Unless you are staying with family or going straight to accommodation organised by an employer or tertiary education provider, you will need somewhere live for the first few weeks while you look for something more permanent.
Generally, new arrivals either book a hotel or motel, rent a holiday home or start their New Zealand experience in ‘tourist flats’ or cabins in a holiday park or camping ground.
The cost of short term accommodation and how easy it is to find varies widely through the year. It can be affected by tourism peak season, university start dates and school holidays, to name just a few.
Finding a hotel or motel
There are lots of commercial booking sites you can use.
One good site is Wotif. It lets you search a wide range of different types of accommodation. As well as hotels and motels, it lists self-catering apartments, backpackers and guest houses (also known as B&Bs - bed and breakfasts). Prices get cheaper as the booking date gets nearer, but holding off may also mean you miss out on a place you want.
If you book a hotel or motel, always remember to ask for a quote for a longer stay.
Before you book your short term accommodation, check to see if it has Wi-Fi.
Renting a holiday home
All New Zealand cities and most towns offer homes and holiday homes to rent for short periods. In the North Island, a holiday home may be called a bach (pronounced ‘batch’ as in bachelor), or in the South Island, a crib.
As well as providing Kiwis with great places to pitch a tent or park a caravan for a holiday break, many holiday parks and camping grounds have cabins, ‘tourist flats’, motel options and self contained units. These can be an economical solution for people needing short term accommodation. Just bear in mind that sometimes holiday parks and camping grounds may have ‘shared facilities’, ie a communal kitchen, bathroom and laundry.
Our national motorists' organisation, the Automobile Association, has a good website for researching this option.