Spend the night somewhere unusual as you explore New Zealand. There are 89 unusual properties listed below including quirky stays like gypsy style caravans, PurePods, an earth dome and tipis, and a restored railway carriage with an outdoor bath. Unique camping locations are also listed along with Bush & Beach Escapes, and Historic properties turned into interesting places to stay. The prices shown are a guide only, please contact the properties directly for current rates.
Northland area - Te Hana
Aroha Island Eco Centre
Rangitane Road (12kms from Kerikeri)
www.arohaisland.co.nz Phone: 09 407 5243
At Aroha Island Eco Centre you can camp from $30 per night for two or stay in one of the cottages or lodge. Birdlife is plentiful and it's a short walk to a rocky beach or a short kayak to a sandy one. Guided Kiwi Walks may be an option at night or guests can hire a red light torch ($5) and take a self guided walk.
81 Pa Road
Phone: 09 407 8617
Pagoda Lodge has a variety of unusual accommodation options including gypsy caravans, a riverside boat shed and safari tents. You can book a getaway for two in a safari tent from $125 per night, or a night in the boat shed from $130. You can also camp at Pagoda Lodge from $15 per person.
Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre
317 State Highway 1
www.tehana.co.nz Phone: 09 423 8701
Te Hana Te Ao Marama Marae provides marae style living in a modern architectural context. Marae stays can be arranged for groups of 10 or more, all stays include a powhiri (welcome ceremony) onto the marae (meeting hall). A mattress, pillows, fresh linen and a cooked breakfast are included (other meals by arrangement). Modern bathroom facilities with disabled access are adjacent to the marae. Starlight evening tours and Maori cultural concerts can be added to the package. (Te Hana is around 100kms north of Auckland).
Whatipu Road (40 minutes west of Auckland)
www.whatipulodge.co.nz Phone: 09 811 8860
Whatipu Lodge was built over 100 years ago and additions have been minimal. There are communal cooking and bathroom facilities but you need to take your own bedding. The lodge is a good option for groups - minimum charge $250 per day. You can also camp from $7.50 per night or stay in Whatipu Bach from $120 per night (discount for mid week stays). Note: The last 7 kms of road to Whatipu Lodge is unsealed and narrow in places, take care. More information about Auckland Council accommodation options.
The Old Church Cottage
1 Hastings Parade, Devonport
Phone: 09 445 9826
The Old Church Cottage was formerly a Sunday School, it sits behind the owner's accommodation which prior to renovation was Devonport's Salvation Army Citadel. The cottage has been renovated to include an ensuite bathroom and a small room that's suitable for a child or third guest. From $220 including continental breakfast (there is a $20 surcharge for one night stays). The cottage is walking distance to Devonport village and the ferry to downtown Auckland.
Stargazers Accommodation & Astronomy Tours
392 State Highway 25, RD 2 Kuaotunu
Phone: 07 866 5343
Travellers with an interest in astronomy will appreciate Stargazers as astronomy tours are offered and there are a variety of astronomy tools and an Observatory. Stay in the Observatory Lodge or self contained Miners Cottage. (Stargazers is 16km north of Whitianga).
www.artbreak.co.nz Phone: 021 0273 8988
Fun and affordable, a painting retreat with a difference - run over two nights in a contemporary bach within a short walk of Waihi’s sandy surf beach. Naomi and Heather, who share years of experience with painting, share their skills and passion for painting using acrylic, water colour and ink. Read and see more...
Solscape Eco Retreat
611 Wainui Road
www.solscape.co.nz Phone: 07 825 8268
Unusual accommodation at Solscape Eco Retreat includes earth domes, tipis (seasonal) and cabooses. Solscape is an eco conscious property located 6km from Raglan but walking distance to the beach. If you're keen to learn to surf check out the inhouse surf school - SolSurfer. Accommodation rates suit those on a backpacker budget and beyond.
