Australia and New Zealand are bucket list destinations for many travelers. If you’re coming from North America, or Europe, going down under requires flying clear to the other side of the world. Whether you’re headed to the Oceania for just a few weeks’ holiday, or you’ve managed to negotiate a longer stay, there are seemingly endless options for New Zealand and Australia accommodations and adventure.
Australia is a country of wide open spaces with cosmopolitan cities strategically positioned around the fringe. I’d encourage you to find the balance between exploring the culture, food, and arts scene of the urban centers and finding adventure in the Outback, diving the spectacular reefs, and exploring the idyllic wine regions of this beautiful country.
New Zealand is a nation formed from two major islands. The North Island is home to the big city of Auckland and the capital, Wellington, as well as dozens of idyllic little towns that beg to be slow traveled. Don’t miss lake Taupo or the geo-thermal activity around Rotarua. The highlights of both islands can be zipped through in a couple of weeks by train and the very economical buses, but it’s better explored slowly and off the beaten track. Rent a car, or a camper van, and take your time.
Where should you stay? There are tons of options across both Australia and New Zealand. Take a chance and book something different than a run of the mill hotel this trip.
Table of Contents
- Hotels Under $150
- Boutique Hotels
- Vacation Rentals
- Unusual Accommodations
- Tourist Offices
Aussie and Kiwi resorts are famous worldwide for having a unique ecological and natural element, often incorporating local wildlife and scenery into your stay. They have all the basics you find in your average resort: sparkling pools, spa facilities, 5-star restaurants, impeccable design, unique locations, and high to middling price tags on a nightly stay.
In New Zealand
Lodges of NZ: Stay at a luxury lodge instead of a resort. A comprehensive list of New Zealand’s best lodges
Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers: Luxurious Mount Maunganui hotel and apartment accommodation at the foot of the famous Mount
Five Star Alliance: Lists the 26 best luxury hotels in New Zealand
Kiwi Collection: A list of the best NZ luxury hotels
Wharekauhau Lodge & Country Estate: Situated in the middle of a 5,000-acre farm in southern Wairarapa and built along the lines of an Edwardian country manor
Hotel Debrett, Auckland: Mod boutique hotel in an updated Art Deco building in Auckland’s hip downtown
Apuku Lodge & Tree Houses: Take to the treetops at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses hotel in Kaikoura, NZ, where canopy-level rooms offer views of mountains, sea and deer
Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania: A luxury lodge resort located in Tasmania
One & Only Hayman Island, Queensland: One of Australia’s most acclaimed luxury hotels
Anchorage, Port Stephens: Nestled on the sandy beach of Port Stephens, this luxury resort is known for its location and fine dining
Capella Lodge: Lord Howe Island’s premium boutique accommodation, commanding stunning ocean and mountain views
Peppers Salt Resort and spa: Luxury Kingscliff accommodation on the Tweed Coast with 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments overlooking white sandy beaches
Mercure Gold Coast Resort: Located 30 minutes from the Gold Coast Airport and just minutes away from the beautiful Gold Coast beaches
Oaks Pacific Blue Resort Salamander Bay: Situated near the beach, this luxury aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Salamander Bay
Chifley Alice Springs Resort: On the banks of the Todd River, the Chifley Resort has modern rooms with free Wi-Fi, just a 5-minute walk from the center of Alice Springs; not overly luxurious, but more than your average hotel
The Bryon at Bryon: Five star resort set within a 45 acre rainforest offering spa treatments, rainforest walks and yoga classes
Arkaba Walk: Outback Walking in Style; the Arkaba Walk is redefining the classic Aussie ‘bush walk’, adding luxury touches to a four-day private hike in the Flinders Ranges
Saffire Freycinet: Some of the best accommodation in Tasmania
Southern Ocean Lodge: Australia’s first super lodge, offering an exclusive luxury travel experience and luxury accommodation on Kangaroo Island
Thala Beach: Located on a private headland offering deluxe eco-retreat accommodation
Qualia on Hamilton Island: A world-class luxury resort on Hamilton Island
Australia and New Zealand have (rather unfairly) earned a reputation for being hard on the wallet. Many tourists opt to head for nearby Southeast Asian countries instead, hoping to save a buck (see our Ultimate Guides to Transportation, and Accommodation in Southeast Asia). It’s true that Australia can make traveling on the cheap a little more complicated than it might be in Thailand or Vietnam, but don’t write off your trip down under just yet. Do your research, and you’ll find that keeping your travel affordable is very doable.
