NZ accommodation #11: B2 Lakeview Apartment @ Lake Tekapo, South NZ

After the cheapest accommodation at Oamaru, the next day we had the most expensive accommodation in Lake Tekapo. The booking with B2 was not a smooth one, we were told that the apartment had been taken even I wrote to Kaori 3 months earlier. For your information, B2 had only one apartment. So if it was taken, then we had to look for other accommodation. So I replied and asked them to notice me if the guest cancel their booking. To my surprise, Kaori replied and said that she has made a mistake on my booking date and the room was still available. So, we booked the room at NZ$195. I had to be very firm with my decision because NZ$195 was not cheap at all. ;)

Before that, I really have to admit that the pictures posted below could not do a good judgement of the apartment. We arrived in the late evening where it was not a good time for taking pictures. And for the rest of our stay, we were too busy enjoying ourselves until we did not retake any pictures. Check out their website(link at the bottom of this post) for better pictures. :p

This was the entrance to B2 Lakeview. It was a double-storey building where the owner stayed at downstair and we stayed at upstair.

We parked our car in front of the building.

There was a staircase leading to upstair directly.

The 1-room apartment size was about 50m2. The very first thing that I noticed was there were many huge windows in the apartment for an unsurpassed view of Lake Tekapo, whether when we were resting on the sofa, having a meal at the dining area or even taking a warm bath.

There were also enough of heating elements in the apartment to ensure a warm and cosy night. Firstly, it had under carpet heater in the apartment and under tile heater in the bathroom. Then, it had one oil heater in the living room and another one in the bedroom. Lastly, we found our favourite blanket heater in the bedroom.

The bathroom had a shower area and a big bath tub. There was a very sophisticated panel on the wall to control the water temperature and water level. It took us quite a while to figure out how to use it. I almost forgot to mention that there were sky windows in the bedroom and bathroom. Lake tekapo was famous for its star-studded night sky and we were able to watch it in the apartment!

The apartment also had a washer and dryer. A few of the accomodation we stayed earlier provided a washer, but not a dryer. We had to hang the clothes at airy places so that it would dry the next day. But in B2, we had a dryer and we managed to clean all our laundry(especially those from Mt Cook's trekking) before heading to our last destination, Christchurh.

View from the balcony

B2 Lakeview was definitely a pampered stay for us. New and clean were not enough to describe the apartment. It was a fully self-contained 1-room apartment with all the details that we could or we could not think of. We enjoyed every moments we spent in the apartment.

B2 Lakeview
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NZ accommodation #10: Old Bones BBH @ Oamaru, South NZ

The cheapest accomodation we had in New Zealand, NZ$66 for a double room and it showed us that "Good things do not come cheap" might not be true all the time.

Old bones backpacker is one of the popular and top rated BBH in New Zealand. It received 94% BPP rating. Each BBH will receive a BPP rating yearly, the higher the rating shows that more guests have enjoyed their stay at that hostel. Check it out at BBH website. After reading so many good reviews in the web, I booked a double room with Old bones once I had confirmed the night I will spend in Oamaru.

Once we entered Old bones, we were greeted by Gloria and went through a very simple procedure of checking in to the hostel. The door in the picture above was the bathroom and toilet for gents. For ladies, it was directly opposite the gents's room. I was a bit skeptical when I knew that Old bones only have common bathrooms. But then it was so nicely and practically designed, spotlessly clean, spacious and new that I could not link it with common area.

At the back of reception, it was a very big common area where the kitchen, dining area and rest area are located. The bedrooms were located at both side of the common area, 4 rooms each side. Therefore there were only 8 rooms in total.

I requested for Room #8 as I read that room #6 and room #8 has the best view.

The bedroom was not big but everything was perfect. The room was equipped with heated flooring where you would not find in most of the backpackers or even hostels.

If you did not manage to book room #6 or room #8, you are not going to be disappointed. I did not bother to stay in the room. I preferred sitting next to the log fire, enjoying the amazing ocean view and surfing net with the free WIFI. It was such a peaceful and comfortable evening.

the view outside the french window

details in the hostels

Old bones had a great kitchen but too bad I was too lazy to cook dinner. Anyway, we had hot breakfast the next morning and got some questions from other travelers who made cold sandwiches. They said noodles was not for breakfast. ;)

In summary, Old bones was definitely not overrated. It lived up to the expectation as one of the best BBH in New Zealand. It was a cool accommodation experience for us with just NZ$66.

