 
backpackers sell small packets of washing detergent.

Sometimes you can lock your rooms (so only people in  your room have
the key to it) and at other times there's no key.  If they lock up
at night, you can find out the combination or key if you plan to come
in later.  You should keep your food in the kitchen.  There are
lockers there and the fridge.  no one steals it as you have to label
the bag/box with your name.

I bring a sleeping bag to sleep in.  you can bring your own sheets
and blankets.  Some do provide bed linen and blankets.  The backpackers
guides or YHA guide (booklets) usually tell you what's provided.  
Otherwise you can ask when you ring to book.  Usually they are quite
flexible.  So if I decide to stay on the same place, all I have to do
is tell them before 10am (the normal checkout time).  Usually you only
need to book a day or two ahead.  Unfortunately since we were travelling
over the peak time, many places were full so I booked weeks earlier
(last weekend of nov).  By then a couple of places were fully booked.

Each backpacker is unique.  Whether it is a good backpacker or not
depends on the people who run it.  Many I have encountered view it
as a way of life.  They love meeting travellers.  They often help
you by providing Information about the area, and any travel related
help.  For example they may have the timetable of trips. Some even
ring up to make the bookings for you.  They can provide some very
useful advice (what to see, where to eat, where to go , what's on etc)
They usually have a map handy for that area with important spots
marked out (like the nearest supermarket etc)

The atmosphere they create is quite important to the people who stop 
there for the night (or longer).  

Sometimes they join in or organise social events for the people
staying there that night.  For example it is not uncommon to find
a notice on the noticeboard saying "BBQ tonight - bring something
to throw on the grill".  So you socialise with the other travellers.
Or sometimes everyone contributes a small amout of money for the stuff.

It is not uncommon to strike up conversation with other travellers
either in the lounge or dining room.  This is handy for picking up
travelling hints.  It is quite interesting hearing of others 
travelling experiences.  


B5.2.3.1  Youth Hostel Association

There are about 58 YHA hostels throughout NZ.  YHA are a few dollars more 
per night than Backpackers.  The YHA web site is

YHA (Youth Hostel Association) NZ
PO Box 436, Christchurch, NZ
Phone: (+64 3) 379 9970
Fax: (+64 3) 365-4476
* you can get the info from your nearest youth hostel.

As an indication, This info from Judy Shorten:
"The Auckland Youth Hostel, called City Hostel is excellent.  Twin bed
rooms, small shop and dining facilities on the premises, tourism
information available, etc.  It is approx. $18 per night, and you can also
buy a 20/230 card which allows you to stay 20 days in any YHA around New
Zealand for $230.  You also can request the bus from the Airport to drop
you off right at the door.  There is another YHA in Parnell, a couple of
miles out of the central city area."

Lin adds:
You do not have to be a YHA member to stay at a YHA hostel.  Non members
can get a starter card where you pay $4 more per night for up to six
nights.  After six nights (if these are within six months of starting the
card), you trade the starter card for a year's YHA membership, without
additional cost.  YHA membership is quite cheap - only around $25/yr. It
is worth it if you are travelling around NZ as you will be eligible for
certain discounts like 50% on standby flights or 30% discount on any
travel by bus or train and other discounts.


B5.2.3.2  Backpackers Accommodation

There are many different booklets on backpackers accommodation to NZ.  They
can be obtained free from the visitor information centres or backpackers.
Only the 2 - 3 more popular guides are available.

During peak season, you only need to book up to a week ahead.  However if 
you are looking for double rooms or family type rooms in backpackers, you 
best book earlier as those are quite scarce.  During off peak season
sometimes you can either just turn up or book a day or two ahead.

It is possible to get the backpackers you are at to 'forward book' you to 
the next place.  Most of them are happy to do it without payment for the 
service or charge a minimal fee.

The number of groups catering for backpackers is expanding rapidly with
nice new accommodation being built (at least in Christchurch!).  In
Auckland, Wellington, Chch and Queenstown, there are also a couple of 
backpackers travel centres.

