a VirtualTourist member
Should we book our accommodation before travelling to New Zealand. We have booked our first few days but are travelling south island to north island flying home from Aukland and don't really know how long we are spending in each town till we get there and see where the road takes us . We do have a route to work with. We are a mature couple!!
we rented a car while traveling clock-wise around North Island for about 10 days, and we popped into any road-side motel or hotel to stay for the night.. u will not have any problems finding a place to stay.. no need to pre-book..
We did our NZ trip without pre-booking anthing other than our first few nights.
If we did the trip again, we would pre-book for the whole trip; we would rather spend the time travelling and seeing the sights rather than looking for accomodation. This is purely a personal choice and works for us. We gotten into situations where we had trouble finding places elsewhere in the world and are more than happy to trade off a little flexibility for guaranteed place to stay without wasting an hour or more looking for a place.
Some of your decisions will depend on exactly where you are going and at what time of year. Check your route and look at mileages and see if the smaller places have much accommodation and decide whether it is better to phone them the night or perhaps two before. Check the school and public holidays timetables and local events in small places as that can make a huge difference. I need to spend a night 100km from my home this weekend and because there is a huge horse show on I couldn't get accommodation locally and will now have to drive home very late and on difficult roads.
Yes depends on timing, and check locality for events.
Kuskiwi is spot on.
While its nice to be spontaneous....and go with the flow. There will be times when you may be caught out.
As GrumpyDriver pointed out...there will be days after a long day of driving were you may just like to drive in and get settled rather than finding something suitable.
In some areas and certain times of the year there are festivals, concerts, feild days and these can wipe out the accomodation. For instance in my area we have the Mystery Creek Feild Days (a great NZ farming event) and when thats on you cant book a room for miles during that week.
Just to be a bit of a stick in the mud about this - I wasn't the only one caught out by the show this weekend and now have 3 unexpected house guests who couldn't get local accommodation within a 100k radius and are now occupying my spare beds. Early start tomorrow as we need to be 100k from here by 7am.
New Zealand abounds with accommodation in almost every town and hamlet! Even the smallest places will have a motor camp nearby if you are prepared to sleep in a cabin or tourist flat. Not quite up to motel or hotel standard perhaps, but a bed nonetheless.
The distances in NZ are comparatively less than many countries, so the chances of not being able to find somewhere to sleep are slim. A copy of the AA or Jason's accommodation guide (free at airports and from most hotels/motels) is helpful, but as many places to stay are on the main roads in/out of towns, you hardly need them.
Another option are B&B's/farmstays, which are also quite prevalent. Watch out for signs along the road!