Reservations needed in November for New Zealand?

Jun 12th, 2014, 06:51 AM
  #1  
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Reservations needed in November for New Zealand?

We will be traveling in New Zealand for 24 days in the month of November. We haven't made our itinerary yet. Should we have reservations for accommodations that time of year? Or are there just certain areas of the country where reservations are necessary? Thanks for your help.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 02:13 PM
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hi, jr,

we were advised to pre-book when planning our trip last year, when we were in NZ for 2-3 weeks at the end of Nov/beg December.

in actual fact i think that we would have been able to find somewhere to stay quite easily in most places, though it might not have been as good as what we had pre-booked.

we did end up booking while we were there as we changed our plans half-way, having realised that we had bitten off too much driving than we could chew - so we used the free cancellation terms on booking.com to cancel some advance bookings. When we did have to find somewhere to stay, in Oamaru and Christchurch, we had no problems doing so. The tourist offices are very helpful and will ring places for you.

We stayed both in B&Bs and motels, and on the whole we preferred B&Bs because of the chance to meet locals and other travellers, though motels were good for the cooking and laundry facilities, which were very useful on a long trip. a mix of both might be the best option.

we did not stay in Auckland so i can't help with whether reservations are advisable there.
annhig is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 02:36 PM
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Thanks, Annhig. Maybe we'll try it without reservations except for the ones we already know, such as when we first arrive and our last destination. My husband was in NZ 20 years ago and he didn't pre-book anything but I was wondering how it was now. You're always so helpful, Annhig. I'm used to seeing you on the Europe forum but found you were here, too!
Janet
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 03:11 PM
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I'd book your first and last night and take a chance on the rest. Check before you leave home to see if there are any special festivals or public holidays and book a few nights ahead if in doubt.
marg is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 04:17 PM
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Good idea, Marg, about the festivals and holidays. We'll do that.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 04:28 PM
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We will also travelling in N.Z in November and have been pondering the same question. When we were there four years ago, we booked nearly all of our accommodation a day ahead through the ISites (tourist info. centres) which worked very well. We paid upfront at the info centre, there was only one place which wasn't what we were expecting and the owner refunded our money, no problem - not sure if that would happen again. In fact this is one of our favourite New Zealand stories as the woman gave us our refund in the shape of a cheque made out to "cash" and the motel owner where we stayed that night (think it was in Hokitika) took that cheque in payment!! Don't think that would happen in N America and perhaps not in New Zealand these days.

I have been looking at accommodation possibilities in some areas such as Coromandel and Nelson - seems costs have increased considerably since we were last there. However there did seem to be some possibilities with Air BnB and those we would have to book ahead.
janeog is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 05:36 PM
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jrjcolllins -

I don't think you need to book most places that time of year, but keep in mind that small towns and popular areas (such as Mt Cook, the glaciers) do fill up. If Mt Cook is on your itinerary and you turn up late in the day, you could find yourself w/o a place to stay and having to backtrack to Twizel.

If you turn up at the glaciers w/o a booking and the place is full (unlikely in November) you could be in a bind, as the next closest town is hours away.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2014, 08:54 PM
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Thanks for your suggestions, Melnq8.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jun 13th, 2014, 02:30 PM
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talking about the Coramandel, jr, it's an area in what we wish we'e spent more time, and part of the reason that we didn't was because we had a booking in Napier for the next two nights.

it was also partly the drive from Coramandel to Napier that convinced us that we'd spread ourselves too thin and needed to change our plans later in the trip. and if we hadn't done that, we'd never have found the gem that is Oamaru!

We did book our first night but not our last; as we had a very early flight out, as soon as we got to Christchurch we found the car hire return depot [not obvious] and then booked a room at a nearby motel. it wasn't very convenient for exploring Christchurch but we were very grateful that we were so close to where we had to return our car.

i would agree that if you are planning to stay at the glaciers, it might be sensible to book there, and a first night, but otherwise, you should be fine.
annhig is offline  
Jun 13th, 2014, 08:37 PM
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Hi, Annhig. We arrive in Auckland about 6AM and are thinking of spending the first night or so in the Coramandel area. How many nights would you suggest staying there? From there we were thinking of going to Rotoroa for a couple of nights. Thanks for any help.
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 12:10 AM
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As you're arriving after an overnight flight, I hope you don't plan to drive on your day of arrival jrjcollins.

I highly recommend a day room at the Auckland Novotel where you can rest up before beginning your journey.
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Jun 14th, 2014, 07:29 AM
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Thanks for your suggestion, Melnq8. Wise or unwise, we never let ourselves take a nap the first day after an overnight flight. We were thinking of driving to Thames for the first night or two. Is it correct that it's about a 1 1/2 hour drive?
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Jun 14th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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jr - I wouldn't dream of contradicting mel about having a rest before you set off after an overnight flight, and in all seriousness, if you are arriving at about 6am, it could well be 8am or even 9 by the time you are setting off into the hell which is the rush hour south of Auckland airport.

I just checked our itinerary - we arrived after a 3 hour flight from Brisbane at about 3pm, and left the airport at about 4pm; it was 5 before we were leaving the car hire depot, so we emerged after a reasonably short flight into the rush hour traffic and it was very difficult to cope with. [not having a map as the car hire co refused to give us one did not help - we found one at the second petrol station we stopped at which helped]. From memory, i think that we arrived at Thames at about 6pm but it could have been later. Because it was late in the day, we didn't stop on the way which was a shame as the map showed a bird sanctuary en route which I would have liked to see.

I think at least 2 nights [depending on the amount of time you have on your first day] would be in order for the Coromandel - we stayed at Thames but if you had time and wanted to explore the north of the peninsular, somewhere further up might be better. However you could not do better than the B&B we stayed in:

http://www.cotswoldcottage.co.nz/

lovely position overlooking the race course, very comfy room, friendly hosts, and one of the best meals we had in NZ - they don't advertise it, but will give you supper if you ask, which was very welcome on our first night in NZ. and a gorgeous garden which sadly we didn't have enough time to explore.
annhig is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 11:20 AM
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Hi, Melnq8 and Annig. I read again Melnq8's reply and had previously overlooked her idea of a "day" room. Good idea! Then after recouperating, we'll drive on to the Coromanel. Thanks, Annhig, for the B&B suggestion. After a long flight, a wonderful meal would be great!
jrjcolllins is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 06:17 PM
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Giving in to a nap is much, much safer than driving while sleep deprived, which is akin to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.80. I notice you're from the US, so you'll have driving on the left and driving in a busy, unfamiliar city to contend with as well as fatigue.

Day rooms at the Novotel are available from 6 am to 6 pm and run about NZ $120. The hotel is very nice and right there at the airport. After a nap, you might consider walking (or taking a taxi) over to Villa Maria for lunch; a lovely introduction to NZ's wonderful food and produce.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 08:29 PM
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Oops, make that 0.08%.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jun 14th, 2014, 09:23 PM
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I would heed Mel's advice as we have recently had two very nasty fatal car accidents caused by tourists travelling on the wrong side of the road, or not heeding signs. There have been others too where the drivers have picked up a rental car the day they arrive and then take off on their trip, not realising they are tired. While travelling, tiredness catches up with them and they fall asleep, sometimes with tragic consequences. A sad way to start a holiday.
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