What to expect in Cottage stays

Old Apr 30th, 2008, 05:47 PM
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What to expect in Cottage stays

With the help of this site and Trip Advisor I have put together a 9 1/2 week tour. The accommodation is a mix of B&B's, hotels, and cottages. Can someone give me an idea what to expect in the cottage set up - and how they manage cooking. I'm sure that we will enjoy cooking for ourselves as there is nothing better. Do you buy a cooler, spices etc.Where is a good place to buy supplies. Would really appreciate having an idea before we get there. Any tricks that you've found that work better. Thanking all who contribute on this site who have made my planning process so much easier.
Carol
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 05:51 PM
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It would help if we knew what location you were talking about.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 05:54 PM
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Sorry - hit Post instead of Preview.

Each cottage will be slightly different - so you need to check with the owners/operators regarding facilities and what, if anything, you need to take with you.

They will be the best to advise you on location for groceries etc.

Someone on the board may have stayed in the particular cottage/s you've booked - if you tell us which & where they are.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Hi Calex -

We usually stay in cottages when we visit Australia and NZ. They can differ significantly depending on each property, so I suggest you do as Bokhara suggests and check the individual web site for each cottage you've booked.

Generally speaking though, you'll find a well equipped kitchen in most cottage rentals - this usually comprises a cooktop (and often an oven), a microwave, fridge, kettle, toaster, plenty of dishes, cookware and utensils. Once in awhile there's even a dishwasher and a grill of some sort. Most cottage rentals also have a washer/dryer, or access to one nearby.

Some cottages we've rented come with basic items such as coffee, sugar, tea, salt, pepper, sugar, cooking oil, seasonings, etc. We've also run into the odd cottage that provided an extensive array of spices, sauces, etc.

Most cottages we've rented also provide basic paper goods (paper towels, trash bags, etc).

We sometimes take a hardsided cooler with us, (which we check on the plane as luggage) or pick up an inexpensive cooler/esky when we arrive and use it to transport cold food items from stop to stop. It also comes in handy for picnics along the way.

We tend to keep our meals fairly simple so we don't have to carry around a lot of cooking ingredients, spices, etc, but with 9.5 weeks, you might take a different approach.

You can purchase supplies at most grocery stores, farmer's markets, etc.

If you plan to visit tiny towns (such as in NZ) you'd do well to plan your grocery stops so you're not caught w/o items you need.

One word of warning - I have run across websites for cottages that are VERY basic, as in you provide your own linen, so be sure you know up front what is supplied.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 07:51 PM
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The cottages are mostly in New Zealand. I have managed to find out about pots and pans etc but my question was more about grocery type items. Most operators have indicated that we need to buy groceries and given us a heads up on location. I was just trying to get a sense of what to expect and to be prepared to shop for the coolers and basics when we first arrive.
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Old Apr 30th, 2008, 08:55 PM
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Calex -

Maybe if you post your itinerary, where you'll be arriving, etc, we could be of more help?
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Old May 1st, 2008, 10:35 PM
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Cottages, also called cribs or baches, can vary widely in quality and equipment. Some may have been built with the intention of hiring them out, and will usually be more like a 'stand alone' motel. Others will have been built for the owners personal use, and will be no better, and no worse, than what they require themselves. Really the only way you can be sure is by looking at the web site, if there is one, and then contacting the owner directly.
As a general rule you would expect to have cooking facilities, (probably a full size range) and a refrigerator, as well as crockery, pots & pans etc. However some of these cottages could be in remote areas where there is no power, so you would really have to do your homework.
Most towns have some sort of grocery store, but once again, if you are going to a remote area you may be quite a few miles from civilisation. You can get coolers (Chilly Bins (NZ) or Eskies (Aust)) from most camping supplies stores. In NZ "The Warehouse" is a good place to start looking. In Aust, "Crazy Clarks".
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 06:45 PM
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OK, first stop will be too acquire all the necessities for cottage life. Hopefully we will be able to purchase spices in small quantities and we'll get a cooler. Can you purchase ice at most places?
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:06 PM
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Clex,

Having a cottage, villa or whatever term you like to use, is a perfect way of travelling, IMO!

