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Accommodation in NZ - motels

(19 Posts)
Engelsemama Mon 25-Feb-13 19:46:37

We are heading over to NZ for a month in July (I know, it's winter there!). We are renting a car and planning on just over 2 weeks in the South Island and 10-12 days in the North Island.

We already have a route in mind and are planning on visiting a few family and friend on the way, though we won't stay with them.

It's me, DH and DS (he'll be 21mo then).

We're investigating where to stay and tbh as we've got older we've become pickier. We won't be hostelling like we were when we were younger. DH refuses to camp (not a problem since it'll be the middle of winter) or go without an ensuite.

Our travel agents recommendations are a) pricey (obviously they have to make money somehow) and b) mostly "nice" places - farmstays or B&B's or quaint boutique hotels. This might sound a bit weird, but DH and I would rather stay somewhere cheaper and more corporate/faceless motels. We hate staying in B&B's (I always feel as if I have to tiptoe round because I'm in someone's home) and tend to stay in chains when we're in the UK visiting my family.

Where can I find NZ motels? Are there national/international chains like in Europe (thinking Holiday Inn, Travelodge)? Someone recommended, but that's for more last minute rooms I think, so not handy for booking ahead right now (though will definitely keep an eye on it).

Will motels have travel cots available? Do you usually have to pay for them? Perhaps it would be worth picking up one cheaply when we arrive in Christchurch?

One last question...what are average prices like?

angelinterceptor Mon 25-Feb-13 19:58:07

We stayed in motels in December 2010 in NZ. Even in the summer we never booked ahead and found decent places at each destination. There were free guides at the tourism offices which gave an idea on price.

Can't remember the prices but will have a look in my emails to see if I have any info. I do remember we haggled a bit and maybe got discount for staying 3 nights etc.

We didn't stay in any 'chains' as such most were family or privately run. They were all really nice and suited me, DH and our 2 DC.

Engelsemama Tue 26-Feb-13 06:09:24

Thanks angel

When I travelled before as a backpacker my friend and I always either turned up or booked one place ahead using the tourist information to help, but I guess I'm more nervous about doing that with DS.

DH is the king of hagglers, and he said the same about when we're staying for more than 2 nights somewhere (I'm terrible at haggling!).

specialsubject Tue 26-Feb-13 14:33:19

you may just find some suitable hostels - some of them have attached self-contained cottages which will be the same as a motel. Have a look on Many NZ hostels are excellent, with en-suite rooms, but the main accommodation sections are not suitable for you with a baby.

random possibilities that spring to mind are Mountain House cottages in Arthurs Pass, Poplar Lodge in Arrowtown, Karamea Motels in Karamea (usually 4 nights for the price of 3). You don't haggle but there are often winter special offers.

probably worth investing in an up to date rough guide too (not the lonely planet, the NZ one isn't much good) Or PM me with your suggested stops and I'll have a think.

slug Tue 26-Feb-13 15:30:43

The NZ embassy in London used to give away free Motels in NZ books. It's a bit like the yellow pages for Motels, listed by area, price and facilities. You should be able to pick one up in NZ, but you could try here, here or The Motel Association of NZ or The AA.

To be honest I've rarely had trouble finding somewhere to stay, Franz Joseph Glacier being the only place I've ever been forced to move on, and that was in the height of the season.

EldonAve Wed 27-Feb-13 07:25:29

We stayed in motels a couple of years ago
We used one of the freebie books to find the places
iirc travel cots were extra or lots of places didn't provide them so we took our our own
We mostly booked a few nights ahead

Price did not in any way indicate the standard - it seemed to be entirely based on local competition

Mumfun Sun 03-Mar-13 09:44:14

Found lots of newer youth hostels great standard in NZ with ensuites etc and little different to motels!

Engelsemama Sun 03-Mar-13 10:56:15

Thanks for all the advice. I think we may find the nearest Warehouse when we arrive in CC and pick up our own travel cot.

I feel a lot happier about booking our accommodation as we go/when we get there to give us a bit more freedom and flexibility now. Will definitely make sure that the tourist information is our first stop for accommodation guides as well as doing a bit of research before we go. I will check out those links and recommendations slug and specialist , thanks.

The route we have in mind is:

South Island: Christchurch/Mount Cook Area/Dunedin/Invercargill (DH wants to go to the signpost at Bluff)/Te Anau/Queenstown/Pancake rocks area/Abel Tasman

North island: Wellington/Tongariro NP/Taupo/Coromandel/Auckland

Trying to keep a bit of flexibility since my Dsis is heading over there next week for a year WH. She hopes she'll be in Qtown, but obviously depends on work so we may have to be a bit flexible. Not heading up North of Auckland/Bay of Islands this time as we managed to do that last time we were there together.

Flights are booked and I'm starting to get excited now!

