Tourism New Zealand publishes an annual "Where to Stay" directory listing more than 1,000 properties. This directory lists all properties who register for it, but it gives priority to those accredited by Qualmark, the national tourism-quality assurance organization.
The lodgings we list are the cream-of-the-crop in each price category. We always list the facilities, but we don't specify whether they cost extra; when pricing accommodations, always ask what's included and what costs extra. Properties are assigned price categories based on the range from their least-expensive standard double room at high season (excluding holidays) to the most expensive. All rooms listed have an en suite or private bath unless otherwise noted. In New Zealand, the phrase "en suite bathroom" means that the bathroom is connected directly with the bedroom, while a "private bath" often is outside the bedroom but is not shared with other guests.
Bed and Breakfasts
There are some helpful resources on the Web for researching and booking B&B choices. On Web sites such as those maintained by SelectionsNZ and Jasons Travel Media, you'll find hundreds of listings and advertisements for B&Bs throughout the country. Heritage & Character Inns of New Zealand specializes in higher-end B&Bs.
Once in New Zealand you will find the New Zealand Bed & Breakfast Book in most major bookstores, or you can look at their listings online for free. It lists about 1,000 B&Bs, but be aware that property owners, not independent writers, provide the editorial copy.
Heritage & Character Inns of New Zealand (www.heritageinns.co.nz.)
Jasons Travel Media (09/912-8400. www.jasons.co.nz.)
The New Zealand Bed & Breakfast Book (www.bnb.co.nz.)
Home and Farm Stays
If you think green acres is the place to be, New Zealand has plenty of them. Home and farm stays provide not only comfortable accommodations, but a chance to experience the countryside and the renowned Kiwi hospitality. Most operate on a B&B basis, though some also serve evening meals. Farm accommodations vary from modest shearers' cabins to elegant homesteads. Some hosts offer day trips, as well as horseback riding, hiking, and fishing. For two people, the average cost ranges from NZ$90 to NZ$200 per night, including meals. Check New Zealand Farm Holidays for options.
Farm Helpers in New Zealand (FHINZ) advertises dozens of positions throughout the country where you can stay for free in exchange for working on a farm. Tasks include fruit picking, gardening, and light carpentry.
Homestays, the urban equivalent of farm stays, are less expensive. Most New Zealanders seem to have vacation homes, called baches in the North Island, cribs in the South Island; these are frequently available for rent. New Zealand Vacation Homes lists houses and apartments for rent on both the North and South Islands. Baches and Holiday Homes to Rent Ltd. publishes an annual directory of rental homes throughout the country, with color photos for each listing.
Another accommodation option is a home exchange. Intervac, one of the largest international home-exchange services, has a New Zealand representative on hand.
Baches and Holiday Homes to Rent Ltd. (Box 3107, Richmond, Nelson. 03/544-4799. www.holidayhomes.co.nz.)
Farm Helpers in New Zealand (41 South St., Palmerston North, 4410. www.fhinz.co.nz.)
Rural Holidays NZ Ltd. (03/355-6218. www.ruralholidays.co.nz.)
New Zealand Vacation Homes Ltd. (09/278-3839. www.nzvacationhomes.co.nz.)
With a direct home exchange you stay in someone else's home while they stay in yours. Some outfits also deal with vacation homes.
Home Exchange.com (800/877-8723. www.homeexchange.com.)
HomeLink International (800/638-3841. www.homelink.org.)
Intervac U.S. (800/756-4663. www.intervacus.com.)
At the high end of the price scale, luxury lodges put forth the best of country life, elegant dining, and superb accommodations. Many specialize in fishing, but there is usually a range of outdoor activities for nonanglers. Tariffs run about NZ$400-$2,000 per day for two people; meals are generally included. For information, visit the New Zealand Lodge Association's Web site, where you can download an electronic catalog of New Zealand lodges.
New Zealand Lodge Association (www.lodgesofnz.co.nz.)
Motels are the most common accommodations, and most provide comfortable rooms for NZ$70-$195 per night. They're usually open every day of the year. Unlike in the United States, motels in New Zealand are not always below the standard of hotels. For instance, "motel flats" are set up like apartments, with living areas as well as bedrooms. Accommodations with more basic facilities are called "serviced motels." All motel rooms come with tea- and coffee-making equipment; many have full kitchens. The Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) is an independent company with nearly 1,000 members. Its Web site allows you to find properties by region or by motel name.
Motel Association of New Zealand (www.manz.co.nz.)
The least expensive accommodations are the tourist cabins and flats in most of the country's 400 motor camps. Tourist cabins provide basic accommodation and shared cooking, laundry, and bathroom facilities. Bedding and towels are not provided. A notch higher up the comfort scale, tourist flats usually provide bedding, fully equipped kitchens, and private bathrooms. Tent sites and caravan sites usually cost less than NZ$10 and overnight rates for cabins range anywhere from NZ$6 to NZ$20. More fully equipped tourist flats will cost NZ$25 to NZ$70.
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