My husband and I spent many months staying in New Zealand, besides camping, we slept in almost every different type of accommodations possible. From backpackers, hotels, trains,
Lets start with the hotels, we tried three all together. They are exactly what you would expect, comfortable beds with a private bathroom with a small coffee maker and television. I must say when traveling a hotel is almost always the way to go if you can afford it. Most hotels go out of there way to may their rooms warm and comfortable and after a long day of site seeing there is nothing like a warm shower followed by a great night sleep. The two big down falls is the price, New Zealand is expensive and their hotels no matter how many stars they have will cost you deeply. Plus most don’t offer anywhere to put your own food, so you will have to foot the additional cost of eating every meal out. One of the hotels was in a busy part of town and we were kept up most of the night by the late night party goers so you do need to watch what part of town you stay in.
Next we slept a night on the train, the ride itself was beautiful a great way to take in the incredible beauty of the country side, the down side is you end up sleeping in seats with others right next to you. It was an endless night of listening to others snore and talk in their sleep. Plus the food cart is limited, most of the food is ready made, not the most healthy and incredibly expensive. Hey your on a train what do you expect right. It was fun getting a chance to meet people from all over the country for those hours you become close friends bonded by your train car. Those friendships are short lived once you get to your stop you walk off and say goodbye to all you have met forever.
Then we got to stay in a bed and breakfast for two weeks, it was in a large beautiful home in a swank part of Wellington. The inn itself was walking distance to most of the great tourist attractions of Wellington making it a great convenience. Our room was small but the bed was warm and comfortable, because they don’t have central air we were given a small heater for our room, it left part of the room hot and the other part cold. The downside we had to share a bathroom with five other rooms. For me the bathroom is a private time, having to share made it feel like you could never really relax. I found myself taking fast showers and using the toilet when everyone was done so I felt a little less rushed. Now I only have this inn to talk about but the breakfast was not worth getting up for. It was nothing more than cold cereal and coffee, if you woke up in time you might be lucky enough to get a small croissant with jelly, plus if you took more than one bowl of cereal you got a stink eye from the host. The shock of it all was the cost, we spent more on this inn than we did for a hotel and we found out this was one of the best priced inn’s in the area. I would say that if all the inns are like the one I mentioned. It is best just to skip the experience.
We spent most of our time in a flat, it was the lower half of someones home. In New Zealand this is a common practice to convert a portion of your home into a flat to rent to others. Although not a cheap way to live it is a better price than almost anything else. We spent nearly $300 a week for a small one room fully furnished flat with a private entrance, private shower and small kitchen. When we walked in we almost laughed at the two twin beds we were provided, we tried to sleep in our separate beds but being a young married couple we wanted to sleep next to each other. I tell you no matter how you put those two twin beds together they never really fit. Although we made it work I must admit it took nearly four months to recover from the back problems we suffered with from sleeping on those beds. The rest of the flat was great, we had an amazing view from our room and our host was a warm and wonderful person, she alone made the stay worth our time. Now Wellington is built on hills and this flat was not an exception, the town and train were almost two miles away, all via little stair cases straight up or down steep inclines. Most nights we were so tired from the climb to and from town that we could barley keep our eyes open, we would get home and crawl right into bed. I would say if you can find one of these little gems to stay in they are by far your best bet for an affordable way to live during your stay in New Zealand.
For several nights we stayed in a backpackers inn in Rotorua And Hamilton. They are known here in the states as hostels. I must say this is a rough way to stay while you are vacationing, there is a reason why they call it a youth hostel. We toured several over our time each time feeling like they were a little more of an adventure then we were ready for. Most are large rooms with bunk beds, one of the hostels had almost 40 bunk beds in one room alone, most were co-ed. There was a large public kitchen where everyone like to gather and eat together. There were also large public lounges with games, televisions and old sofas to sit on, a perfect fit for young travelers out to meet new people. We did find a backpackers that had a private room for a reasonable price, I think it was about $40 a night. There was nothing fancy about the room, it was a hard cold bed in an almost scary cold white room. There was nothing warm or comfortable about our nights and not to mention we got to hear the young party goers all night. We were lucky to get more than a few hours of sleep each night. This is a great way for the true bargain traveler.
Probably our most romantic time was our week in a holiday park in Te Aroha. I had never stayed in a holiday park before and was not sure what I was in for. It was like a trailer park, camp ground and motel combo. The location of this park was in the about five miles from a small town in the middle of the country. We rented one of the rooms for 10 days, nothing fancy like a small one bedroom apartment with a private bathroom, kitchen and television. It was small and comfortable, plus the hosts did everything they could to make our stay as comfortable as possible. The nicest part of living here was the location, each morning we got to walk outside to a view of the mountains on one side and horses on the other, plus the air was so cool and fresh here. At night they filled a small rock pool with hot water so we could sit outside in the mountain air while enjoying a warm bath. The cost is not cheap but well worth the experience.
There are so many ways to sleep while on vacation, I would say its worth the time to try at least a few different ways. You not only get to meet different people but you get a taste of a different way of life in each. Some are better than other, while some are cheaper than others but each is a unique and special experience.