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How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

Sydney
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How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

We are planning a 15 day trip to New Zealand in early April and were planning to hire a car....was wondering how easy it is to find accommodation from day to day? We didn't want a heavily pre-planned holiday where we had to lock ourselves in to places every couple of days - we just wanted to drive and stay in places for as long as we felt was necessary.....

We are fairly flexible with different accom. types - camping grounds, hotels, b and b's etc.

We will be travelling through school holiday time, does that make a huge difference?

Thanks.

Auckland, New...
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1. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

We like you prefer to be flexible in our plans when travelling. We very rarely book ahead but having said that have struck a probelm when arriving in a town late in the afternoon or early evening on a holiday. If you are not fussy as to price and type of accommodation that also helps, if on a budget you are more restricted.

You should be ok in most places if you get to where you are going pre 2pm, but to be safe you could look at buying a phone card when you get here and just booking ahead each day.

I think Easter also falls early in April this year which is a classic busy weekend.

taupo
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2. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

Easter is 6th - 9th April. You should pre book your accommodation for that weekend. When you arrive in NZ, pick up the Jasons travel guide books. These are free and you will find them at all i-sites and information centres. Also the airports. The guide books cover all types of accommodation. Motels, camp sites, B&Bs. Most B&Bs like a bit of notice, so call in the morning for that night or the day before. If you are open to any type of accommodation you will always find a bed in April. Most towns have an i-site or information centre that will book for you if you don't have a mobile phone. For any one doing a trip December to March. I would say book ahead.

New Hampshire
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3. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

DaizyNZ: Does this apply to renting a car? Thanks for any advice on this

Whangarei, Northland
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4. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

Youshould be OK, except definitely book ahead for Easter Weekend.

School holidays do make a difference, but this will tend to affect the cheaper end more than hotels/B&Bs. (although it does affect all types of accomm to an extent)

Also, there are events around NZ which can mean that accommodation in certain areas can get booked out.

eg. Mission Estate concert in Napier, which causes that whole area to be booked out months in advance.

However in April, I don't think there are too many of these big events to worry about.

New Zealand
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5. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

As you say school holidays are for 2 weeks from Easter weekend, some attractions in the tourist towns may be more heavily booked than usual.

Indiana
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6. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

We just returned 2 weeks ago and had no problems booking rooms each day. We had no reservations ahead of time for the entire 2 weeks. In fact, most of the time, we arrived in town after 5pm just looked for places that said vacancy. A few times, when we knew where we were going next, we went to the i-site in the town we were in and had them book accomodations for the night in the next town.

As far as Easter holiday, I cannot comment but we were there during summer break.

It's great not having a set plan--have fun!

California
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7. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

Finding last-minute accomodations on the west coast of the south island can be difficult. There aren't any big towns between Franz Josef and Haast. We just came back from NZ this month, February 2007. We were glad we had pre-booked. Met a lady who had driven a long ways and found accomodations totally booked on west coast. She was tired and also sick and feeling frantic! Finally someone called ahead for her and found the only accomodation available was more than she wanted to pay, but she took it as she just couldn't drive any more.

Most of the places we stayed were totally booked, I noticed.

I noticed that the Fox and Franz Josef Glacier areas were swarming with tourists and tour buses when we drove through. They are small villages, and very popular areas. I imagine that could be a problem area if you didn't pre-book.

In NZ you can find yourself driving a ways before you find a toilet or a gas station, let alone a hotel with a vacancy.

I would be cautious.

Slovenia
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8. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

If you're traveling on a budget, get a hold of a BBH catalogue as soon as you arrive and give the hostel a ring. This guide has hostel ratings in % and if you book a couple of days ahead (2 or 3) you can get a great room at a great location for a great price (50-60 NZ per night per room). You have a shared bathroom, but everthing else is usualy excellent. And if you get a BBH card (40 NZ per person) you can even get a couple of NZ$ off per room per night.

It does pay to call a couple of nights ahead. :)

Iowa
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9. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

We returned from NZ two weeks ago; we prebooked via Internet the first 10 days of our trip and left the last 2 days to book as we went. To my surprise (since normally I wouldn't have done this), I discovered that I liked having a place to go and not having to spend a lot of time and energy looking for a place.

We did not have a place to stay when we arrived in Hahei about 5 p.m., for example, and got one of the last B&B rooms (for a not very nice place at a highly inflated price when I was able to compare to other B&Bs the next day).

We also found ourselves going in very slow circles on one-way streets in very busy downtown Auckland, and had to go to two places before we found a room. And that was with a 3 p.m. arrival.

I may have made slightly different stops than our planned itinerary but overall I liked knowing I had a place to sleep the next night.

You might want to prebook the first and last nights and also the dates over the school holiday to save yourself some time and hassle.

New Zealand
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10. Re: How easy is it to get accom. in N. Z at the last minute?

There are places that I'd definitly book ahead- any small towns or settlements ie Hahei, Russell, Hokitika, Franz Josef and areas that aren't well populated like the Coromandel & West Coast. Also large cities ie Auckland and Wellington so I don't have to drive round and round looking and getting lost, as love2travel has said.

Places like Rotorua, Napier, Nelson I would risk finding somewhere when I get there or call ahead a day or two once I knew where I was stopping. BUT only when there were no holidays, public or school!