You should book accommodation at major towns and popular tourist locales at least a few days in advance from December to March. Reserving several weeks ahead is a good idea if you’re particular about where you stay. Most Kiwis take two to three weeks off from Christmas onwards, so from December 26 to mid-January anywhere near a nice beach or lake is likely to be packed, particularly holiday parks (campsites) and motels, which usually rack up their prices considerably during this period. Places that don’t attract Kiwi holiday-makers can be relatively peaceful at this time. Towns near ski resorts are typically busiest between July and September, particularly on weekends and during school holidays.