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Last Updated on 13/11/2021

New Zealand is a popular destination for every type of traveller thanks to its jaw-dropping scenery, vibrant culture and laid-back lifestyle. 

But with so much to see and do, it can be tricky to cut through all the noise and choose the best places to stay in New Zealand that’s right for you. 

That’s where I can help! Having travelled extensively around the county, I’ve picked out the top unmissable locations and a range of accommodation options to choose from. 

Whether looking for budget-friendly backpacker hostels for solo travellers, unique and quirky glamping experiences, luxury retreats or mid-range and comfortable hotels, I’ve got you covered. 

I’ve also chosen the best places to stay based on their environmental credentials so you can easily make greener choices too. 

So, here are my recommendations for where to stay in New Zealand covering both the North and South islands so you don’t have to comb through thousands of hotels on your own!

Contents

Quick answers to best places to stay in New Zealand 

  • Best place to stay in New Zealand for adventure lovers: Queenstown
  • Best place to stay for culture: Rotorua
  • Best place to stay for a bit of everything: Wellington
  • Best place to stay in New Zealand for scenery: Lake Tekapo 
  • Best places to stay for hikers: Wanaka 
  • Coolest place to stay: Coromandel 

Best places to stay in New Zealand 

Trip map created using Wanderlog, a road trip planner app

Best places to stay in Auckland 

Auckland is by far the biggest city in New Zealand. About a third of the population live there! Located in the north of New Zealand’s North Island, it’s also the gateway to the country with a major airport serving arrivals from Europe, Asia and North America. 

The cosmopolitan city is modern with plenty of attractions – including the Sky Tower. Sprawled around two harbours, it’s a multicultural hub for food, music, arts and culture. It’s also a handy base if you’re keen to venture up to the Northlands. 

The best thing about Auckland is that you can enjoy the perks of the city but also escape to a quieter life on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf with favourites including Waiheke Island. 

Here are my top picks of where to stay in Auckland!

Mercure Auckland Queen Street

Inside a bedroom with a bed, TV, big window and curtains at Auckland Mercure Queen Street.

Mercure Auckland Queen Street is one of the best places to stay in New Zealand!

Quick info 

Room type: Standard room with king-size bed | Standard room 2 x queen beds | Superior room | Deluxe room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

In terms of the best place to stay in Auckland, it doesn’t get much better than Mercure Auckland Queen Street making it perfect for solo travellers and couples alike. 

This hotel is right in the city centre, giving you easy access to transport links and the harbour. I particularly like that it has a 24-hour front desk making it a no-brainer for red-eye or early morning flights. 

The hotel features an on-site restaurant and bar. The decor is slightly eclectic with painted cityscapes and bold colours. Each room has stunning views of the city too. 

For sustainability points, Mercure has eco-certified toiletries in each room and takes encouraging guests to reuse towels a step further by funding tree planting initiatives through the water and energy saved. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com

Haka Lodge Ponsonby 

Bunk beds in a dorm room at Haka Lodge Ponsonby, Auckland.

Quick info

Room type: Dorm rooms | Private rooms | One-bed apartment 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £-££

Haka is a popular hostel chain on New Zealand’s backpacker trail. It also owns one of New Zealand’s biggest and award-winning tour operators, Haka Tours so it’s ideal for solo travellers. 

Haka Lodge Ponsonby is a top-rated, upmarket but budget-friendly hostel in Auckland’s hippest neighbourhood. Here, you’re spoiled for restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique shopping right on your doorstep. 

The dusky pink building alone is a fun place to hang out. There’s a shared kitchen and lounge. Plus, each bunk bed has privacy curtains, a reading lamp, charging sockets and lockable storage. You can, of course, get a private room too!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Tripadvisor

The Boatshed

View from the blacony looking at towards the sea from the Boatshed, one of the best places to stay in New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: 7 bedrooms 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £££

Okay, here’s a hotel that has the best of both worlds. You’re still technically in Auckland, but this boutique hotel is actually on Waiheke island with the secluded Oneroa Beach at your front door. The hotel is just 35 minutes to the city by boat and a 5-minute stroll to Oneroa town just around the corner. 

