Here is the brief version of my dilemma:
My parents are coming over from Scotland to Sydney to spend 3 weeks with me (I am currently on a gap year) over Christmas and New Year.
On the 2nd January, we all fly to Auckland where they will spend the final week of their holiday touring round the North Island with me, before I head down to the South Island for 2 weeks by myself. Now, the plan had been to rent a super-duper campervan (Mum likes her mod-cons!) and despite me warning them way back in July that New Zealand gets inundated with holiday-makers in January and to book up early, she has left it until now to try and get anything. And surprise surprise, everything is now booked up!!
So, I just thought I'd try on here to see if anybody can recommend an alternative plan of action. I am also concerned that even hotels and B&B's may be booked up and at this rate, we'll be sleeping on the street!!
Anyway, extremely grateful for any suggestions/advice you can make.
You could try the motel units or cabins at motor camps. Many motor camps have quite a range of accommodation so you could just have a room with a bed/bunks or you can have a family cottage with kitchen and ensuite. If you get a cabin where you use the camp ground's kitchen/bathroom facilities it's usually fairly reasonable.
Try Top 10 Holiday Parks, we stayed with them through the South Island in Nov/Dec 04 and found them pretty decent - clean, tidy and good facilities.
But that time period is when everyone with school kids will be on holiday so you will definitely need to be quick ... perhaps also try slightly outside of the cities/towns you're wanting to visit (eg try Woodend if you're staying in Chch).
I have to agree with the above suggestion of checking out the Top 10 Holiday Parks. These are great, and are found dotted all over NZ. My experience of them has meant great facilities, spacious grounds and helpful staff. If you get in now you may just be in luck to book yourselves some space, or if you can convince your parents to live for the moment, make a real adventure of it and just see what pops up as you travel. You mentioned B&Bs, and there's plenty of them to be stumbled upon by chance while exploring the countryside, so I say just go for it and see what comes up at the time! While it is a busy busy time in NZ, the kiwi tradition is camping, so I think you still have time to find some great places to stay that your mum will be satisfied with