Me and the girlfriend are traveling up the east coast of australia from sydney on the 14th jan till the 4th of feb then flying over to christchurch till the 24th of feb.
We are looking for some advice about accommodation as we wanted to freestyle, stopping and starting in each place as we see fit depending on how well are enjoying it, we had hostels in mind the odd hotel thrown in, but we have heard that around this time of year we are best to book as places will be very busy, as we know its the summer / holiday period my question is is this necessary?? as we don't want to be on a time table.
also while i am asking and i hope everyone is helping us out transport??? we had set to get a greyhound bus pass for oz which sounds good to me but we are stumped on new zealand we don't really wanna do the kiwi bus (new zealand's greyhound equivalent) we have beeing looking at campervans but any suggestion would be a great help.
We would appreciate any help and advice going and hope everyone has an amazing time on their journeys
Dave & lauren
Have you considered using the Stray bus for your transport around New Zealand? Or Naked Bus? I got a return Auckland to Paihia for £2 with them!
New Zealand's Greyhound equivalent is InterCity. (They're pretty decent; going everywhere you want to go, daily.) Or the already mentioned Naked Bus (they're the cheap upstart against the established InterCity).
Kiwi Experience / Magic Bus / Stray are regular tour busses (like the Oz Experience). 15 minutes to see a waterfall, and then back in the bus, with daily upsell videos on the activities you can do at the overnight stop.
Accommodation-wise, at least on the South Island you really should book hostels ahead that time of the year, yeah; 2-3 weeks easily if you want a private room in a specific hostel. Campervan is a decent alternative (no need to book campgrounds ahead), although I always hated the train of cars building up behind us at any and every mountain pass, and constantly having to be on the lookout for the next possibility to pull out and let them pass us by.
[ Edit: Edited on 07-Aug-2013, at 02:08 by Sander ]
Pre-booking accommodation is always a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you lose some flexibility in your trip because you have to be at certain places at certain times. On the other hand, by pre-booking you can research your options a bit better and make a choice based on what seems like a good place. Also possibly cheaper. Although that too can work out the other way - sometimes booking the night before you are arriving allows you to get some discount deals. Really, there's no simple answer. The main thing you need to be aware of is that if you don't book in advance, then be prepared to pay a lot more than you might want. Or alternatively be prepared to stay places you might not really like.
A sort of in-between strategy might be to book multiple nights at some of the spots along the way and just do day trips from there to surrounding areas for a few days. This way you still have some flexibility, but you also have your accommodation sorted.
Booking multiple nights in one spot also opens up some other vacation rental type accommodation options (stayz.com for example often has minimum night restrictions of at least 3 nights or so).
My personal choice around that time of the year would be to do your research and pre-book it all We list a lot of the budget options on Travellerspoint as well.
For the NZ bit at least, my preference would be to hire a car and then motel / hostel it without prebooking. First time was told to prebook as it was Christmas, so we did, but there seemed to be lots of availability wherever we went.
Around the same time our friends did it by camper van, we added things up and it cost them as much as our motels and car hire.
You say you want chance to linger - are you spending your three weeks just on South Island? For me that would be about the right pace.