New Zealand Travel Guide
Tourism New Zealand publishes an online accommodation directory listing all properties that are accredited by Qualmark, the national tourism–quality assurance organization. While most reputable properties are Qualmark registered, some outstanding places to stay are not. You’ll find a few of them in our listings. Another online directory, www.nztourism.net.nz, also publishes a comprehensive accommodation directory.
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.
There are some helpful resources on the Web for researching and booking B&B choices. On websites such as those maintained by Jasons and the Bed and Breakfast Association, 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 (2013) Ltd (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 farmstay accommodation on Tourism New Zealand’s www.newzealand.com 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. (04/890–9219. www.holidayhomes.co.nz.)
Farm Helpers in New Zealand (www.fhinz.co.nz.)
New Zealand Vacation Homes Ltd. (09/278–3839. www.nzvacationhomes.co.nz.)
Rural Holidays NZ Ltd. (03/355–6218. www.ruralholidays.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. us.intervachomeexchange.com.)
When looking up hotel information, you'll often see a reference to Qualmark, New Zealand's official tourism quality-assurance agency. This nonprofit service grades hotels on a one- to five-star system and participation is voluntary. Each business applies and undergoes a strict assessment and licensing process to win Qualmark accreditation, shelling out some cash in the process. These ratings are generally fair gauges of each property's cleanliness and security. You can check a hotel's Qualmark rating on the website.
At the high end of the price scale, luxury lodges put forth the best of country life, elegant dining, and superb accommodations. Some specialize in fishing, others in golf, but there is always a range of outdoor activities for nonanglers and nongolfers. Tariffs run about NZ$400–NZ$2,000 per day for two people; meals are generally included. For information, visit the New Zealand Lodge Association's website, where you can download an electronic catalog of New Zealand lodges. These properties are also listed in their very own Luxury Lodge category on the Qualmark website.
New Zealand Lodge Association (www.lodgesofnz.co.nz.)
Motels are popular accommodations, and most provide comfortable rooms with excellent self-service kitchen facilities for NZ$70–NZ$195 per night. Unlike in the United States, motels in New Zealand are not always below the standard of hotels. Many are set up like stylish apartments, with living and kitchen areas as well as bedrooms. Some motels are called "Motor Lodges." Accommodations with more basic facilities are called "serviced motels." The Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) is an independent organization with nearly 1,000 members. Its website 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, or holiday parks as they are now described. Many of these also offer excellent motel and apartment units, as well as camping and powered sites. Tourist cabins provide basic accommodation and shared cooking, laundry, and bathroom facilities. Bedding and towels are usually provided. A notch higher up the comfort scale tourist flats provide fully equipped kitchens, and private bathrooms. Tent sites and powered caravan or motor home sites usually cost less than NZ$50 and overnight rates for cabins range anywhere from NZ$50 to NZ$100. More fully equipped tourist flats will cost NZ$80 to NZ$150.
New Zealand Holiday Parks Association (www.holidayparks.co.nz.)