Where to Stay When you Arrive
There are two International Airports in New Zealand; one in Auckland and one in Christchurch.
Auckland is generally not cycle friendly. A well-marked cycle path will take you out of the airport, but it tends to veer off into the suburbs and you will require local knowledge to get back on track. Auckland City has a museum and an Art Gallery and an established waterfront. It is also New Zealand's biggest and busiest city. When you get off the plane at Auckland Airport and wish to camp, your best option is to head for the:
Manakau Top Ten Motor Camp
(64 9) 2668016
15.00 One person camping and tent.
It is about 10 kilometres from the airport heading south. It is well-appointed with a local dairy (general food store) close by and a garage that sells foodstuffs and supplies. The supermarket is about 1.5 kilometres from the campsite. City about 30k.
You may wish to get a shuttle from the airport as the traffic is fairly busy along the road. A shuttle from the airport is fairly cheap and it will also take your bike. Arguably it is a lot better to put your bike together at a campsite rather than at an airport. Shuttles are commuter vans with large trailers for luggage, and organised much like a taxi. They queue up outside the airport terminal. Get a price before you embark. Generally they are honest enough.
Campsites (other than Government or DOC campsites) in have basic kitchens attached and you can do your own cooking. A few supply utensils and crockery. Other options are:
Remuera Motor Lodge and Inner City Camping Ground
16 Minto Road
(64 9) 5245 126
This is 15 k from the airport heading north and about 8k from the city. Supermarket 20 minute walk. Probably the closest camp site to the city centre, and one of the least expensive (around $17 for a campsite per night - as at 2010)
This is 40k from the city and about 20k from the airport heading south. Limited supplies, rural setting. Store and takeaways. Good if you want to avoid the city altogether.
This is 40k from the airport heading north and situated on the North Shore of Auckland. The shuttle costs about 35.00 NZ, but you will camp close to the beach. Safe swimming. Good township and supermarket close by. City about 10k. This camp is fairly pricey (around $32 for a campsite per night - as at 2010)
If you prefer a hostel, then get a shuttle into the city. Rather than use a hostel in Auckland city itself, use one of the hostels in the fringe suburbs which are, arguably, more interesting than the city; a bit cheaper and friendlier and have good facilities with cheap, local restaurants, bars and supermarkets close by. I personally like the hostels in Ponsonby. Check these out and ring first to book accommodation.
You can pick up a free Backpacker or BBH guide from any New Zealand Hostel which gives you information on all the hostels and their facilities throughout New Zealand including YHA. Remember, the best camp grounds are those attached to hostels (some rural hostels take tents) because you get a lounge and a well set up kitchen etc. thrown in.
Christchurch is a cycle friendly city with many cycle paths. The city is interesting and there is an active Arts Centre. If you get off the plane in Christchurch, then the best overall campground close to Christchurch is:
It is close to most facilities, three or four kilometres from Christchurch, and a fairly easy cycle from the airport. Again, you may wish to get a shuttle, but Christchurch is New Zealand's most cycle friendly city. Get a mini-map from the airport.
Christchurch has a large number of hostels and they are all generally good. Use your BBH guide to check facilities, but if in doubt use the YHA hostel in Manchester Street. Somewhat utilitarian in approach, but reliable and clean with good facilities.
Camp grounds generally have a wide range of facilities from camping to basic cabins to motel suites. It all depends on your budget. If it is raining, it is always good to get a cabin!