In Travel

From North To South: New Zealand’s Most Stunning Places To Stay

Refined design is a delight to the senses. A stylish space or beautiful building can evoke pleasure just like sipping a fine wine or listening to a beautifully written piece of music. New Zealand offers unparalleled perfection when it comes to accommodation available for a weekend jaunt or longer stay.

Perched precariously on cliff faces, nestled under towering mountain ranges and tucked away in secret bays only accessible by helicopter are spaces and places offering a taste of ultimate luxury. These are the most unusual places to stay in New Zealand.

Donkey Bay Inn, Russell

The curved canary yellow entranceway of Donkey Bay Inn leads guests into the charmingly eccentric bed and breakfast overlooking tranquil coves in Northland’s Bay of Islands. Every room intrigues with weird and wonderful trinkets including a taxidermy peacock.

The fully energy-efficient architectural masterpiece is built into the edge of a cliff with a ‘living roof’ dripping with flora and fauna. Find a book in the library and cosy up in the sitting room with soaring eight-metre ceilings, or enjoy a glass of Donkey Bay gin or the owner’s acclaimed wine.

The Glass House, Whangarei

Imagine taking a shower overlooking the ocean. The Glass House is made extra special with bespoke features like the bathroom’s electric glass slider which opens up to allow showering amid nature.

The aptly-named studio sits isolated on a plunging rocky outlook with panoramic views of the ocean and native bush, and come nightfall, a carpet of stars strewn like spilt glitter. Suffice to say, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most unusual places to stay in New Zealand.

The Dome, Napier

unusual places to stay in New Zealand

Image: The Dome / supplied

The Dome encompasses what Napier is best known for. The historic town celebrates all things art deco; in fact, it’s internationally recognised as the art deco capital of the world with its charming shopfronts and restaurants complete with the traditional facade.

Built in the late 1930s, the iconic heritage-listed former T&G Art Deco building is now boutique accommodation offering sweeping sea and city vistas, and complete with a balcony pool.

The Chateau, Ruapehu

You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve arrived in the south of France. Instead, the ornate 1930s chateau, appropriately named The Chateau, is nestled inside Tongariro National Park and surrounded by three renowned New Zealand mountains: Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.

Plush curtains, deep leather armchairs and traditional wooden wall paneling make the chateau’s lounge the perfect spot to sip classic cocktails beside a crackling fireplace. Soothe tired muscles in the sauna after a day skiing or hiking.

Split Apple Retreat, Motueka 

Abel Tasman is touted as one of New Zealand’s most spectacular spots with crystal clear inlets easily mistaken for waters lapping the shores of a tropical island. The area’s natural beauty is reflected in Split Apple Retreat overlooking Tasman Bay and the national park.

While you’ll probably want to stay and enjoy the saltwater infinity pool, yoga pavilion and Japanese spa, there are excursions available including hiking, kayaking and a visit to the resort’s namesake: that famous rocky landmark that looks just like a split open apple.

Hapuku Tree Houses, Kaikoura

Reignite the playfulness of childhood by staying in a treehouse with all the trimmings at Hapuku Tree Houses. Sitting more than ten metres above a canopy of native bush is a bedroom in the sky that’s been described as luxury on a limb.

Large windows welcome the outdoors in and provide impressive views of Kaikoura’s dramatic mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

Pohue PurePod, Banks Peninsula

Complete with a glass roof and even a glass floor, the Pohue PurePod offers a deep immersion into raw New Zealand.

Gaze up at the Southern Cross star cluster through the ceiling or down at the native plants growing beneath your feet – all without leaving the comfort and warmth of the pod.

Annandale’s Seascape, Pigeon Bay

unusual places to stay in New Zealand

Image: Annandale’s Seascape / supplied

Go where the world can’t find you. You’re far from civilisation here; Annandale’s Seascape is accessed by helicopter or 40-minute 4WD transfer. Camouflaged into the surrounding tussock hillside by a turf roof, you can sleep with the bedroom doors open and welcome the sound of lapping waves from a bay you’ve got all to yourself.

Find reprieve in the open-air spa bath and keep an eye out for dolphins and seals playing nearby from the swinging egg chair or sea-facing bed.

The Lindis, Ahuriri Valley 

The distinctive curved roofline mirrors the natural undulations of the surrounding southern landscape at The Lindis. Cocooned by a meandering river and jagged mountain peaks; these dramatic views are celebrated with the expansive glass panels that line the front of the lodge.

Enjoy the vast environment from inside or get amongst it: fly fishing, hiking, mountain climbing, mountain biking and horse riding are available right on your doorstep.

Larnach Castle, Otago Peninsula 

unusual places to stay in New Zealand

Image: Larnach Castle / supplied

Set within 35-acres of quaint gardens on the grounds of New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Lodge gives its guests a taste of royalty.

Wander the estate and enjoy the call of native birdsong and views sweeping across the peninsula. Become lost in fascinating New Zealand history as you hear tales of the family who once occupied the fairytale-like fortress.

(Lead image: Annandale’s Seascape / supplied)

Published 31 July, 2019