Accommodation in NZ, besides fuel and food (especially alcohol and cigarettes), is one of the main items that will cost you money. How much you invest in it depends on the level of comfort and luxury you want to have.
Accommodtion during travelling
If you if you plan on traveling often and don’t want to stay in any one place for too long, then this is a classic choice of accommodation. It’s also the most expensive choice, which means maximum comfort at a high price. Also, it goes without saying that you can’t cook in the hotel room, so you will have to go to a restaurant, which will cost you more money. A more viable option is room rental via Airbnb.com, which is a concept of renting rooms and private homes that can often offer same or similar levels of comfort at more affordable prices. The main disadvantage of hotel accommodation is the low flexibility and the constant need of finding and booking another hotel on your route, planning arrival times etc.
If you would like to find something a bit cheaper, you can sleep in the backpackers or hostels. However, you will have to be prepared for less comfort, privacy, and cleanliness. With backpackers, you can rent your own room or if you want to save even more, you can settle for a room in a shared dorm. It is mostly a room with bunk beds where your personal space is determined by your bed and a piece of floor for your luggage. A living room and a kitchen are available for all. The advantage of this housing is, of course, a much lower price, but not everyone is able to live there. For another, it can be a great opportunity to meet new people and find new cultural habits and find friends for a joint party or a few days of traveling. Even though the people are very nice and friendly, they are still strangers so keep in mind that in a shared room your personal and valuable things may not always be safe. There is a risk of theft. Watch out for your electronics, wallet, and paper documents. In addition, living in the hostel also brings with it the necessity of finding a vacancy and making the necessary reservation. You can search for them on the Wikicamps or Travelmate mobile apps.
If you’re looking for more freedom, perhaps campsites will be right for you. The price is even lower than hostels. A disadvantage is that you must have your own roof over your head (tent, car, campervan or caravan). Camps usually do not need to be booked in advance, so you can travel in peace knowing you’ll find a place to stay wherever you decide to stop. In addition, finding campsites is super easy thanks to the already mentioned Wikicamps and Travelmate mobile applications. The price of each shows you more about the campsite’s standards. The most expensive option is Commercial Holiday parks. It provides you with the finest facilities, hot showers, washing machines, a kitchen, and a children's playground. At a price just a bit lower than a cheap backpacker, you get similar services with more privacy. Another choice is to accommodate in one of the DOC camps which offers you more levels of campsites sorted by services and prices. You can also find places to sleep completely free of charge. But do not expect anything more than a space to park your car (sometimes it is not even possible to build a tent) and some kind of toilet. For more information, please read our camping article. The main advantages of camping are the low prices and greater flexibility. The downside can be dependence on weather conditions and the need to own a sleeping car or tent.
- Car / Campervan
Housing in the car offers, of course, the greatest freedom and also the cheapest price of any accommodation. You can go anywhere wherever you like. You do not have to pack or move anything. You carry everything with you. If you have a Self-contained car, which you can read more on in a separate article, you absolutely won the freedom lottery. Despite the fact that freedom camping wherever you want is prohibited in New Zealand with this car you still have the greatest possible freedom because you can still sleep wherever it is not forbidden. Unfortunately, such places are dwindling, but you have much more to choose from than without Self-contained cars. How many times do you have the chance to sleep in truly beautiful places in the middle of nature? You can enjoy waking up near the beach, sunbathe and enjoy a cup of coffee or a great breakfast or dinner watching the sunset at the top of the mountains.
But do not worry even if you are the owner of a classic car that only has a built-in bed. Even that is enough to enjoy your adventure. However, you will have to settle for the campsites that are designed for you. There are many of them everywhere around New Zealand. Only if you want to in a campsite for free you will have a more limited selection. Housing in a car brings with it its’ own pitfalls and it is not for everyone. The confined space can become a problem especially on rainy days when you will not have a place to cook or dry wet clothes. But you can always stop at a more expensive camp that has a kitchen or pay for a few nights in a backpacker.
Accomodation during work
If you plan to stay longer in one place and work for a while, it may be difficult for you to live just in your car, and if you are not lucky enough to find a suitable campsite near your workplace in which to live, then it is better to look around for something more comfortable. The following types of accommodation are available for work or long-term stay in one place:
- Hotel / Hostel
As you travel and work, you can still stay in a hotel (if you can afford it) or a hostel. They might offer you discounts for long-term accommodation. Some employers, especially in agriculture, occasionally offer a house in their private hostels nearby or let you live in a car on the orchard. If you do not have your own place to stay, do not worry about asking them about the possibility of living with your employer.
- Shared accommodation
If the hostel is not for you or you’ve had enough of it, you can try to arrange to stay in an apartment with other travelers or seasonal workers. You can find some room-sharing offers on the announcement boards in grocery stores or info centers or facebook groups. Something that can also help you find something in a moment is to go to work the first day and ask for accommodation among the people who work there. Because employees are changing a lot in seasonal work, it may happen that someone is just looking for a roommate or there might be someone around you who can help you find something. Here again, the rule applies, not to be afraid to talk and ask around. Shared accommodation is usually in a house or flat where you rent either the whole room or part of it that you share with someone else. This, of course, reflects on the final price.
- Rented room
Rental prices are really high here, so it's not uncommon for the owners of the houses, the Kiwis themselves, to rent rooms for travelers or workers to share their private life with strangers. You may not be able to imagine letting a stranger disturb your family life, but it is quite common in New Zealand, whether it's a sub-lease or some form of woofing.
- Rented house
The greatest privacy is offered by the rental of an entire house. You can search through real estate agencies, the internet or facebook sites. But there aren’t too many offers and during the season, the good houses are usually quickly booked so you have to decide quickly. The disadvantage of renting a house is a higher level of responsibility and worries that come with it, as well as a higher price. Usually, you have to pay for electricity, gas and the Internet for yourself. Which, depending on the quality of sealing and isolation in each house, can cost quite a lot of money. Fast connect can be a good aid in arranging everything you need, which is a service which provides electricity, gas import and an internet contract for an indefinite period of time. All the fuss can be rewarding though, as a rented house will give you maximum privacy and the choice of who you want to share it with. In the case of sub-tenants, you can finally get the same price you would get when paying another form of accommodation. But beware of who you are moving into the house with, if the housing contract is written to your name then you are also responsible for all damages and other problems.