Accommodation in New Zealand
The number of visitors to New Zealand has been steadily increasing over the past decade. The country’s capacity is still limited, so you should book your stay as soon as possible to avoid taking any risks.
After airline tickets, the budget allocated to accommodation is the second largest expense in New Zealand.
And even if it means booking without an intermediary, I recommend to vary the pleasures and not to systematically choose the same type of accommodation for the whole stay. Alternating nights in hotels, bed and breakfast or motels is entirely possible, and I will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.
Where to spend the night in New Zealand?
I will present you the main solutions to spend your nights in optimal conditions. Whether you stay in a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast or youth hostel.
Some areas of New Zealand do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate all tourists at the hotel. Depending on your itinerary, you may need to refer to motels or bed and breakfast.
There are motels or B&Bs more expensive than hotels, and the price depends mainly on the quality of service and location. However, I will come back to budget issues in more detail later in this report.
Hotels in New Zealand
The hotel is the classic New Zealand accommodation, and you will probably spend most of your nights in such an establishment.
The quality of New Zealand hotels is assessed by the Qualmark index, which is similar to the star rating system to which we are accustomed in Europe. I recommend that you do not book a hotel with a rating of less than two stars. Note also that the five stars are not reserved for palaces!
There are many ranges of hotels with economy rooms from $85, but the real comfort is more like $135 a night for a couple, and you will find excellence from $300. Knowing that I’m leaving aside the ostentatious luxury at $2,000 a night that probably doesn’t interest our readers
Motels in New Zealand
Recommended for family vacations, motels are fully equipped apartments where you can cook, start a washing machine to wash dirty clothes, or iron your clothes. The quality is variable, and if some low-end motels correspond to the image conveyed by American TV series, there are also (and especially) motels where you can imagine yourself living all year round!
Motels are not necessarily cheaper than hotels, but they can save money by eating meals with the family as at home rather than going to restaurants. If you plan to spend several days in the same place, it is an essential and very economical hosting solution.
Beds and breakfasts and lodges
The Bed and Breakfast is aimed primarily at couples without children who are looking for a double room in a private home. As the name suggests, the service includes breakfast (continental or English) cooked by a host who gives expert advice on the activities in his or her region.
B&Bs are very popular in New Zealand, as they offer the opportunity to meet New Zealanders. This accommodation solution is therefore to be preferred if you are looking for authenticity and exchange, but not if you cannot stand being spoken to during your breakfast (sometimes you have to share the dining room table with other travellers from all over the world).
The Lodge can be seen as an improved version of the B&B, with more elegant homes and a more refined welcome. Not surprisingly, the price is revised upwards, but if you can afford it, I recommend that you sleep at least once in a Lodge for the quality of the welcome and service.
Youth hostels (backpackers)
Only pickets and a tent can be cheaper than a youth hostel.
This spartan solution can help travellers on a tight budget, but nights in dormitories are not necessarily very relaxing, with very early awakenings caused by travellers tidying up their belongings without discretion.
The youth hostel is not exclusively for young people, and you can stay overnight in an establishment run by one of the country’s two major chains (YHA or BBH) even if you are over 50.
However, you can book separate rooms to avoid sleeping in a dormitory, but the rate is equivalent to that of an economy hotel, and you lose the main interest of the youth hostel, which is to encourage people to meet people from all walks of life.
Why do we need to vary the hosting solutions?
You can find all the fresh produce you can imagine for healthy eating in New Zealand supermarkets, but the call of junk food often wins out when you stay in a hotel and want to save money.
Because even if restaurants still charge reasonable prices (especially outside the big cities), kiwis are early night and most brands close at 9pm.
The sandwich with sweet sauces tinkered with in the car is certainly delicious, but it should not be the basis of your diet for several weeks.
In these conditions, I recommend that you vary the accommodation options to include motel nights that allow you to regain your habits and eat more balanced meals.
All you have to do is shop at the supermarket to buy the ingredients to cook a healthy meal with your family. There are even organic products and there are plenty of markets.
The motel also allows you to use a washing machine, which means less heavy luggage, as you can afford to take less stuff with you.
You then initiate a real virtuous circle, because the luggage weighs less in the trunk of the car, which in turn consumes less fuel…
On the other hand, it is the traditional hotel (especially when it is well located) that offers the best value for money. You can even simply book nights in budget hotels, as it is not necessary to stay in the centre. However, I recommend that you choose a few more upscale hotels when visiting a large city.
Because a well located hotel in Auckland or Wellington serves as a base camp where it is easy to come back several times during the day to refresh or change before going to a chic restaurant for dinner in the evening.
The Bed and Breakfast makes it easier to get in touch with the local population, and the New Zealanders known as “Kiwis” are incredibly endearing and smiling people. And if you visit New Zealand first and foremost for its landscapes, you almost always come back for the kindness of the people.
Because unlike hotels that serve unimaginative breakfasts, Beds and Breakfasts serve delicious homemade cuisine. Nothing to do with the homemade breakfast in the car made from fake super market croissants. Starting the day with a good breakfast, served by a charming host who gives advice on the region, is an experience to live!
Finally, there is also the possibility of sleeping in youth hostels. A solution that I recommend to younger people who will make new friends for an evening or for life. Backpackers should not be used just for comfort or savings, but rather for the atmosphere.
What is the budget for accommodation in New Zealand?
Kiwipal’s search engine distinguishes between three categories of accommodation that you can combine to build your tailor-made trip. We have only selected excellent quality housing in New Zealand.
Here is a realistic estimate of the budget to be expected. We have left out the very high-end at 500 or 1000 euros per night, because the vast majority of travellers cannot afford such luxury for several weeks.
|Accommodation||Estimate per night for a couple|
|Economic||50 to 100 euros|
|Comfortable||100 to 150 euros|
|Top of the range||150 to 250 euros|
How can I save money?
To achieve real savings, it is not necessary to compare travel agencies with each other, but to decide voluntarily to do without their services. Under these conditions, you avoid agency fees and can expect to reduce the rating from 15 to 30% in the best of cases!
The savings thus achieved make it possible to extend the duration of the stay or to carry out more activities on site. Even the journey that seemed impossible becomes possible! Hotel comparators are very useful to find the best offers available.
Some expert advice on how to save money
Depending on the stages of the stay, I advise you to adjust the quality of your accommodation. Thus, there is no point in booking a very comfortable hotel for a simple stopover on the road between two stops.
On the other hand, it is better to rent a more upscale hotel when you visit a major metropolis. Comfort is also to be sought according to your activities: a lodge with a spa will be all the more appreciated after a long hike like the Tongariro Crossing.
Keep in mind that you are going to visit a country of Anglo-Saxon culture where the car is inseparable from the way of life. It is therefore not necessary to stay systematically in the city centre. Moving a few kilometres away allows you to obtain more reasonable rates or more comfort at the same price as in the centre.
Always in the interest of economy, always check whether the accommodation offers free parking or whether it is offered in addition. Because if you add up the parking fees, your bill goes up dramatically. Only choose hotels that offer parking, unless you are enjoying a very interesting promotion.