Firth Tower Museum
www.firthtower.co.nz Phone: 07 888 8369
Self contained motor homes can park over night for $6 per van per night ($12 if power is required) at Firth Tower Museum. Look for the sign in the car park for all you need to know, especially if you arrive outside Museum hours. It's free to wander through the gardens at the Firth Tower Museum but entry to the historic buildings is $5.
www.cassiesfarm.co.nz Phone: 021 231 6473
The original woolshed on Cassie’s Farm has been converted into secluded and self-contained accommodation using largely recycled materials. The aim was to maintain the original character of the building, the history and essential Kiwi-ness of it, as well as making it as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. Read and see more...
1177 Waitomo Valley Road, RD 7
Phone: 07 878 6666
Touch down in Waitomo and spend a night in the Plane Motel or onboard The Waitanic. Lord of the Rings fans might prefer The Hobbit Motel and train enthusiasts can sleep onboard Waitomo Express. Woodlyn Park also hosts Billy Black's Kiwi Culture Show. Woodlyn Park is a short drive from Waitomo Caves.
Bay Of Plenty / Rotorua / Taupo
Warm Earth Romantic Retreat
202 Thompsons Track, RD 2
Phone: 07 549 0962
If Tranquility and Serenity are what you are looking for book in to one of the two cabins at Warm Earth Romantic Retreat. There's no electricity but candle light and lanterns light the way to the bush bath. Breakfast is included and you can order a platter for the evening or cook your own dinner on the BBQ. From $220 per couple.
Mount Tutu Eco-Sanctuary
1190 Ohauiti Road, RD 3 (18kms from Tauranga i-SITE)
Phone: 07 5443 481
Stay in a bush whare, feed unique sheep and see native birds at Mount Tutu Eco-Sanctuary. (Note that bookings must be prearranged by email or phone, the sanctuary and glow worm tours are exclusively for guests).
Moanarua Beach Cottage
2 Hoterini Street
Phone: 07 312 5924
Experience a Maori cultural home stay at Moanarua Beach Cottage from $150 per night including continental breakfast. Relax in the spa or take a short walk to Ohope beach. Fishing trips can be arranged, there are also bikes and kayaks for hire.
Princes Gate Boutique Hotel
1057 Arawa Street
www.princesgate.co.nz Phone: 07 348 1179
Offering style & sophistication that depicts a bygone era & a time honoured commitment to service, the Princes Gate Boutique Hotel is not just a hotel but also a Rotorua attraction in its own right. Built in 1897 and masterfully restored through passionate attention to detail, the 4.5 star property is situated in the heart of the city and on the doorstep of the picturesque Government Gardens. Read and see more...
104 Tuwharetoa Street
www.tikilodge.co.nz Phone: 07 377 4545
The local Maori hosts at Tiki Lodge provide smiles for free and lake and mountain views for cheap. Book a bed in this modern, Maori flavoured lodge from $22-24 per night. Female only dorms available as well as rooms with shared bathroom, kitchenette and TV, from $70.
Hawkes Bay / East Cape
17 Omarunui Road
Taradale, RD 3
www.ormlielodge.co.nz Phone: 06 844 5774
Ormlie was built in 1899 as a wedding present from the "Father of Hawkes Bay" (Sir William Nelson) for his daughter Gertrude. Six luxury suites provide a home away from home with that little bit extra. Our restaurant is open 7 days for breakfast through to dinner with everything in between. The bar is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy our locally focused wine list, craft beer and artisan cocktails. Ormlie is an experience. See you soon.
Te Poutapeta - The Post Office B&B
8 Waimana Street
Phone: 06 864 5411
Built over 100 years ago, the restored Post Office offers three room options - The Post Master's room (suits couples), The Mail Sorting room (suits a small family), and The Mail Clerk's Office (has two single beds). All rooms share bathroom facilities. You're a few steps away from the beach, meals can be arranged or head up to Te Puka Tavern. Enquire direct for rates.
109 Wharf Road
Phone: 021 0376 948
Two old caravans have been turned in to The Ruins, two cute and rustic cabins on part of the site of the old Tokomaru Bay Freezing Works. Abandoned since the 1950's, the majority of the Work's site is over grown, graffitied and derelict, a real scene for photographers. (Note: The only way to contact this property is by phone).