Sacrifice luxury for practicality, and take a look at local and chain hotels. Visiting during the off season can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of your trip. Opting to sleep away from city centers will also help you keep it affordable. Hotel rooms generally cost more than hostels, or camping, but provide reliable comfort and cleanliness, and often come with breakfast included.
In New Zealand
QT Hotels: An eclectic mix of design and art, lifestyle and luxury with a touch of quirk
com: The ultimate guide to hotels (and other accommodation options) in New Zealand
Accor Hotels: This chain can be found throughout major locations in New Zealand and Australia
Hilton: Stay in comfort throughout New Zealand and Australia, just like you would at home
Hyatt: Hyatt hotels can be found only at primary locations such as Sydney or Auckland, but offer consistent quality
Rydges: Catering to New Zealand, Australia, and the UK alone, this hotel chain upholds high quality standards of cleanliness and economic pricing
InterContinental: With luxury hotels and cheap rooms alike, Intercontinental is a chain hotel that caters to all budgets
Hotels Combined: Lists hundreds of hotels across New Zealand and Australia, making it easy to find one that perfectly suits your personal needs
Cheap Sleeps: Find affordable, budget friendly accommodation in New Zealand
Agoda: Lists accommodation in all price ranges around the world; easily book from the Agoda website
NZ Hotel Deals: Dedicated to helping you find the best hotel deals in New Zealand
Wotif: Find cheap hotels in New Zealand and Australia on Wotif and save on hotel booking
Hipmunk : Searches hundreds of websites to locate affordable accommodations worldwide
Quick Beds: An Aussie-based accommodations website, locating affordable hotel stays across Australia
Student Universe: Provides cheap accommodations for students in New Zealand and Australia
Ibis Budget Hotels: Locates and compares hotels around the world, within your budget
Arra Hotels: Provides cheap hotels accommodation (Budget Motels, Orbit Inns, and Paragon Hotels) to travelers across Australia
Metro Hotels: Hundreds of chain hotels across Australia
Wotif : Save on Australian hotels using Wotif to find great deals and special discounts
Boutique hotels are generally small, privately owned hotels. Most revolve around a particular niche, whether it’s art deco, eco-friendly architecture and development, or indigenous cultures. Be sure to check out some of the incredible lodges in Australia’s Outback.
In New Zealand
Boutique Hotels: Luxury collection of boutique hotels, lodges and villas, classified as boutique by virtue of their intimate size, experienced friendly hosts and individual style
New Zealand Boutique and Lodge: Search for the ideal New Zealand boutique hotel here
Heritage Hotels: A hand-picked collection of the best rated NZ boutique hotels
Northland NZ: Another comprehensive list of the top NZ boutique hotels, with reviews
Mr & Mrs Smith: The ultimate review site for boutique hotels worldwide
i Escape: A hand-picked portfolio of the best boutique hotels around the world, with a special section on Australia
Great Small Hotels: Check out the best “tiny” hotels in Australia
Luxury Lodges of Australia: Australia is famous for its lodges as well as its boutique hotels
Green Getaways Australia: Australia’s best luxury cottages. Stylish, contemporary, romantic and self contained
Want to see a new country, but don’t want to move around too much? Do you miss the comforts of home while traveling, and wish sometimes that you were able to cook your own meals to save money for other experiences? Vacation rentals could be the option you’ve been looking for.
A vacation rental allows you to live in a fully furnished home away from home, experiencing life like a local, for as long as you like. Villas, houses, and apartments are all popular vacation rentals in New Zealand and Australia. Most have a minimum stay limit of a few days to a few weeks, and you don’t necessarily need to be a home owner yourself to rent part time!
