Last minute holiday sites rare

By Hana Garrett-Walker of APNZ

Many families may have had their summer holiday booked for the past year but for some holidaymakers making sure they have a roof over their head seems to be the last thing on their holiday 'to do' list.

Two days out from New Year's Eve iSites around the country have been busy trying to find accommodation for people who had not organised anything before turning up to the town where they planned to see the New Year in.

Coromandel iSite manager Tara Turner said last-minute accommodation was being advertised for about half an hour before being snapped up.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

"Some people have cancelled because of the rain and then they're being filled up with people who are camping and looking for somewhere indoors."

Half the people arriving in Coromandel were completely unaware of how full accommodation would be, while the other half were aware but would leave their details anyway.

"A lot of [foreign] tourists do expect to just come and arrive, and a lot of them are actually in the centre here with kids or groups."

On Thursday a Chinese family of six arrived in the Coromandel town expecting accommodation, but eventually had to be split up to stay somewhere for the night, Ms Turner said.

The situation was changing every five minutes as people continued to add their name to waiting lists and the phone had been ringing since the office opened yesterday morning, she said.

In Queenstown many young people were turning up expecting a cheap campsite or backpackers for New Year's Eve, Queenstown iSite manager Di Reid said.

"People's expectations are still very much lower than what is available, they're thinking they can come in and get something for between $100 and $200 for New Year's Eve. The shocked look on their faces when we tell them, it's not so good."

Finding available campsites was very difficult, she said, and many groups arriving in campervans were being sent out of town to Department of Conservation campgrounds.

The rugby field in the centre of town had been opened up for camping on Friday and Saturday nights which had relieved some of the pressure, she said.

Last minute accommodation website Travelbug had seen a strong growth in bookings in the past week compared with the same time last year, a spokesman for Travelbug said.

And a lot of the bookings were made with little notice, with half the bookings made for within seven days of the booking.

Good deals were hard to come by for New Year's Eve, but those willing to fork out a bit more still had a few options available.

A garden suite at Lake Okareka Lodge near Rotorua was available for the night of December 31, but it would set a keen holidaymaker back $3997.

A deluxe room at Te Waonui Forest Retreat in the Franz Josef Glacier would cost $789 for the night.

Those remaining in Auckland but wanting to escape to Waiheke Island for the night would be pushed to find any accommodation, with only six places still being advertised on the Waiheke tourism website. And only one comes in cheaper than $195.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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