We started planning in October for our February 2017 trip to New Zealand. It’s a very popular destination and I found it challenging to get our top hotel and AirBnb choices. We met people on our trip who hadn’t booked ahead; they were spending a night here and a night there wherever they could get in. We discovered when we arrived at hotels that they were fully booked so no early check-ins or late check-outs. As we drove through towns, most places had no vacancy signs outside.
We started with flights, then we roughed out an itinerary. The top places we wanted to get to included Milford Sound and Queenstown. And like almost everyone, we started in Auckland. Once you have a couple of places in mind, the itinerary starts to take shape. The Moon New Zealand travel guide was helpful and includes suggested itineraries based on the amount of time you have to spend in New Zealand. Happy travels!