I am going backpacking with a friend, starting in november and going through till march.
We will be spending 3 months in oz, 1 month in NZ and 2 weeks in fiji. The question i have is will we need to book hostels before we get to places, or will we be alright just turning up on their doorstep!!!
We have booked our hostel for the new year period in sydney, as i heard that time is quite busy, but not sure now about all the rest.
thanks very much
For the South Island in New Zealand: you will most definitely have to book ahead. Even dorm rooms are often booked full 3-5 days in advance between Christmas and late February, particularly the more popular cities (Queenstown) and hosteling chains (YHA).
Of course, in any given city you should probably be able to find _some_ accomodation on the day itself, but you'd have to trek from hostel to hostel to find that one elusive place that has a free bed. And then places like Mt. Cook Village simply don't have any choice at all. (You could stay at either the Hermitage or the YHA - that's it (well, or go camping). Subsequently, everyone going there books ahead.)
I'd recommend to book at least two days in advance on the North Island, five on the South Island. Double those figures if you want to be absolutely certain of a bed in your hostel of choice. (Though there's no real need to be picky - pretty much every single place I've stayed in in New Zealand was really good.)
There's loads of good sites for hostel finding on the web, start with tp if you don't find the towns/cities you need, there are loads of others if you need a couple of starters pm me and I'll give you some adresses