Booking Lodging Ahead of Time?

Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:21 PM
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Booking Lodging Ahead of Time?

Mr. Pickle and I are planning our New Zealand itinerary. We'll be on the South Island May 21st through June 2nd.

So far, we plan to stay in Queenstown our first night, at Milford Sound Lodge the second night, Te Anau the night after that, and then another night or two in Queenstown before we head for the West Coast.

We will reserve rooms for these four or five nights in the next couple of days, but is there anywhere else that we might need to book ahead of time? At this point, we're heading through Wanaka to either Fox or Franz Josef glaciers (more as a stopping point for the night than anything), then probably through Greymouth to Nelson and/or Marlborough Sounds, if we can, before we go south again. We want to be in Christchurch the evening of June 1st, since our flight leaves the evening of June 2nd.

Since we're traveling during shoulder season, I don't think we should have problems reserving a room the day before we arrive in most places, but I thought I'd ask here to check.

Thanks for your help!

Lee Ann
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:26 PM
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I forgot to mention we plan to stay in hostels or motels, though I'm not opposed to something fancier if it's worth the price.

Lee Ann
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 02:00 AM
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hi Lee Ann,

great news that you're going to NZ - we loved it, especially the SI. But you have certainly set yourselves an ambitious itinerary, with a lot of driving and dotting about. We started off with that idea too, but we quickly realised, once we'd got there, that we weren't going to be able to do it and luckily were able to change our plans.

IME one night stands are particularly tiring, and you have got loads!

you could perhaps change the beginning round a bit - 2 nights in QT, then 2 in Ta Anau, followed by Wanaka, but after that it looks as if you'd be on the go all the time.

I think that with the time you've got [I make it 11 nights] you re going to be hard pressed to do QT, Milford Sound, the Glaciers AND Marlboro' Sound.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 06:40 AM
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Hi Lee Ann -

I don't think you'll have any problems winging your accommodation that time of year, with the possible exception of Milford Lodge, which you plan to book anyway, and possibly Christchurch, as accommodation there is still a bit limited post-earthquake.

There are generally some good accommodation deals to be found that time of year, but usually for a minimum of three nights or so (like stay three, get the 4th free). Regardless, low season rate will apply as its post-summer, pre-ski season.

I dislike one night stays too, even two nights feels rushed to me.

Staying one night Queenstown, then driving four hours hours to stay a night in Milford, and then driving two hours to stay in Te Anau, and then driving another two hours to stay in Queenstown again...seems a lot of moving around, unpacking/packing, unloading, reloading the car, without covering much ground. I suspect you'll find it rather limiting, as check out time in NZ is generally 10 am, so you'll have all your stuff in the car as you tour throughout the day. Perhaps not an issue for you, but I personally prefer to sit still for a few days for uninterrupted exploring.

So much to see, so little time, I totally get it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 07:18 AM
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Do all your "Queenstown time" when you arrive. Te Anau to Wanaka is a reasonable drive so you don't need to spend time in Queenstown again.

There is no town at Milford Sound. Lots of sandflies can make staying there unpleasant. Staying 2 nights in Te Anau and doing a daytrip makes more sense. There's also the option of doing a coach tour from Queenstown. The absolute best option, if budget allows, is to do a coach/cruise/fly tour.

Write your itinerary out day-by-day. Even though you want to leave accommodation to last minute, it will give you an idea of what is possible and not possible. Here's a sample:

Day 1 - Arrive Queenstown (2)
Day 2 - explore
Day 3 - Drive to Te Anau (2)
Day 4 - Milford Sound daytrip
Day 5 - Drive to Wanaka
Day 6 - Drive to Fox/FJG (2)
Day 7 - explore
Day 8 - Drive to Punakaiki
Day 9 - Drive to Nelson/Abel Tasman (2)
Day 10 - explore
Day 11 - Drive to Hanmer Springs or Kaikoura
Day 12 - Drive to Christchurch
Day 13 - Fly out

Since you don't fly out until the evening of the 2nd, unless there's something you really want to do in Christchurch, I would drive there that morning. This will give you one more day to spend elsewhere. I'd allocate it to Wanaka or Nelson.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for your replies. We decided last night to go ahead and stay our first two nights in Queenstown, then drive to Milford Sound. The lodge there has a "bed and board" package that looks appealing, and we plan to make stops along the way and do some hiking.

Lee Ann
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Old Mar 8th, 2016, 07:51 AM
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>

This sounds vaguely slanderous.

Here's what you need to do even if you don't book ahead, ensure you have options at your possible overnight sites instead of "we're here, let's look for a bed."

Last thing you need is to find out that the "comfortable, well-kept, homey lodging with abundant wood accents" that the tourist center recommends is some random green-doored abode built into the middle of a hill, surrounded by nosy neighbors, has low ceilings, and employs a gardener who won't mind his own business. I've heard that can happen in NZ . . .
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Old Mar 8th, 2016, 09:09 AM
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This sounds vaguely slanderous.>>

only in your mind, BigRuss!

as BigRuss says, it's a good idea to have a list of possibles, Lee Ann, or possibly to book the night before you get to a place, when you have a better idea of what your plans are.
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Old Mar 8th, 2016, 02:39 PM
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>>Last thing you need is to find out that the "comfortable, well-kept, homey lodging with abundant wood accents" that the tourist center recommends is some random green-doored abode built into the middle of a hill, surrounded by nosy neighbors, has low ceilings, and employs a gardener who won't mind his own business. I've heard that can happen in NZ . . .

deSchenke, the coach/cruise/fly option looks tempting, but it is a little out of our budget. Thanks for the suggested itinerary; it's similar to what we're considering.

Lee Ann
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