Morere Hot Springs Lodge
Phone: 06 837 8824
Morere Hot Springs Lodge offers the following accommodation options - The Lodge, a historic farm house with spacious lounge, large kitchen and two bathrooms, sleeps up to 11; Two self contained cabins – sleeps up to three; A two bedroom cottage – sleeps up to four. Take a bush walk through the forest or join a guided walk at night to see glow worms. Morere Hot Springs are nearby.
Egmont Road, Mt Taranaki
www.doc.govt.nz Phone: 06 756 0990
Crisp mountain air is part of the package at the historic camphouse situated over 900 metres from the base of Mt Taranaki. You can self cater or get breakfast and lunch from nearby Mountain Cafe. The Camphouse was restored and upgraded in 1999 and there are modern kitchen and bathroom facilities. From $25 per night.
Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay
356 Kaimata Road, RD 8, Inglewood
www.rarebreeds.co.nz/stoneyoaks4.html Phone: 06 756 7624
Up to 5 people can stay over night in The Barn. The Barn is built from macrocarpa and corrugated iron, there's a deer antler chandelier, and antlers and horns have been used for door handles, towel rails and light fittings. Meet farm animals like kunekune pigs, highland cattle and deer. Stoney Oaks is located 8km from Inglewood.
The Rutland Arms Inn
52 Ridgway Street
Phone: 06 347 7677
The Rutland Arms Inn is a heritage accommodation option in the town centre. The eight suites upstairs are furnished in Victorian style and down stairs is an English pub. Suites from $155 double per night including continental breakfast.
422 Makuhou Road, 'Tyrone', RD 2, Marton
Phone: 06 327 4495
Rangitikei Farmstay is set on a 630 hectare working farm that has been in the Stewart family since 1901. Stay in a rustic hut, or the bunkhouse which is furnished with farming and family history from $30 per night (minimum two night stays apply). Farm activities can be booked including a shearing demonstration - you can even have a go yourself if you're keen. Overnight guests can join the Animal Tour free of charge.
Masterton / Wellington
Biddy & the Star Gazer
Phone: 06 378 0061
Biddy is a 1970's caravan renovated with recycled wood. She is 7.5 metres long and sleeps two. Biddy is off the grid and has solar lights, a gas cooker, and a little coal stove. Steps away is a bathroom with gas shower and toilet. There is cell phone coverage but make sure your devices are fully charged. Biddy resides on a family farm near Masterton and comes with the Star Gazer, a double outdoor bed ideal for lying back and watching the night sky. From $90 (Sunday – Thursday), $120 (Friday, Saturday and public holidays).
The Lighthouse & The Keep
326 The Esplanade, Island Bay & Houghton Bay
Phone: 04 472 4177
Be a lighthouse keeper for the day or hide away in The Keep (stone tower) in Houghton Bay. Self contained accommodation including breakfast provisions from $200 week days, $230 Friday and Saturday nights. Without breakfast - week days $170, Friday & Saturday $200.
Marlborough / Nelson / Golden Bay
9 Oxford Street
Phone: 03 573 5216
Stay in one of Picton's original colonial villas, built in 1886. Fourteen children were raised in the once seven bedroom property, these days visitors can stay on the first floor in studio and apartment accommodation. The Queen Charlotte studio has a carved four poster bed, the Sir Joseph Banks apartment has its own lounge and kitchen for those wanting to self cater. From $279 including continental breakfast provisions.
St Leonards Vineyard Cottages
18 St Leonards Road, RD 1
Phone: 03 577 8328
St Leonards Vineyard Cottages are a short drive (or bike ride if you're keen) from many of Blenheim's wineries. The accommodation options - Old Dairy, Shearers Quarters, Cottage, Stables and Woolshed are all former farm buildings. The onsite chooks provide free range eggs for breakfast. Wifi, laundry facilities and bikes (first come, first served) are included in the tariff, there's also a solar heated pool. From $120 per night including continental breakfast provisions.