I typically do a three week trip (I'm SO jealous of you having 9.5 weeks!), and personally, for a long trip, I get tired of eating every meal out, and I like to cook, so I do this alot!

I've never gotton a cooler, although you may want to since you have a very long trip!

One of my favorite travel meals is to buy some bread, wine, salami and nice cheese and have a picnic at a scenic spot or back at my cottage.

Most cottages will have all the cooking supplies, silverware that you'll need - they won't have spices, or it may be very limited, but why buy them? Just take some of your favorites and put them in a small Ziplock snack bag. I will also use packets, such as Knorr's Pasta Roma sauce - then all I have to do is buy the pasta, and voila! Dinner! (these take up no room in the luggage).

I love to experiment and pick up packets of things we don't see in the US - the downside of this is that after you're home and you try it and love it, you have to wonder when you'll be back and if you can find it again!

Two places that are great for shopping for your own meals are Coles and Woolworth's - the latter, not like the old, bankrupt US version, more like a Target with a grocery department. One of my favorite meals there is to buy chicken (or whatever you like) skewers for approx. $1 each - get that and a package of rice or a complete noodle packet, a
pre-packed salad w/dressing, and you have a lovely meal to enjoy on the deck of your accommodation while watching the sun set!

Hope this is helpful!

Regards,

Melodie
Certified Aussie & Kiwi Specialist
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:28 PM
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Calex -

I've never looked for ice, but I would assume you can purchase it easily enough at a grocery store or perhaps a gas station with attached convenience store.

We usually take a few of those gel pack thingies from home (I think they're called Blue Ice) - we just toss them in the freezer and use them when we're moving from cottage to cottage or as needed to keep drinks and snacks cold while on day trips, etc.

Not sure when you're traveling, but it's been cold enough on a few of our visits to NZ that we didn't have to bother with ice or gel packs - the trunk was plenty cold.

You can find spices at grocery stores - they'll come in standard sized jars and sleeves, no Costco super sized quanitities to worry about. We've been known to leave such items behind at the last cottage we stay in so future guests can use them.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:43 PM
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If you are thinking of taking spices with you, remember to declare them, as they are food. Spices like nutmeg, pepper, paprika and cinnamon may not be allowed into the country - look up the customs sites of Australia and New Zealand. Small jars of spices are only a couple of dollars at any supermarket.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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Now this is the information I was after. We have a few of those little blue bags I'll make sure they go in the luggage. We like to pick up bread and cheese etc for picnics so they will come in handy. Wouldn't have thought of bringing them. Will leave the spices at home and buy what we need as we go.
Read some great wine reviews in Wine Spectator while I waited in the Dr. office today. Seeing we won't be able to bring much back we will be enjoying great wines on route.........
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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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You'll certainly be spoiled for choice when it comes to wine. We've found that wine is less expensive at grocery stores than at cellar doors and often on sale.

Of course, it always nice to taste before you buy...but once you've established what you like, grocery stores are a great resource.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Do you normally take your own wine into restaurants? Just recently in Canada they have started to allowing BYO but most places charge huge corkage fees.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 03:51 PM
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Calex -

Many restaurants in NZ and Australia are BYO - they usually note this on their menu or at the door (or just ask). Corkage fees can vary widely - on our most recent trip to NZ corkage ranged from $4 to $10 per bottle, and this was at the SAME restaurant chain, but in different towns.

I've been to the odd place that allowed BYO, but didn't charge corkage, but I think that was probably a fluke.

I personally like the whole BYO concept and really wish it would catch on in the US, but if the corkage is outrageous, it defeats the purpose.

Just a note - in my experience licensed restaurants in Australia and NZ usually offer a wide variety of nice wines. One reason I wish BYO would catch on in the US is that so many inexpensive-mid range restaurants (in the US) tend to offer crap wine and then charge an arm and a leg for it.

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