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New Zealand is one of the world's top travel destinations, and it's not hard to see why. While it has cosmopolitan cities that are fun to explore, most people don't actually go to New Zealand for the cities. They go for its stunning outdoor beauty. For this reason, the most interesting accommodation options are geared towards helping you fully experience the outdoor environment. While the larger cities have the standard hotel options that you would find in most western cities, in the countryside you will find some uniquely New Zealand options. Whether you're interested in camping, trying your hand at a homestay, or traveling around the country in your own campervan, New Zealand has no shortage of accommodation options throughout its beautiful countryside. When making your reservations, don't forget why it is you're going to New Zealand, and don't cower away from some of the more interesting and hands on options the country offers.
Stay Flexible and Find Cheap Options
New Zealand prices are not particularly affordable but if you're flexible, it is possible to save some money during your trip. Camping is the most obvious way to cut down on your accommodation costs. There are commercial campgrounds throughout the country. It is possible to find some "free camping" in appropriate areas. If you plan to spend more than one night at the location, this option is generally not recommended, but if you're on a cycling tour, or are moving frequently, this may be an option. Do confirm that there are no signs indicating that camping is not allowed. New Zealand also has an extensive WWOOF network. WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is a program that allows travelers to volunteer on farms in exchange for food and accommodation. Typically the program involves a half day's work. The program is most established on the South Island in the Nelson Tasman region. Alternatively, in cities, couchsurfing is a popular option to reduce costs for accommodation.
Look For Something Unique
In addition to the standard western style accommodation, New Zealand has some truly unique options. If you're looking for an alternative to a bed and breakfast, and you're not on a tight budget, consider a top-end homestay. These hosted luxury lodges give you a unique and pampered experience of life in New Zealand. There are approximately 40 well known lodges throughout the country and most are outside of the cities.
If you're on more of a budget there are standard bed and breakfasts, or homestay and farmstay options. There's also a very extensive hostel network that is heavily used by the high number of backpackers that visit New Zealand. Most hostels are of high quality and offer a great way to meet fellow travelers. Camping is a great option as well, as is traveling the country in a self contained camper van. There are commercial and public facilities available throughout the country where you can pitch a tent or hook up your camper van.
Located on the North Island of New Zealand, many travelers breeze in and out of Auckland as they head toward the beautiful countryside. If you do choose to linger in the city for a few days, it's worth it to find a cheap and comfortable place to stay. There is no shortage of backpacker hostels throughout the city. Many offer both dorms and private rooms. Usually the private rooms are just a few dollars more than two beds in the dorm. If you're traveling as a couple your best value is likely to be a private room with a shared bathroom. It's more comfortable than a dorm and it offers more privacy. Many hostels also include breakfast in the price of the room. If you're flying in or out of Auckland there are also a small handful of cheap hotels out by the airport. Unless you're arriving late or leaving early, these usually aren't worth the long commute.
Bed and breakfasts are a good, affordable option that are a step above hostels. You can enjoy a quaint, local atmosphere for a reasonable price. This is a great option for travelers who want more than a sterile hotel room, but don't want to spend too much. The breakfasts are often delicious and filling as well.
If you're looking to spend a little more, there are plenty of high end hotels around. Many are on the waterfront and offer great views. Some of the more popular chain hotels include the Hyatt, Sheraton, and the Marriott.
Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand. You'll likely to pass through it for at least a few days during your time on the island. Backpacker hostels are the cheapest option in the city. Many are located in the Central Business District. (Do take note that some have been severely damaged since the 2011 earthquakes. Some are closed and accessibility to others is limited. Check with the specific hostel or hotel to confirm its current status.) Most backpacker hostels offer dorms, shared private rooms, and single rooms. The cheapest option is to stay in a dorm, but for privacy purposes you might find a private room more comfortable. The amenities are the same whichever room you choose.
Hostels in Christchurch are a great place to meet fellow travelers. Because transportation in the country can be expensive, it's sometimes beneficial to meet up with other travelers and split the cost of a rental vehicle. Hostels are often the best place to do this.