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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