Accommodation Guide – New Zealand

Auckland

Elliott Street Apartments
Cnr Elliott & Wellesley St
Auckland CBD
WWW: innz.co.nz (one of many booking agencies)
Stayed there: 14th to 27th May 2006
Rates: NZ$90 per night at the rate Lou got via the i-Site. Like most hotels, using a booking agency is cheaper than booking directly.

The apartments are “managed” which means that someone does the cleaning and stuff for you. They’re also proper apartments, and I was here as Lou had been in Auckland for some time and was used to luxury! For the price that you’d even struggle to get a Travelodge for back home, the room was very spacious. It included a washer/dryer, kitchen facilities, very nice bathroom, TV, broadband (at extra cost) and good security with a great location slap in the middle of town.
We had some issues with the broadband pricing and setup which did result in us getting a week free to make up for it. We’re also convinced one of the cleaning staff “borrowed” Lou’s New Zealand guidebook, returning it the day we left.
Certainly not somewhere for the casual backpacker, but for a couple – even a small family – wanting somewhere self-sufficient, this was a good deal.

Nomads Fat Camel
38 Fort St
Auckland CBD
Tel: +649 307 0181
WWW: fatcamel.co.nz
Stayed there: 7th to 12th June 2006
Rates: NZ$18 per night including free dinner for an 8-bed dorm. Cheaper rates available for long-term residents

More of your typical hostel, this one. Fort Street has a few such places on it and Auckland itself is full of them. I picked Nomads as it was the cheapest (barring any special offers) and provided a free dinner for each tenant.
Reception was clean and bright and the staff very helpful. You’re provided with your own sheets and covers when you arrive, expected to return them on leaving. It’s your job to wash them! Coin-operated washing machines are available on several floors.
My dorm room was a bit of a mess, to be honest, but most of that was due to current and previous visitors leaving their clothes and stuff heaped about. One day, two of us in the room worked out what belonged to people who’d left and chucked it (after nabbing the good stuff for ourselves). Two of the bunks were really wobbly – I was on a top one when the guy below me came back from a night out with female companionship…
Security was pretty good with keycard access to all major doors above the first floor (lounge) and lockers in the rooms large enough for a small rucksack – provide your own padlock.
The showers are powerful and hot, the kitchen facilities passable (good luck finding a can opener – all the campers steal them!) and the free dinner pretty decent if a tad dinky. You can opt to “upgrade” it to a full portion for a small amount, though – usually $4 or $5.
Socially, the hostel seemed to organise a fair amount of stuff. There’s a weekly pub quiz and pool tournament and some excursions. Internet access is on the ground floor, though there are tons of cafes nearby if that is full.
Overall, a fun, lazy place to chill out. I loved the paintings on the walls up and down the building. Each floor seemed to have its own bit of artwork. Top location, low price and I would use them again… though I may be tempted to try another hostel just for variety.

BK Hostel
3 Mercury Lane (just off K’Rd)
Auckland CBD
Phone : (+64 9) 307-0052, 307-0056, 307-0069
WWW: bkhostel.co.nz
Stayed there: 6 June, 13 June, 26th June to 3rd July
Rates: NZ$25 per person for a twin or double, NZ$40 per person for a single

BK Hostel is somewhere between a hotel and a hostel. Hotel as it doesn’t have dorm rooms, hostel as it’s not got en-suite and does provide cooking facilities.
It’s run by some oriental folks who are all extremely helpful. Lou had a bad shoulder at one point, and the woman who runs the place loaned us a hot water bottle and also gave us some cream to rub on it for nothing. They were always chatty and wanting to learn about where people had been and where they were going.
Locationwise, BK is a minute from the top of Queen Street so allow 10 minutes to walk right into the middle of the CBD. It is right on a main road, though traffic noise isn’t a problem if you’re front-facing. The issue I had was with a nightclub over the road that was ridiculously loud, even at 4am. Earplugs may help light sleepers – it didn’t seem to bother Lou!
All rooms are done out in white, so any dirt would show quickly. As a result, the place looks very clean indeed. Bedsheets and the like are changed frequently, and you can do your own laundry using the coin-operated facilities. The kitchen was superb, even including a rice cooker. It was kept clean and tidy, the chairs has tennis balls stuck to the feet so they wouldn’t scrape the floors, a box was provided for anything you were leaving when you moved out, and rubbish was separated for recycling. The lounge area had a good bookswap, a TV and DVD, some board games and a pool table, which it was very difficult to get all the balls out of when you inserted your money!
Security was pretty good with a keycard to get in off the street and a normal key for your own room. Internet provision was acceptable with 2 PCs (and one broken one), at a reasonable hourly rate. They even calculated your time to the nearest minute and rounded down. None of this 15-minute increment nonsense!
A little pricier than some of the other hostels if you compare with dorm rooms, but not a bad rate at all for a double or twin. Recommended.

