Lonely Planet Writer

NZ tour company goes the glamping route to address bed shortage

A sharp increase in summer tourists has caused an accommodation crisis in New Zealand, forcing a tour bus company to come up with a creative solution to the lack of beds. Kiwi Experience has teamed up with luxury tent provider Lotus Belle to set up ‘glamping’ hot spots along their most popular routes.

A road running through the Lindis Pass, New Zealand.
A road running through the Lindis Pass, New Zealand. Image by Ghislain Mary / CC BY-SA 2.0

Figures suggest there has been a 9% increase in the number of overseas travellers visiting New Zealand this summer compared with the same time last year. And why wouldn’t there be? Stunning scenery, a temperature climate, and phenonmenal outdoor experiences await travellers who make the journey to the South Pacific nation. Beds, on the other hand, are a little harder to come by.

Glamping proved to be the perfect solution for Kiwi Experience, a tour bus company that offers hop-on, hop-off tours of the North and South Islands. “It really is a novel way to help deal with the increase in demand as thousands of international travellers explore the country,” operations director Jolanda Cave told Stuff.co.nz.

Abel Tasman National Park.
Abel Tasman National Park. Image by Andrea Schaffer / CC BY 2.0

24-year-old Swedish traveller Neviin Budeiri agreed, expressing her surprise at how comfortable the Lotus Belle tents were. “I thought I was going to be sleeping on the ground on a small mattress. Then we walked in and we were like, ‘No way’. We were so surprised at how nice it was. You can even charge your phone in there,” she said.

The roomy tents are a cross between US wartime bell tents and traditional Mongolian yurts.

In addition to setting up glamping spots in Hot Water Beach, Lake Tekapo, Abel Tasman and other popular stops, Kiwi Experience have taken on additional drivers and added buses to their most popular routes to help deal with the surge in traveller numbers.