Updated: Oct 10, 2018
Accommodation options in New Zealand are diverse and numerous, and the standard is generally high compared to most countries. You only really need to book ahead to guarantee somewhere to stay in peak holiday time (mid-December to end-January) unless you need something very specific. The range of options is broad, so whether you are looking for a 5-star hotel or a backpackers lodge or a holiday park, you should be able to find what you need to suit your taste and budget. For the independent traveller, hostel accommodation is available throughout the country & is often an experience in itself. You can find a wide range online, but a good place to start would be at backpackerboard or NewZealand.com. There are many websites dealing with motel and hotel accommodation in New Zealand & most offer deals depending on the time of year & when you book. If you are staying for a reasonable period of time in one place, then HostFamilies might be able to help you out.
It has been common in New Zealand to stay in a local holiday home known as a Bach (pronounced batch) for many years. The home grown booking site is BookaBach which accurately describes its function in the name! There you will find a myriad of possibilities that will give you a much more authentic experience of visiting New Zealand; most are self-catering so if you want to be completely pampered, perhaps a hotel is the better option! However, a large number of them are hosted, so for that real kiwi interaction, you can't beat them. The huge variety & individual nature of the Baches is the attraction, so if you are looking for something that little bit different, perhaps on a working farm, or a glass box in the middle of nowhere… Of course, with the rise of AirBnB, many Bach owners have listed there too, so if it's your favourite app, you can look there. There are always more options than just these two though, so have fun researching!
If at least part of your stay in New Zealand involves exploring the wonderful natural environment, you should visit the Department of Conservation (DOC) website where you can search for places to stay all around NZ. DOC is the government agency responsible for conserving NZ's natural and historic heritage. This also means providing managed access to all the national parks, wilderness trails and reserves around the country. On their site you can explore all your options, from simple campsites in extraordinary places, to lodges, cabins or cottages in scenic settings accessible by vehicle, boat or on foot. You may have to share some accommodation, but if it gets you right to the heart of where you want to be…
Most of the main global hotel groups are present in New Zealand, so if you normally stay with a particular chain, you'll probably be able to find them here. New Zealand is also home to some of the most unique luxurious accommodation in the world. Check out Eagles Nest in the Bay of Islands, for example; or Marino Ridge on Waiheke Island, an hour's ferry ride from Auckland, or for a large party perhaps Waiheke Lodge. Of course, if you are going for the luxury end of the market, you should probably travel by helicopter rather than ferry, unless you are heading down to Queenstown's Matakauri Lodge, in which case a commercial flight might be a better option. There are serviced apartment in the main cities or if you are feeling adventurous, you could even explore the world of house swapping with someone wishing to stay in your house at the same time!