In New Zealand & Australia
Stayz: The ultimate locator for holiday home rentals, particularly in Australia
VRBO: All private house rentals; community forums and comments section provide insight on rentals
Home Away: The world leader in vacation rentals with 1+ million listings and no hidden costs
FlipKey: Charges slightly lower fees than Airbnb
Holiday Houses: Holiday homes, bachas, and apartments for rent
Airbnb: Famous database of private rooms and houses that’s taking the world by storm. I’ve used Airbnb in three different countries and loved it every time
Wimdu: Tons of rentals across the board
In New Zealand
Bach Care: Holiday homes in New Zealand, rented out by Kiwis
Roomorama: Short-term home rentals
Village Getaways: Rent luxurious villas across New Zealand
Kiwi Stays: An online accommodation directory for bed and breakfasts, farmstays and homestays, residential homes, baches, lodges, and more
Vacasa: Vacation rentals in New Zealand
Freemantle Western Australia: A complete accommodation guide to Freemantle, Western Australia, with a great deal of information on available vacation rentals
Rentalo: Hundreds of vacation rentals and reviews throughout Australia, with easy contact information
Bobzio: Vacation rentals, home swaps, traveler contact information. The best part? It’s free
Let Yourself: Let Yourself offers Australian holiday homes and other holiday accommodation options to rent
Collioure Holiday: Offers a range of house, cottage for rental beach vacation accommodation
Cairns Holiday Homes: Providing a range of holiday accommodation and short term rentals in the Cairns area
Camping is definitely my favorite way to experience New Zealand and Australia. From camping near the largest known rock on the planet at Uluru, to beating around New Zealand in an older camper van, camping this part of the world can be the best travel experience of your life.
It’s a fairly common way to travel in both New Zealand and Australia, so it’s easy to find campsites, rental vans, gear, and travel guides. The likelihood of getting stranded in the bush somewhere is extremely low. It’ll feel like you’re off the beaten path much of the time, but in reality you’ll find you have access to a close-knit support group of other friendly campers and adventurers along the way. Here are a few of the best camping resources out there at the moment:
In New Zealand
Campervanning New Zealand: How To: A comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know. Everything. Based on personal experience with everything from negotiating private rental to licensing and regulations.
com: A local guide to camping in New Zealand which contains everything you need to know about NZ camping
Holiday Parks: Lists most (if not all) NZ holiday parks and campgrounds
org: Official information on NZ’s camping rules. These will be enforced, so be sure to read up before you hit the road
Campsites and Holiday Parks: Another comprehensive list of NZ campsites, with links to their home pages
Apollo Camper: Rent a camper van in New Zealand through this company
Escape Rentals: Another excellent camp van rental company
New Zealand Camper Van Adventures: Tips for the camper van traveler
Camper Mate: Free campsites around NZ
Australian Campsites: Free and cheap camping locations in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia
Space Ships Rentals: Information on Australia’s national parks, camping rules, and maps
com: Find an Australian campsite here
Campin’ Australia: Find free camping with Camping Australia’s downloadable app
Go See Australia: Lists of reviewed campsites, from the most popular to the off-the-beaten-track; caters to caravaners
Turu: The ultimate guide to caravan parks and camping in Australia
All Camping Hire: Rent your camping equipment, from tents to generators and sleeping bags
Life’s an Adventure Equipment Hire: Rent gear designed specifically for bush walking in Australia
Vroom Vroom Vroom: Rent campervans in Australia
Apollo Camper: The largest camper van rental company in Australia
Hippie Camper: Budget “hippie” camper vans for rent
Mighty Campers: Rent cars and vans as well as camp-specific vehicles
These are the lands of hobbits, koalas, and glow worms. There are bound to be some incredibly unusual accommodations out there. Yurt villages, tree houses, underground campgrounds, reef platforms, hobbit holes, and more. These two countries combined seem to have more strange places to spend the night than perhaps anywhere else in the world. Check out the lists below to see for yourself.