Old Bones Backpackers
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NZ accommodation #9: Arcadian Motel @ Dunedin, South NZ

The concept of the motel was very similar to Malfroy Motor Lodge in Rotorua. When we stepped into the room, I was a bit disappointed. I had to agree with some reviewers that the furniture and design in the room was dated. But then slowly, I had to agree with other reviewers, it was clean and was reasonably priced at NZ$115.

Arcadian Motel

Off street parking in front of studio unit

Standard queen-sized bed, but with electric blanket. We were excited to see electric blanket each time, the temperature at night was too cold for us.

Kitchen and dining area were separated with a sliding door.

Bathroom and toilet

Our breakfast

Arcadian Motel
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NZ accommodation #8: Salthouse @ Curio Bay, South NZ

My initial plan was to spend the night in Invercargill for our 2D1N southern scenic route. But there were not many hotel choices in Invercargill. So I decided to travel a bit further for day one and overnight at Curio Bay. And I was glad that we did that. We booked an excellent accommodation and went for yellow-eyed penguin watching at curio bay petrified forest.

Curio Bay Salthouse offered two self-contained studio unit at NZ$140.

Located right on the beach, the studio had unsurpassed panoramic sea views of Porpoise Bay. Some travelers were lucky enough to spot doplhins or sea lions at the beach.

While I was busy capturing photos of the studio, he was preparing hot green tea for dolphin watching.

The studio had a very spacious bathroom.

Their bathroom reminded me of my room in Tokyo, they were about the same size.

There was a heated towel hanger in the bathroom too.

We got everything we needed to cook a dinner.

Scallops and fish fillets in pan

Our scrumptious dinner, soup with buns, caesar salad, mains, blueberries and ginger beer. Finally we bought a can of New Zealand ginger beer, carbonated drink with ginger flavour.

And not to forget the southern bluff oyster that we bought from Invercargill. The tiny New Zealand seaport of Bluff in New Zealand is home to some of the best oysters in the world. This was the third time we had it and by far, this was the freshest and best batch as we were closest to Bluff.

Remember to bring enough food to Curio Bay as the place was secluded. We had seafood fried rice and vegetable soup for breakfast the next day.

We had nothing to complain about Salthouse. Everything was perfect. It was easily one of the unforgettable stay we had in New Zealand.

Curio Bay Salt House
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NZ accommodation #7: Bob and Maxines Backpacker @ Te Anau, South NZ

It was hard to tell if it was consider a backpacker's night for us. When I emailed Bob asking for a double room, he recommended me his newly renovated luxury double in his house and if I was not mistaken, we were the first guests to stay in. Therefore instead of staying in the backpacker's building, we stayed in Bob and Maxines's guest room. The NZ$100 room did not have an ensuite bathroom, but a bathroom 3m away from the room. Well, I did not measure the distance, Bob told me so. Throughout our stay, we did not have to share the bathroom with other people. Bob and Maxines have their own bathroom.

Bob did not lie to me. He told me that I would get a room as good as hotel quality plus a friendly owner. We had a quiet night and sweet slumber.

Nice view from the window.

We were allowed to use the common area and kitchen facilities in the backpacker's building. We had a pleasant time sitting next to the log fire, gazing at the view outside and enjoying the comfortable atmosphere.

This was captured the next morning.

Then it was time to cook dinner. I like the big and sturdy wooden table in the kitchen.

In very short time, dinner was ready. I tried not to be too ambitious and sticked to simple dishes.

Pan fried baby lamb rack
It was already marinated with spices and herbs when we got it from shelf. So, I just need to pan fry it with some olive oil. Simple job. We should have bought two packs as the lamb rack was so tender, sweet and juicy.

Mix vegetables and clam soup
The weather was getting colder as we moved towards the south, especially at night. So, we decided that we need some hot soup to warm our bodies. It was Malaysian ABC Soup(Potatoes, Carrots, Tomatoes, Pepper and Salt) with New Zeland Clam. It turned out excellent!

