Booking travel ahead of time

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In certain seasons, reserving parts of your New Zealand holiday well before you arrive is strongly recommended.

Here are some guidelines around booking ahead to ensure your holiday goes as smoothly as possible.

Time of year

New Zealand’s peak holiday season runs from November through to March, coinciding with summer. During this time accommodation and activities can become booked out with both locals and visitors.

If you are visiting during these months it’s best to book any coastal accommodation, including holiday parks, ahead of time, as these are popular holiday spots with locals. It’s also good to book ahead in popular tourism centres in the South Island, such as Fox and Franz Josef Glacier, Aoraki/Mount Cook, and Queenstown.

During these months it is also recommended to book rental cars and ferry travel as early as possible.

From April through to October pre-booking is recommended, but not essential – unless you are visiting a ski town.

The ski season

Skiing is popular in New Zealand, and the ski season generally runs from late May to mid-October (weather dependent). If you’re heading to the ski towns of Ohakune, Lake Tekapo, Methven, Queenstown or Wanaka during these months, its best to book accommodation as early as possible.

Booking the Great Walks

New Zealand’s most popular Great Walk, the Milford Track, is often booked out a year in advance – especially during summer months. It’s best to book this hike as soon as you know what your start day from Te Anau will be.

For any of the remaining eight Great Walks, pre-booking is also recommended, especially if you are planning to walk during the summer months of December, January and February.

Major events

Accommodation in main cities fills up fast when major events are on, so pre-booking is essential during these times. Find out about upcoming events here

i-SITE Visitor Centres

For local travel advice and bookings prior to or after arrival, New Zealand's network of i-SITE Visitor Centres can help you. 

Travel agents

Need a hand? Your local travel agent can help with pre-booking many aspects of your holiday. 

Queenstown
Mountain views, Queenstown

By Glacier Southern Lakes

Pre-booking certain parts of your holiday will make sure everything goes smoothly.

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