Travelling throughout New Zealand by car, camper-van or public transport is a fantastic way to show the family our beautiful country – but it does raise questions on how to find affordable accommodation that suits everyone in the family.

For some, the focus is on finding something cheap that simply serves as a place to sleep before heading off in the morning to the next destination. For others, it is important that Mum and Dad can relax and enjoy themselves whilst the kids are entertained.

Here are a few options to get you started on your accommodation search!

DOC Camping Grounds

Department of Conservation (DOC) camping grounds range from resting spots at the side of the road to remote camping grounds with beautiful views of our country. There are four types of camping grounds run by DOC:

  • Basic: It is important to note that these spots often lack all amenities, including shower, toilet and kitchen facilities. These camping grounds are free to stay at.
  • Standard: Limited facilities, including long-drop toilet, water supply, cold showers and cooking shelter. Fees for standard camp sites are $6 per night for adults and $3 per child.
  • Scenic: A version of the standard camping ground, these include coastal locations with boat launch facilities. Fees for staying at scenic campsites are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
  • Serviced: These sites can include kitchen and laundry facilities, flushing toilets, hot showers and rubbish collection. Fees for staying at serviced camp sites are $15 per adult and $7.50 for a child.

DOC’s campsites are located throughout both New Zealand’s North and South Islands. Bookings are essential for serviced campsites and some standard/scenic during peak times. Otherwise fees can be paid onsite in the self-registration stand at each camping ground.

Please click here to view the North Island camping grounds.

Please click here to view the South Island camping grounds.

Camping Grounds/Holiday Parks

For those looking for something a little more upmarket but still within budget, privately owned camping grounds and holiday parks offer a variety of accommodation options to suit all requirements. This includes tenting and campervan sites, with electricity provided, cabins and motel units all on site. Other common facilities often include a shared kitchen and laundry facilities.

For children, this accommodation option includes the opportunity to meet new friends as facilities often include playgrounds, TV rooms and even swimming pools. At some holiday parks, activities are organised by employees that keep youngsters entertained whilst Mum and Dad enjoy some down-time of their own!

Holiday Park chains, such as Top 10, offer savings and promotions for those who join as a member. This is a great way to make savings not only on accommodation costs but extra travel fees including travel on the Interislander Ferry.

The website is a fantastic resource for booking this accommodation option throughout the country.

Motor Lodges/Motels

Motor lodges and motels are a great option for parents who want space for the whole family whilst they feel they are not missing out on comfort. Motor lodges and motels often offer one-, two- and three-bedroom options, meaning there is room for the whole family or families if you are travelling in groups. These options can also include full kitchens making meal preparation easy and some provide family-friendly facilities including playgrounds, swimming pools and BBQ areas.

Online accommodation websites such as or provide online booking solutions where accommodation can be easily compared. They also allow you to search accommodation options by location, facilities and price. Some of these sites involve pre-paying for the accommodation and sometimes they offer a discount on the standard accommodation rates and specials.

More information on places to stay can be obtained by visiting the information centres located throughout New Zealand in most cities and towns, or at this website. The centres offer information on both local accommodation options and also places throughout New Zealand. The centre staff are also usually able to ring ahead and book the accommodation for you, as well as booking activities throughout the region for the family.

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