I was so relunctant to leave the bed the next day. So we had very simple instant noodles with the remaining clams and poach egg.

Bob and Maxines Backpacker is a BBH 2km away from Te Anau town, with stunning mountain view. But then it is not a big issue if you have a car.

Bob and Maxines Backpackers Te Anau
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NZ accommodation #6: Absoloot Value Accommodation @ Queenstown, South NZ

Queenstown is one of the most touristy city in New Zealand. Therefore the hotel rate is generally higher if compare to other cities. When I looked for a hotel in Queenstown, I was looking for:

  • good location - Parking is a problem in Queenstown. So I am looking for one hotel at premium location so that we can explore Queenstown on foot.
  • Kitchen is not needed - Restaurants are everywhere in Queenstown, I have no plan to cook. 
  • Basic, clean and reasonable price - My baseline

I still remember spending hours searching online before I found Absoloot Value Accommodation which had just started business for less than a year. At that time, there were only 2 reviews in tripadvisor. When I checked again just now, it had more than 30 reviews now, and mostly good reviews. Absoloot Value accomodation checked all the requirements that I had, so I booked a room without any hesistation.

When we arrived, we parked our car at the loading zone in front of the hostel building and dropped our bag. Then, we were directed to free parking which was few blocks away from the hostel. We parked our car and we did not need a car throughout our stay in Queenstown, everything was within walking distance.

We booked the most expensive double room at NZ$125.

I like the color and design of the room. And it was more spacious compare to Base Backpacker Wanaka.

We had our own ensuite bathroom, refrigerator, microwave, kettle and LCD TV. We did not have a chance to turn on the TV while we were there, so not too sure if the TV was working. ;)

Located at the highest floor, our room provided an amazing view of the beautiful lake wakatipu.

Another side of the window had an awesome view of the waterfront area.

What I like about this hotel?

  • Clean and nice room with great view
  • Premium location
  • Free parking
  • Reasonable price

If these are what you are looking for, check out their website from the link below.

Absoloot Value Accommodation NZ$125
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NZ accommodation #5: Base Backpacker @ Wanaka, South NZ

This was the only night where we did not pre-book any accommodation. It was because the helihike tour we took in the morning might be canceled if the weather was no good. If that really happen, then we have to consider taking the evening tour or even the next day's tour.

So when we returned from the morning helihike, we decided that we still have time to travel to Wanaka which is 3 hours driving distance from Fox Glacier. We went to Isite(New Zealand tourist information center which you can see in every cities) and requested help to book a room in Wanaka. I had 3 contacts in my notes, Wanaka Purple, Wanaka Bakpaka and Base Backpacker. The guy at Isite was very helpful and managed to book us a room at Base Backpacker Wanaka.

Even though it was only 1pm when we were at Isite Fox Glacier, but we reached Wanaka pretty late, about 8.30pm. We had our lunch at Cafe Neve and visited Lake Matheson again before we left Fox Glacier.

Base backpacker Wanaka was the our first backpacker hostel experience in New Zealand. This time we had to park our car on the street and dragged our luggage into the building, then took the lift to the lobby for check-in, and finally took the lift again to our room.

Our double room was compact and clean.

The toilet was definitely on the small side, but glad that the shower area was separated.

Take a look at this picture! It was impractical to have a piece of glass shelf on top of the mini basin, the shelf has blocked more than half the basin. It was so difficult for me to brush my teeth or wash my face. In the end, I had to finish everything during shower time.

Kitchen and dining area

When we wanted to store our food in the big refrigerator, we found out that we have to put on a sticker/label indicating our room number and check out date, a standard practice in all backpacker hostels. Luckily we managed to borrow a marker and wrote the information directly on the box.

We did use the kitchen once for breakfast. We had toasted bread with butter and drinks. Oh yes, can you see the kiwiberry? It was delicious. Remember to try it when you are in New Zealand.

After being pampered for a few nights, finally we stayed in a backpacker hostel. But it was not a bad experience at all. At NZ$84 for a double room, it was not fair if we were to compare it with the previous accommodation we had. We had a short stay in Wanaka and what we needed was very basic. So why pay more?

Base Backpacker Wanaka
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