On our trip to Australia and New Zealand last month, we used miles and points for our flights and some of our accommodations. The one big exception was our vacation home rental in New Zealand. Even though we shelled out quite a bit of cash for this one-week rental, I have no regrets!
Why We Picked a Vacation Home Rental in New Zealand
When my kids were younger, we squeezed into a single hotel room as a family of five. Some hotels had the extra sofa bed, and some allowed us to bring our own inflatable mattress for our “extra” kid. Staying in a single hotel room worked for us those first several years.
Fast forward to this summer when my kids are 8, 11 and 15 years old. None of the kids want to share a bed. My husband and I prefer not to share a bed with kids, either.
Since I knew we’d be spending two weeks together on this challenging trip, I really wanted to pick accommodations that wouldn’t drive us crazy. We needed at least two hotel rooms or a condo/house rental.
So, when it came time to pick a place for a week stay near Rotorua or Taupo, I started looking at vrbo and Airbnb for a vacation home rental. I found many two- to three-bedroom places that would fit my family in a wide variety of price ranges, starting at under $100 a night. But once I saw this house on a farm, I knew we found our place.
Location and Back Yard
Woodstock farm is located 8 miles south of Rotorua. While it was a short drive to the town and the surrounding points of interest, it felt very secluded.
The house sits on a 750-acre cattle and sheep farm amid rolling hills. The property backs up to beautiful Green Lake.
When we first made the winding drive up the hill to the house, the cows from every pasture ran after our car to greet us at the fence next to the house. They were very curious. My kids visited them every day.
The sheep had a few favorite spots on the farm.
We even saw some deer on the property.
My kids enjoyed practicing gymnastics on these bars and playing paddle tetherball outside.
We really booked the house for the view. Everything about it just screamed New Zealand. We never got tired of this view, and we looked forward to returning to the house every day.
Inside the House
The house had three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Every room in the house had a great view of the backyard.
The master bedroom and bathroom:
The kids’ room with two twin beds:
The other room with queen bed:
The bathroom floor tiles were heated, so the floors felt really good on our feet in the winter (temperatures dipped into the 30s at night).
My kids enjoyed watching Netflix in the living room at night.
The table had room for eight people:
The kitchen was fully stocked with pots, pans, utensils and spices. We went grocery shopping and ate at least two meals at the house every day.
The house had a laundry room with a full-size washer and dryer. Staying here in the middle of our trip enabled us to pack fewer clothes. I did laundry twice during our trip.
Overall, the inside of the house was ideal because we had space for all of us to sleep and spread out after our daytime adventures.
How Miles and Points Helped
This vacation home rental cost over $200 USD a night, so it wasn’t dirt cheap. While we didn’t use any miles or points to book the house, using miles and points for other portions of our trip helped free up our budget to afford this splurge. If we had to buy our plane tickets, we’d likely have picked a cheaper condo rental without as much space and without this gorgeous view.
When we head to Russia or Europe in the coming years, I will be focusing on rental houses for sure. With a large family, it’s a great way to go.
Have you used a vacation home rental or apartment rental on an international trip? Or ,do you prefer to stay at hotels? What factors sway your decision?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.