Jester House (The Boot B&B)
Coastal Highway, Tasman
Phone: 03 526 6742
It’s not just the old woman who can spend a night in a shoe, you can too. The Boot is a romantic two storey retreat with an open fire, Juliet balcony and small private courtyard. Breakfast is delivered to your door and you can have lunch over the fence at Jester House Café. B&B rate is $330 per night,10% discount for two or more nights.
http://www.hairyhobbitcottage.co.nz/ Phone: 021 2368524
Nestled in the Brooklyn Valley hills overlooking Tasman Bay, Hairy Hobbit Eco Cottage is modern and self-contained. The cottage offers a peaceful retreat in 70 acres of native bush, bursting with birdlife and with fantastic views over the bay. The cottage lies between Motueka and the beaches of Kaiteriteri. Ideal for day trips to Nelson or Golden Bay or to visit the huge scenery of the Abel Tasman, Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes National Parks. Read and see more...
Golden Bay Hideaway
220 McShane Road, Wainui Bay
Phone: 03 525 7184
Golden Bay Hideaway has four accommodation options - a restored house truck set in a private bush location with an outdoor bath; two environmentally conscious houses - Little Greenie and Kiwi Greenie; and the Hippie House which was started by some of the original 'Hippies' in Golden Bay and has been completed and restored. House truck stay from $150 per night, discounts for longer stays.
Beaconstone Eco Lodge
17kms south of Westport on State Highway 6
Phone: 027 431 0491
The development of Beaconstone Eco Lodge has been a labour of love and it will be appreciated by those who like their accommodation to have a minimal impact on the environment. The property is solar powered, has composting toilets (loos with views) and rainfall is the water supply. From $27 per night. *Beaconstone is open from August - April.*
Reef Cottage Bed & Breakfast
Phone: 0800 770 440
Reef Cottage was built in 1887 and was originally a barrister's office, the old office vault has been turned in to an en suite for one of the bedrooms. There is a guest lounge, kitchen, and garden. The Reef Cafe next door serves breakfast for guests and is open for lunch, evening dining seasonal. B&B from $90 single, $100 double.
Te Nikau Retreat Backpackers & Self Contained Accommodation
19 Hartmount Place
Phone: 03 731 1111
Hide away in the rainforest at Te Nikau Retreat in the Stargazer - a rustic wooden hut with a partial glass roof, from $51 double. You can also pitch your tent or stay in one of the lodges or small cabins. Muffins and bread are baked daily and are for sale. (Te Nikau is located 3km north of Pancake Rocks).
Refurbished Historic Guards Van
Phone: 021 174 5333
Experience your slice of heaven. Set on a hill in Moana overlooking Lake Brunner we have a special and unique Bed and Breakfast. Relax and unwind in the recently refurbished historic guards van carriage. The carriage is stocked with everything you could need for a comfortable night's stay.
The guards van is eco friendly and runs solely on solar power. It is equipped with a luxury queen size bed, bar fridge, underfloor heating, and an RV style kitchen and bathroom. There is a private deck and bbq area. Adjacent to the carriage is a conservatory that can be open to the beautiful fresh air or enclosed by heavy duty plastic walls. Read and see more...
20 Hamilton Street
Phone: 03 755 8232
In the heart of Hokitika and opposite the museum, Teichelmann's B&B offers ensuite rooms. The house was built in 1910 for Dr Teichelmann, a mountaineer, photographer and conservationist; as his home and medical rooms. Trip Advisor reviews are excellent and many reviewers enjoy learning about the history of the house, and about the life of Dr Teichelmann. From $145 single.
Kaikoura - Waipara
12 kms north of Kaikoura
Phone: 0800 KAIKOURA
At Hapuku Lodge you can camp out in style in a tree house built 10 metres above the ground in a canopy of Manuka. Walk through the olive orchard or follow the track through native bush to the beach. Luxury five star accommodation at five star prices.
