New Zealand offers a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets. At the top end of the range, five-star hotels and wilderness lodges provide luxury accommodation. Mid-range hotels, motels and motor lodges, self catering apartments, country pubs, farm stays, and bed and breakfasts cater for travellers on a more modest budget. For those on a very tight budget, camping grounds and backpacker hostels offer good value. Away from the larger cities and resorts, the choice of accommodation can be limited, although there are motels and camping grounds in virtually all locations.
Gradings And Facilities
New Zealand’s accommodation grading system, Qualmark, was established in 1994 and now serves as New Zealand tourism’s official quality mark. All businesses carrying the Qualmark have been independently assessed against a set of national quality standards. Accommodation is graded on a star system. One star indicates that the premises meet basic standards of cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, while five stars denote that the facility is among the best in New Zealand. In addition, three new categories have been established for visitor activities, transport and services. The Qualmark system is voluntary, however, and many establishments choose not to participate in it. Many of the large chain hotels are air conditioned, but the New Zealand climate does not generally warrant air conditioning. Hot showers and heating are provided in all types of accommodation. Linen is also provided in hotels and motels.
In back-packer hostels and camping grounds, linen is not always provided but can usually be hired for a reasonable fee.
Prices vary according to the style of accommodation, facilities and services. Luxury lodges start at about NZ$650 a night, while a room in a backpacker hostel can be as low as NZ$30 a night. Most motels are in the range of NZ$80 to NZ$120 per unit, while bed and breakfast hotels cost between NZ$50 and NZ$100 per person. Off-season discounts are often available, and it is a good idea to ask about these when making bookings.
Travelling with children in New Zealand is easy, with cots and baby-sitting services generally available on request.
However, children are not welcome at some exclusive lodges and guesthouses. The definition of a “child” among hotels varies, ranging from under 12 to 17 years.
Children enjoy special rates only if they are the third or subsequent occupant of a room and do not request an extra bed. A useful website to look at is http://www.kidsnewzealand.com, which lists events as well as child-friendly places to visit, to eat and to stay.
New Zealand law stipulates that all new buildings as well as old buildings under-going major renovation must provide “reasonable and adequate” access for the disabled.
Most facilities have wheelchair access. It is best to check in advance.