Other than the YHA card, there's the VIP Backpacker discount card.
The VIP card gives you similar discounts to the YHA card  train
and bus seats.  There are also other discounts available. 
This can be purchased at backpacker travel centres, certain backpacker
hostels (usually the hostels within the VIP chain).  The cards are not 
available to NZers.  For more information try this contact:
Galaxy Holdings Ltd (Trading as VIP Backpacker Resorts Int'l NZ)
9 Fort Street            Phone:  (+64 9) 357 0177
Auckland                 Fax:    (+64 9) 358 1142
New Zealand              email:

Prices are normally $8-20/night for a room.

Backpacker accommodation in Chch:
 Dreamland           03-3663519  21/23 Packe St
 Foley Towers        03-3669720  208 Kilmore St
 Stonehurst Hotel    03-3794620  241 Gloucester St
 Charlie Browns      03-3798429  268 Madras St

Backpacker accommodation in Auckland:
 Parkside Backpackers Inn     09-3098999  189 Park Road, Grafton
 Aotea Backpackers Hostel     09-3033350  295 Queen Street,  Central
 Kiwi Hilton Backpackers      09-3583999  430 Queen Street, Central
 Auckland Central Backpackers 09-3584877, fax 09-3584872
    cnr Fort Street & Jean Batten Place, Central
 Central City Backpackers     09-3585685, fax 09-3584716
    26 Lorne Street, Central

The odd thing is that when two of these (Aotea Backpackers Hostel and Kiwi
Hilton Backpackers) were checked recently (3/97), they stated that they
will NOT accommodate NZers, and that people who just turn up get priority
over people who book in advance!

Here are the details of who published guides:

Budget Backpackers Hostels NZ Ltd ( )
This is the main/Blue book with over 200 hostels in it.
Mark Dumble: 99 Titiraupenga St, Taupo, NZ
Phone/fax: (07) 377 1568;  email:
Eric Foley: 208 Kilmore St, Christchurch, NZ
Phone/fax: (03) 379 3014;  email:

NZ Backpacker Hostels Association Ltd
PO BOX 5475, Auckland, NZ

Backpackers Accommodation Down-Under
PO Box 4446, Auckland, NZ
Phone: (09) 303 4482
Fax: (09) 443 8004

ATA (Accommodation Travel Activities)
PO Box 8, Kaikoura, NZ
Phone or fax:(03) 319 5916
             (03) 319 5359 (business hours only)

There is an internet resource called The Internet Guide to Hostelling
which, among other things, contains a list of hostels in New Zealand.  It
is available via WWW, Gopher, FTP, and Email.  The WWW URL is:

For information on how to access the guide in other ways send email to:


B5.2.4  Miscellaneous

Cabins in motorcamps are usually the next step 'down' from motels.

Campervan parks:  There is a free brochure by the CCA whose members run the
parks for campervans, camping grounds etc.  This is avail at the Visitor
Info centre in Queen St.

Department of Conservation huts in National Parks have variable facilities,
with charges reflecting this; a few simple shelters are free, the more
comfortable huts (gas stoves, mattresses) are $15/night.

You can always bring a tent...


B5.2.5  Published Accommodation Guides 

These can be purchased from Visitor Information Centres (or at least
from the ones in the main cities) and bookshops.  

Jasons publishes several guides.  There's one on Hotels and Conference
Centres.  The Jason's Budget Accommodation gives information about cabins, 
tourist flats, cheap motels, camping and caravan sites.  There is also 
Jason's Motels and Motor lodges.  Some consider them more comprehensive 
than the AA books.

The AA guides provide an extensive outline of all types of accommodation
for all areas as well as local attractions.  There's one for each Island
as well as one for the whole of NZ.

There's a guide to Bed and Breakfasts in NZ


B5.2.6  Online Accommodation Guides 

Destination NZ page of Accommodation Links

Jasons accommodation guides
The page takes you to the Jasons Online Accommodation guides.
The guides are listed below and are searchable.
  - Jasons Motel guide
  - Jasons Hotel Guide/Conference Directory
  - Jasons Budget Accommodation guide (incl. holiday parks and campgrounds)
  - The New Zealand Bed & Breakfast Book
  - Jasons Backpacker and Hostels Online

AA Accommodation Guide
YHA Guide           
Budget Backpacker Hostels
Worldwide Hostel guide - NZ
NetTravel NZ Accommodation
Unique Hotels & Lodges

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Top Document: The FAQ (part 4 of 6)
Previous Document: B5.1 Info Sources
Next Document: B5.3 Transport

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM