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New Zealand - accommodation

Old 01-08-20, 05:20 AM
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Aco
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New Zealand - accommodation

Hello

I have just booked a flight to New Zealand and I am about to do a loop around the south island from mid January to mid February. Before I go, I have one open question. I am used to touring light. I travel with a road bike and a saddle bag, and I don't plan much ahead. When I feel that it's about enough cycling for the day, I pull out my phone and look for available accommodation online. That's not a problem in Europe, but in New Zealand the roaming charges would be quite high. Now I'm worried that I might not be able to find available accommodation by just turning up at a place. Maybe I could book a day ahead, but from my experience not every place has wifi.

Should I pack a sleeping bag and a tent? I imagine that I should always be able to find a camp ground with space for a small tent and a bicycle.

Thanks
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Old 01-08-20, 12:01 PM
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can't help w/ South Island but if anyone goes up North ...

we have personal 1st hand knowledge of this place. liked very much. (very friendly/helpful/responsive hosts, so if you write to them, they may have resources & can make recommendations)



https://www.chelsea-house.co.nz/


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Old 01-08-20, 12:27 PM
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I've only been to the North Island, but there are a few parts to an answer:

1. If roaming charges are high, consider buying a local SIM card instead, e.g. https://toomanyadapters.com/buying-s...d-new-zealand/ You'll need what the US calls an "unlocked" phone or what is common in other parts of the world, a phone not tied to specific service.

2. I don't have a shortcut to asking for hotel availability, but an offline site like MAPS.ME can at least tell you locations of such hotels. Sometimes I'll turn up at one and if they are full, ask for suggestions. That works if I'm not in a peak period and if the place is populated enough to have multiple choices. At times I've done a hybrid - made reservations in advance for a spot I expect could be tight (e.g. make reservations using wifi/expedia the night before) and let it float in other areas like larger cities where I expect plenty of choices.
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Old 01-08-20, 01:28 PM
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One cud also look up hostels in advance & ride from hostel to hostel no phone required - btw - while my friends were there, we used WhatsApp to communicate txt & video between the states & NZ. Works very well w/ internet connections
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Old 01-08-20, 02:37 PM
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https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=125743&v=3b
has info on accommodation options. I suggest a tent and sleeping bag are a good insurance, especially in touristy places where accommodation may be fully booked but a campsite is usually possible for a cyclist.
The peak holiday season for locals has passed but there are still lots of overseas tourists clogging up many places. You will need to call and book ahead at many places.
Buy a sim card and monthly plan (about $16 for 1.25Gb and 200min calling, unlimited text from Skinny)

And don't cycle SH1 from Christchurch to Timaru.
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=126092&v=3X
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Old 01-08-20, 03:07 PM
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Most campgrounds/motor parks that arenít basic Department of Conservation sites will have small cabins too, so donít write off staying at them if youíre tentless. Some parts of the S.I. that are popular to bike e.g. Central Otago Rail Trail donít have many campsites so youíll be better off phoning ahead for indoor accommodation at this time of year. Cellphone reception is pretty good though along the roads and trails here.
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Old 01-08-20, 08:51 PM
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as i recall, the south island is pretty sparsely populated,
so don't expect to find accommodations near where you
happen to be at the end of the day.

there's plenty of free camping available, no need to tether
yourself to hotels/hostels/commercial campsites.
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Old 01-08-20, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
as i recall, the south island is pretty sparsely populated,
so don't expect to find accommodations near where you
happen to be at the end of the day.

there's plenty of free camping available, no need to tether
yourself to hotels/hostels/commercial campsites.
Actually, a lot of the free camping is only for self-contained vehicles, not for tenters. Don't rely on this sort of accommodation. There will generally be camping grounds within a days riding around most of the island.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:00 PM
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CamperMate and Rankers Camping apps are both useful for sites and can be filtered for tent sites too. CamperMate also has handy locations for showers and toilets mapped too and can work offline using OSM datasets. Not accommodation related but as map data here is free to download, using an app like Topo GPS allows you access to all the 1:50k map data easily.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve0000 View Post
Actually, a lot of the free camping is only for self-contained vehicles, not for tenters. Don't rely on this sort of accommodation. There will generally be camping grounds within a days riding around most of the island.

does this mean it is no longer possible to simply pull off the road
out of sight and set up camp for the night? what some would
consider 'stealth' camping, legally permitted on public lands.

i was not suggesting relying on conservation department
established free primitive sites or rest areas.

i meant just find a secluded spot and pull off the road when
you get tired. a campground "within a day's ride" won't
help when it's 5pm and you're ready to stop.

Last edited by saddlesores; 01-08-20 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 01-08-20, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
does this mean it is no longer possible to simply pull off the road
out of sight and set up camp for the night? what some would
consider 'stealth' camping, legally permitted on public lands.

i was not suggesting relying on conservation department
established free primitive sites or rest areas.

i meant just find a secluded spot and pull off the road when
you get tired. a campground "within a day's ride" won't
help when it's 5pm and you're ready to stop.
Locals are getting increasingly annoyed about this sort of camping as it is getting out of hand in many areas. The campers are leaving a mess and destroying scenic areas with litter and human waste. With this negative attitude, I don't recommend you look at stealth camping as an option. Things have changed since you must have last been in NZ when this type of camping was OK.
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Old 01-09-20, 04:04 PM
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Wikicamps is another handy app to find a place to stay. You may need to alter the strategy of only looking for somewhere at 5pm, that may cause problems, as cellphone coverage is not guaranteed outside urban areas. As others have said, a local sim can be obtained with data included.
I normally roughly plan the next day the night before, with maybe one or two bailout plans just in case. If all else fails I take a hammock and sleeping bag, and have found a stand of trees to sleep in, usually after dark. It's not really the done thing, so you should try to avoid that if possible, although on public land, such as Department of Conservation blocks you're less likely to get in big trouble. I take a shoe horn to dig and wipes for ablutions, which can also come in handy if the body becomes very insistent when far from facilities. Disposing of rubbish incorrectly is very frowned upon, packaging must be carried until a public disposal can be found, fortunately there are numerous of these, as well as public toilets in most small localities.

Another get out of jail card is to take a bike equipped with lighting, then if you get to dusk (9pm at this time of year) but still have a way to go, you can continue.

Department of Conservation maps: Geocortex Viewer for HTML5
NZ topographic maps: New Zealand Topographic Map - NZ Topo Map
Walking Access Mapping Service: wams.org.nz

Other NZ advice: take mosquito repellent. Use sunscreen even on overcast days, the UV index in NZ is quite high, it's fairly easy to get burnt and the mild temperatures can decieve.
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Old 01-10-20, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Aco View Post
Hello

I have just booked a flight to New Zealand and I am about to do a loop around the south island from mid January to mid February. Before I go, I have one open question. I am used to touring light. I travel with a road bike and a saddle bag, and I don't plan much ahead. When I feel that it's about enough cycling for the day, I pull out my phone and look for available accommodation online. That's not a problem in Europe, but in New Zealand the roaming charges would be quite high. Now I'm worried that I might not be able to find available accommodation by just turning up at a place. Maybe I could book a day ahead, but from my experience not every place has wifi.

Should I pack a sleeping bag and a tent? I imagine that I should always be able to find a camp ground with space for a small tent and a bicycle.

Thanks

I did South Island and specifically the Alps to Ocean Trail only (Tekapo to Oamaru) in April 2018, so take my info with a dose of salt since I had limited exposure.

Internet connection can be a problem depending on where you are.
I did not have much connectivity when doing the trails and my country service provider partner did not have a network in some towns/areas (though there was a connection for other providers)
So it might be a good idea to check what data tie ins your country provider has with NZ ones and/or try to see if you can buy a local data card.

There can be some areas where population is low and you may not find a place to buy food/drinks, so make sure you carry enough and best to have an idea of the next top up point.

I did not have trouble booking into an accomodation just by going from hostel to hostel or just asking the tourist information counter to help me call ahead to check.
The CamperMate App will also help indicate which are the nearby camping sites.


I did pack a tent and of course that gives flexibility in exchange for the load.
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Old 01-10-20, 08:07 AM
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Thank you for all the suggestions. Getting a local SIM card is a good idea.

I think I'll take the sleeping bag and the tent in the end.
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Old 01-10-20, 08:41 AM
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While we are on the subject, I’m planning a NZ trip next year when the America’s Cup event is scheduled, so I’ll be in the Auckland area. Then plan to ride for 7-10 days, and was initially thinking of flying to the South Island. But obviously that entails extra cost and logistics. I like the remoteness of the South Island, but haven’t ruled out just riding around the North Island from Auckland. Which is preferable, in your opinion?
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Old 01-11-20, 04:07 AM
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Although the South Island is spectacular, there's alot of great back road routes in the North Island, especially if you like gravel roads. 7-10 days could get you perhaps down to Taranaki and back.
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Old 01-13-20, 01:23 PM
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One of the things with the South Island is that thereís limited routes away from the main highways and the local drivers arenít the most considerate of souls. A route of Auckland Iíve heard good things about from a colleague is to take the commuter train south to Pukekohe and avoid the city traffic, cross the Waikato river then follow the coast to Raglan, Kawhia and southwards. You can either fly back from New Plymouth (Air NZ domestically is supposed to be bike friendly with no extra charges) or you can head towards National Park and take the train or coach back to Auckland from there. Lots of gravel roads and plenty of scenery.
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Old 01-13-20, 01:24 PM
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How do you post?
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Old 01-13-20, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by IUseAllTheSpace View Post
How do you post?
How do you post what?
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Old 01-14-20, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
How do you post what?
whats on second, whos on third
get with it buddy
(howdy twin Honda feller)
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Old 01-14-20, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
(howdy twin Honda feller)
Mine was a SOHC/4.
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Old 01-14-20, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Mine was a SOHC/4.
oops, I obviously mixed up the details from our pm discussion from a few years ago....sorry.
those pipes....ooooo....those pipes.....(stock ones remember, sexier than heck back in the day)
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Old 01-14-20, 05:48 PM
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hey mr aco, I should have brought this up before, but while Kiwis (New Zealanders) are generally very friendly folks, they are impatient and FAST drivers, so don't mess around and please use a mirror while riding.
If you are from Europe, you will probably be shocked by how aggressive cars can be towards you, so give yourself a few seconds of heads up of whats behind and use a mirror.

sorry, I'm a dad......
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Old 01-15-20, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
hey mr aco, I should have brought this up before, but while Kiwis (New Zealanders) are generally very friendly folks, they are impatient and FAST drivers, so don't mess around and please use a mirror while riding.
If you are from Europe, you will probably be shocked by how aggressive cars can be towards you, so give yourself a few seconds of heads up of whats behind and use a mirror.

sorry, I'm a dad......
I have no desire to ride the roads in NZ ... but the trails looks really nice. If we can ever travel again and cycle more than just a tiny bit, I would still like to go for the trails.
https://nzcycletrail.com/
https://nzcycletrail.com/find-your-ride/22-great-rides/
https://www.facebook.com/nzcycletrail/
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Old 01-15-20, 06:28 AM
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thanks for those links.
re drivers, someone here once described it as, kiwis drive a lot, and expect to be able to hold 100kph or more at all times, so are impatient with bikes getting in the way of their long drive. The kiwis I know here in Canada are heavy foot drivers.
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