Fairlie

Fairlie Gateway Top 10 Holiday Park
10 Allandale Road
Fairlie
Phone: +64 3 685 8375
Fax: +64 3 685 8375
WWW: Top 10 Holiday parks
Rates: NZ$26 for a powered site
Stayed there: 23rd June 2006

This was an unexpected stopoff as we were driving late at night and needed a break. Our original intention had been to stop at Tekapo, but once more the weather didn’t allow this.
I can’t comment on the staff as Lou booked us in, but she said they were very nice. The kitchen was well-stocked and warm, the showers lovely and hot in the winter and the TV room comfy and functional. Other than that, I can’t really say as we literally just stopped for dinner and sleep before setting off the next morning.

Hanmer Springs

Mountain View Top 10 Holiday Park
Hanmer Springs Road
Hanmer Springs
Phone: +64 3 315 7113
Fax: +64 3 315 7118
WWW: Top 10 Holiday Parks
Rates: Powered site NZ$26. See website for others.
Stayed there: 14th June 2006

This was the first campervan park we stayed at, so we didn’t really know what to expect. Also, we didn’t use too many of the facilities.
However, what we did see was very pleasant. The staff were warm and welcoming, the location superb and the facilities clean and tidy. The internet – as seems to be common across van parks – was coin-operated and not too fast, but that’s New Zealand for you!
It is slightly less than a 10 minute walk to the Springs themselves (definitely worth a visit, especially in winter), and right next door to a minigolf course. Two minutes’ walk away is a very good pub where we enjoyed a huge dinner.
Not much else to say, but a very pleasant first campervan park.

Queenstown

Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park (“Creeksyde”)
54 Robins Road
Queenstown
Phone: 0064 (03) 442 9447
Fax: 0064 (03) 442 6621
WWW: Top 10 Holiday Parks
Rates: NZ$32 for a powered site in the off-season
Stayed there: 18th – 22nd June 2006

We very much enjoyed this park and also our time on the slopes (before some stupid skiier cannoned into Lou and damaged her knee).
As seems common in NZ, the staff were hugely friendly and informative. As well as a very nice kitchen with some hardware provided, there was a lovely comfy and warm lounge. The showers and bathrooms were clean and warm (once you got the water going – this was winter!), and the site boasted a separate spa bath and sauna though these attracted an additional charge. Worth the money after a day boarding, though!
The frequent bus to the slopes stops off right outside on the way back, and the town centre is barely five minutes’ walk. In the opposite direction, you can stroll to a supermarket in two minutes.
Prices do vary according to the season as with most parks, but being Queenstown the differences will be more noticeable.

Rotorua

Kiwipaka
60 Tarewa Road
Rotorua
Phone: +64 7 347 0931
Fax: +64 7 346 3167
WWW: Kiwipaka-yha.co.nz
Rates: NZ$9 per person for a tent to NZ$120 for 4 people sharing a chalet. We paid $70 for a double chalet
Stayed there: 27th and 28th May 2006

A 10-15 minute walk out of the town centre, right next to a large area of parkland. The room we picked had two double beds, a private bathroom and central heating (unheard of in NZ!).
The room was clean, spacious and secure with plenty of room for us to dump our stuff. Kitchen facilities are available in the main building, and are pretty huge though we didn’t use them.
We were there during the off-season so it wasn’t too busy. As a result, the bar and restaurant were closing a little earlier than would be expected, but there were enough people there to talk to. TVs are in a couple of the communal areas and there’s even a heated outdoor spa pool that we didn’t get the chance to make use of.
Mentioning the bar, it had a huge range of beers which are sold in “taster” to “get drunk quick” sized glasses. We didn’t use the cafe, though, as we chose to look around the town and eat out. We also couldn’t find anyone to serve us breakfast on the day we wanted to try it!

Tekapo

I didn’t actually stay here, but a mention must go to the camper van park where we pulled up. The weather had been atrocious and they were honest enough to tell us that they doubted our van would be able to access the park due to slush and snow. We did try, and they were right! They then helped out with recent weather and road reports to make sure we could get further down the road safely.
Were I heading back to Tekapo, I’d definitely stay with them as a “thank you”, plus the facilities did look OK and the view of the lakeside was mouthwatering.