In New Zealand
The Curious Kiwi: An incredible list of 126 unusual accommodation options in New Zealand, from themed BnBs to farm stays and Maori cultural accommodations
Pagoda Lodge, Kerikeri: Has a variety of unusual accommodation options including gypsy caravans, a riverside boat shed and safari tents
The Rock, Paihia: Spend 22 hours cruising through the Bay of Islands on a converted house boat
Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre: Provides marae style living in a modern architectural context
Fossil Bay Lodge, Waiheke Island: From December – April you can stay in a Lotus Belle tent at Fossil Bay Lodge
Mountainview Farmstay & Appaloosa Stud: A farm-stay for horse lovers located 10 minutes drive from Hamilton
Turoa Yurt Village: Turoa Yurt Village has self contained wooden yurt style accommodation ideally situated for skiing on Turoa
Wacky Stays: Wacky Stays has a collection of unusual accommodation options including a house truck, yurt and colonial wagon
Jailhouse Accommodation: Addington Prison closed in 1999 and after renovation it re-opened in 2006 as Jailhouse Accommodation. Have a secure stay in the former cell block from $32pp
Apuku Lodge & Tree Houses, Kaikoura: Sleep in comfortable eco tree houses high above the ground
Underhill, Waikato: The Underhill glamping escape is a Hobbit house perfect for the Hobbit tourist
Hatter’s Hideout, Blue Mountains: Rent a cave on 8 acres of private Blue Mountains nature reserve
Roar and Snore: Camp in safari tents in the heart of Australia’s most famous zoo (Taronga Zoo), and wake to spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
Wanderer’s Retreat, Port Stephens: Stay in your own romantic luxury tree house, elevated amid the foliage with your own private deck with only koalas and possums as neighbors
Fantasea Reefsleep: Fantasea Reefworld is a specially designed floating adventure platform at Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from the mainland. Experience the Great Barrier Reef at night
Desert Cave Hotel: Experience dug-out style living within the cool sandstone surrounds beneath the opal mining capital of Coober Pedy
Bed In the Treetops: Stay perched 160 metres above sea level in the Bay of Fires with great views
Huon Bush Retreats: Stay in a deluxe tepee made from timber and canvas on the edge of natural bushland
Longitude 131 : Luxury wilderness camp at Uluru (Ayer’s Rock)
Pump House Point: Sleep in one of two refurbished pump houses in the middle of a lake in Tasmania
The cheapest of the cheap. Most hostels here cost around $25 a bed, some go even lower as you travel to more remote locations. Expect conditions to be a lot like those typically found in European hostels. Rooms are, generally, clean, and come with bedding. Most hostels have a common room, kitchen, and bar. Some may even have laundromat services and a pool on hand.
If you don’t mind sharing a room with 4-5 strangers, hostels are the easiest way to save cash as you go. Plus, you’re sure to meet fellow travelers and make friends as you slam together a late-night meal in the kitchen or spend an evening strumming the community guitar on the common porch.
Hostelbookers: Lowest price guaranteed with no booking fees
Hostelsworld: 100% booking guarantee, no booking fees, and savings on group bookings
Hostels: Very extensive listing of hostels worldwide, not just in North America; no booking fees
In New Zealand
Maraehako Bay Retreat: Located on the beach and surrounded by rocks. Activities include horse riding, fishing, bush walking, and the opportunity to meet Maori spiritual carvers. $28 per night for a dorm bed
Jugglers Rest: A small 16 bed hostel, what makes the hostel unusual is that you can arrange workshops in poi and hoop spinning (fee payable) or just have a go and get free tips from the staff; shared dorms from $26
Tombstone Backpackers: Dead tired? Head behind the coffin door and rest in peace behind double glazing at Tombstone; dorm beds from $25
the bug Backpackers: A VW themed modern backpacker hostel; from $26 per night for a dorm bed
BBH NZ: Affordable, friendly accommodation just about everywhere in New Zealand
New Zealand Backpacker’s Hostel Guide: The official guide to hosteling New Zealand
Hi Hostels NZ: Offering the cheapest rooms around, for relatively decent quality
Komune Resort: Queensland’s first dedicated surfing accommodation designed to appeal to the backpacker youth market
YHA Australia: A great guide to backpacking Australia and a list of the best hostels along the way
Hostels Australia: Created by locals, this is one of the most reliable Australian hostel guides you’ll ever come across
Wake Up!: Really fun privately owned hostel in Central Sydney; considered a popular party destination
The Kimberly Klub: Budget Resort and backpackers accommodation in Broome
Have questions? Contact the Australian and Kiwi tourist offices for up to date information on all of the accommodation options listed here, and to check for hidden local gems as well.
New Zealand and Australia are bucket list destinations for many travelers. Whether you have two weeks, or six months, a shoe string budget or are planning to stay in style, there are options that make these island nations accessible to everyone.
- Consider camping or staying in hostels along the way
- Rent a vacation home and spend a few weeks in one area
- Hunt down discounted hotels, keeping in mind that prices go down during the off season
- Explore the fantastic resorts and boutique hotels that highlight local charm
- Stay somewhere truly unusual: a tree house, or a hobbit hole anyone?
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