Catper33 Mon 04-Mar-13 08:34:22

There are a number of motels in most popular tourist areas that you can generally find on the web. An alternative that may be worth considering is holiday homes- these can be cheaper sometimes and available for differing numbers of nights but give you a lot of flexibility.

You have to watch the weather as it can be unpredictable. Some July's have been quite snowy with road travel in some places difficult, but some years it has been the opposite. Be prepared to be flexible!!! The route sounds good but busy with some great places you have included.

Have an amazing time. We love it here!!!!!!

CelticPromise Mon 04-Mar-13 08:50:19

We went in January and found accommodation as we went along, so you should be fine in winter. We found it generally to be of a very high standard, cheaper and less 'stuffy' than the UK.

Our favourite place was Wanaka and if you fancy a treat the Wanaka Homestead was a lovely place to stay.

I'm so jealous!

specialsubject Mon 04-Mar-13 13:08:52

For Mt Cook, I have no hesitation in recommending this wonderful place just outside Twizel:

Tongariro NP in mid winter will be just admire from the road unless you and the baby can use an ice-axe and crampons - but you will be going past it.

Pancake Rocks is nice for 20 minutes at high tide, unless you fancy some bigger walks. Remember that Queenstown is a ski destination and is busy year round; and I don't recommend the hostels there unless you are all night party animals.

Catper33 Mon 04-Mar-13 22:00:58

CelticPromise- agree with you about Wanaka- Spend a lot of time there!!!!!wink. So beautiful at the moment!!

You do need to be careful in winter with accomodation availability although it does depend on your dates and where you are. School holidays are at the end of July as are the Australian holidays for some states, therefore if you are in a ski/tourist area, accomodation can be harder to find especially the cheaper, good value places.

millie19 Fri 15-Mar-13 21:01:33

Hi engelseamama - we went to NZ from Jan-April last year with our then just 2 year old & 4 year old. We did self drive & camper van, staying in motels, b&bs, campsites in the van, and the odd "treat" in a hotel in a big city (mainly so we could have a bath & get a babysitter for a night out a deux!). We covered nearly 5000 miles driving across both islands and went to everywhere that you are planning to go. If you are interested in some much more detailed info about where we stayed, recommendations for places with little ones, places to avoid etc etc etc then please do PM me! It was THE most amazing trip I've ever done and I wish we were back there. Enjoy smile

blushingmare Mon 18-Mar-13 07:12:22

We're just back from NZ and had the most amazing time! One thing worth bearing in mind is that the the self catering holiday homes are all available by the night, instead of having to book for a week like over here. We found this by far the best option travelling with 9mo DD. the site is where we got most of ours.

blushingmare Mon 18-Mar-13 07:16:14

And we stayed here in Abel Tasman and would definitely recommend!

Casperthefriendlyspook Thu 04-Apr-13 22:40:50

Also the Top 10 holiday parks have self catering lodge bits in them in a lot of locations. DP is a kiwi and we usually stay with family/friends but have stayed in these with DD a few times when travelling about. The one lakeside in Te Anau is particularly nice, as is Hot Water Beach & Napier. Have an amazing time!

Casperthefriendlyspook Thu 04-Apr-13 22:41:15


juniperinNZ Mon 03-Jun-13 23:39:25

Go into an AA shop when you arrive here, can get loads of free booklets with accommodation in, there are brochures for each area, free maps etc. If you're flying into Christchurch I can tell you where the nearest ones are. The AA here is really involved with tourism, places to stay etc. You can use this website to search for motels
There aren't chains as such, but there are loads of motels about, they tend to be grouped into areas in some places, in Christchurch for example there are lots around Riccarton area, then lots around Bealey Avenue area (just north of the CBD). There are some nice looking ones near us (we live just north of the CBD).
Be wary of it being ski season in July, places near the ski fields get booked up very, very quickly and our school hols start on July 15th. Queenstown will be very chaotic, we stayed at Lake Hawea which is quiet but very pretty and went to Queenstown for the day, Queenstown was bit too busy for us, but is beautiful, especially with Remarkables in background. We loved Wanaka and Arrowtown (we have 3 dc 5,3 and 1).
Any advice feel free to ask smile It's a brilliant place - raining today but our winters can be really beautiful with lovely blue skies - it was 18 degrees on sunday smile

Engelsemama Sun 30-Jun-13 20:29:09

Thanks for all the tips and ideas. I'd forgotten about this thread blush and didn't get round to PMing anyone.

We've decided not to book anywhere in advance except our long weekend in Qtown where my Dsis is, first night in CC, and a weekend in Wellington (and are staying with friends in Auckland). I heard that it's really cold in the South Island at the moment so we'll be wrapping up warm.

Still think I'm crazy doing 2 12 hour flights with a 20mo. grin

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