Taupo

Go Global Central Backpackers
Cnr Tongariro and Tuwharetoa Streets
Taupo
Phone: +64 7 377 0044 or Free Phone 0800 GO-GLOBAL (4645 6225)
Fax: +64 7 377 0059
WWW: go-global.co.nz
Rates: from NZ$20 for a dorm bed to NZ$55 for private en-suite. We paid NZ$55 for a double en-suite
Stayed there: 29th May 2006

Parking was the first problem we encountered in Taupo. It’s all free but time-limited before around 6pm. As a result, we trailed a bit before parking up overnight right in front of the hostel.
The guy who welcomed us was about as Kiwi as they come – friendly, brash and “sweeeet!”. He’s also the horrible, nasty man who made it far too easy for me to book my tandem parachute jump for which I’ll never forgive him.
The hostel really does its best to maintain a friendly atmosphere with a huge collection of photos on the walls of guests, a “question of the week” on a chalkboard for people to add to, excursions and so on. As with many of the hostels, though, we were there during the off-peak winter season so it wasn’t exactly heaving. A shame as I sense this place could buzz at the right time of year.
However, the room wasn’t that great. Compared to what we got for our money at BK Hostel in Auckland, the room was pokey and not very clean. There was a TV (a dinky one) and the reception was OK but the bathroom was just about useable. OK, it didn’t bother me too much (I saw worse later on in Vietnam), but I think this was the one morning in 2 months that Lou didn’t shower as she couldn’t face it.
The bed was really small for a double, but the worst thing was the cold. The hostel will loan you a duvet for an extra $5, but we didn’t bother as it was mild when we got there. Big mistake. The temperatures plummeted overnight and, though I was OK, Lou suffered something rotten. Thing is, by the time the temperature got low enough for us to think that a duvet might actually be a good idea, reception had closed for the evening.
I didn’t see the kitchen areas, but they provided vouchers for the bar/restaurant downstairs where we got some really good grub (including HP sauce!) for a few bucks.
From this experience, I’d say for the hardcore/budget backpacker only. I could hack it, Lou couldn’t.

Wanaka

Wanaka Lakeview Holiday Park
212 Brownston Street
Wanaka, 9192
Phone: 03 443 7883
Fax: 03 443 9086
WWW: wanakalakeview.co.nz
Rates: Powered site NZ$12 per adult
Stayed there: 16th – 17th June 2006

Very much a simple “just what you need” place, but good enough that we stayed there an extra night because we were enjoying the area so much.
The kitchen was nice and big, though chilly. Pots and pans need to be rented if you don’t supply your own. There was a TV room and a bookswap, laundry and a wonderful view when the curtains were opened in the morning. Showers were nice and hot, and clean.
Walking into the main town from the park took slightly under ten minutes. Driving took two, and parking is prevalent and free.

Wellington

The Cambridge Hotel
28 Cambridge Terrace
Te Aro
Wellington
Phone: +64-4-385 8829
Fax: +64-4-385 2503
WWW: http://www.cambridgehotel.co.nz
Rates: NZ$21 per person for 8-bed dorm to NZ$125 for a 4-person private room. We paid NZ$75 for a private double room.
Stayed there: 30th and 31st May 2006

Yes, hotel. The hotel opened a backpackers’ wing fairly recently and it’s a lovely place to stay, at least by our experience of the double room. Security and reception are what you’d expect from a name-brand hotel, and the facilities live up to the main building’s reputation as well.
Our room had a TV (which I admit took us a while to find… it was mounted in plain site on the wall above head-height) and tea/coffee making facilities with a supply of both. The bed was clean, firm and comfy and there was plenty of luggage space. Cooking facilities in the shared kitchen were acceptable by hostel standards, and there was a large TV in the lounge area for the footie.
I’d say my only real quibble was the shared bathroom. Superb, clean and sparkly though it was with amazing powerful showers, it was somewhat unnerving to have the lights turn out every five minutes unless you found some way to wedge the timer switch closed in the shower cubicles.
The hotel’s well placed on the main street, though parking’s a nightmare. If you don’t get one of the “free after 6pm” spaces outside quickly enough, you’ll end up paying for overnight parking over the road. Not expensive, but it all adds up.
We ate at the barbeque that’s provided on a Wednesday night at a bargain price, and at a Chinese up the road which was dirt cheap.

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