12 Glenmark Drive (77kms from Hanmer Springs)
Phone: 03 314 6003
Sleep in a guards van at Waipara Sleepers or pitch your tent or park your van for the night. Shared guards van stays from $25, unpowered site $20, powered site $25. Free hot bread every morning and maybe an egg or two at the chickens convenience.
Phone: 03 738 0474
Located 33 kms west of Arthurs Pass, Jacksons Retreat provides unique accommodation for those in tents and camper vans – covered camping barns. Each barn has its own water and power supply, and large windows to take in the alpine view. Facilities include free bikes and BBQs, a small pantry shop sells free range eggs. Sites from $40 for two.
Christchurch / Little River / Akaroa
Kowhai Riding School
711 Island Road, View Hill, Oxford
Phone: 03 312 4309
Kowhai Riding School offers all inclusive packages that include accommodation, meals, horse riding lessons and horse treks. Day rides can also be arranged as well as farmstays from one night to three months. (Kowhai Riding School is 75kms west of Christchurch, airport pick ups possible).
Little River Campground
287 Okuti Valley Road
www.littlerivercampground.co.nz Phone: 03 325 1014
A tipee is often used as the communal lounge at Little River Campground, and the Love Shack cabin is lit by candles only. Loos are long drops and facilities are described as rustic, it sounds like camping as it used to be, reviewers rate their experience well. You can visit just for the day in the warmer months and ride the Scary Slippery Slides (see Facebook for photos). Camp from $15pp, cabins from $75 per night.
Onuku Road (6kms from Akaroa)
Phone: 03 304 7066
Gaze up at the stars through the glass roof of a Stargazer wooden tent or park your van for the night. Double, twin, dorm (including girls only) beds are available in the Farm House. Accommodation from $15 a night. Please note: The road to Onuku Farm is winding and narrow in places, drive with care. Enquire about free pick up from Akaroa. (Closed May - September). Onuku Farm is the first stop on The Banks Peninsula Track, there are also shorter walks guests can take on the 430 hectare coastal farm.
Otiake / Oamaru / St Bathans / Clyde
The Criterion Hotel
3 Tyne Street
Phone: 0800 259 334
The Criterion Hotel was built in 1877 and is located in the Victorian precinct of Oamaru. Check out the gallery of photos on the website to see the interior. Accommodation is on the upper floor and downstairs is a popular bar. The Blue Penguin Colony is a waddle away.
St Bathans Jail & Constable's Cottage
1648 Loop Road
Phone: 0800 555 016
The former gaol (jail) and constable's cottage were built in 1884. The jail sleeps two and the self contained constable's cottage sleeps six. From $145 per night including continental breakfast. For other meals and beverages you can take a short walk to the Vulcan Hotel.
Phone: 03 442 6196
At Little Paradise you can sleep in rooms with names like Whispering Swans and Fire of Romance. You will see whimsical sculptures in the garden and according to Trip Advisor reviews even the toilet is an attraction. A bed in the shared room Running Deer can be booked from $45 per night. (Queenstown is just 28kms away).
145 Camp Road
Phone: 03 476 1616
Spend a night in the Historic Stable at Larnach Castle. Enjoy a cooked breakfast the next morning and entry to the Castle for $155 for two adults. You can also stay in the 4 star rated Larnach Lodge from $280 per couple and Camp Estate from $320.
Milford Mariner & Milford Wanderer
Phone: 0800 656 501
Book an over night cruise on either the Milford Mariner (private cabins with ensuite) or Milford Wanderer (twin share with shared bathrooms, limited quad share) and experience the magic of Milford Sound. Bus transfers to the vessels can be arranged from either Queenstown or Te Anau.
Victoria Railway Hotel
Corner Leven & Esk Streets
Phone: 03 218 1281
The Victoria Railway Hotel is a boutique hotel and was built in 1896, it is located opposite the Invercargill Railway Station. Gerrard's Restaurant is onsite and serves locally brewed beer and New Zealand wine. Rooms from $130 per night.