The Boatshed offers unique accommodation for couples looking for a private and romantic getaway. You can stay in vintage boat sheds, bridge rooms with stunning views, bungalow suites or a whitewashed lighthouse complete with a private terrace and driftwood steps. 

Gourmet dining experiences in your room or under the stars are also available, featuring fresh seafood and organic home-grown produce. There’s a spa too!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: CoolStays  

Best Paihia accommodation 

Paihia is a small town located on the east coast of the Northlands. It’s the gateway to the Bay of Islands, a popular beauty spot and holiday destination among New Zealanders. It benefits from a subtropical climate so the weather stays balmy all year round. 

The Bay of Islands is an enclave that encompasses more than 140 islands. Here you can go dolphin watching, kayaking, beach hopping, parasailing and skydiving. You can also take a ferry over to Russell, a 19th-century whaling port and site of the first European settlers in New Zealand. 

Don’t miss the important Waitangi Treaty Grounds where Maori chiefs and representatives of the British Crown brokered peace in 1840.  

These are the best places to stay in Paihia. 

Pickled Parrot Boutique Hostel 

The outside space with a wooden decking and yellow buildings at Pickled Parrot hostel in Paihia, New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: Twin room | Bunk room | Double room | Double cabin | Dorm room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

Pickled Parrot is a popular and highly rated hostel in Paihia. It’s not a place for rowdy backpackers but a sanctuary to rest, rejuvenate and unwind instead. 

My favourite thing about this hostel is that you don’t have to suffer for choosing budget-friendly accommodation. Here you’re enveloped in nature in a quiet residential setting but still only a 2-minute walk from the centre of Paihia for bars, restaurants and the beach. 

Choose from a range of clean and comfy sleeping arrangements whether it’s private or dorms. The hostel also has laundry facilities and its own veggie garden. 

Pickled Parrot is not just a quiet spot for backpackers, but it can also accommodate Te Araroa Walkers and digital nomads!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands 

View from above of Scenic Hotels Bay of Islands in Paihia surrounded by trees and the sea in the distance.

Quick info

Room type: Dog-friendly room | Standard room | Superior room | Family room | Deluxe room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

Scenic Hotels is a popular 4-star hotel chain in New Zealand. The Bay of Islands hotel has an island resort-style vibe with a pool, on-site dining and bar. It also has dog-friendly rooms!

The grounds are what really make this place. As you step into the resort, you’re greeted by lush greenery which you can see from your room. 

It offers a sense of privacy and restful retreat – ideal for couples or solo travellers in need of some quiet time. All that with Paihia and the Bay of Islands a mere few minutes away on foot. 

It’s not just green aesthetics at Scenic Hotel. It has a Qualmark Enviro Silver award status for sustainable tourism. 

It supports NZ Made products, uses sustainable suppliers, gets involved with charity fundraising and supports career development in the local community. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com

Sanctuary Palms 

View from below of a wooden treehouse lodge lit up at night. One of the best places to stay in New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: Private suites 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

Time to get your glam on at Sanctuary Palms. Think spa meets treehouse luxury and you’ve pretty much nailed it. Located in a private setting surrounded by native bush and subtropical gardens, Sanctuary Palms is a 5-minute walk from the centre of Paihia. 

It’s all about giving you a secluded retreat with its private suites that are all self-contained featuring a cosy fireplace and double spa bath. 

If you’re looking to treat yourself, you can save money cooking your own meals in the fully equipped kitchen instead of dining out. Discounted vouchers for your booking are also available. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Best places to stay in Coromandel

Located on the east coast of the North Island, the Coromandel Peninsula is known for its abundance of secluded bays and native rainforests. 

It’s a breathtaking spot that’s perhaps most famous for being home to Cathedral Cove near Hahei where a natural rock archway connects Hahei Beach to Mare’s Leg Cove. 

Another famous location nearby is Hot Water Beach. Here, an underground river of hot water flows into the Pacific Ocean. Two hours on either side of low tide you can dig a hole in the sand to create your very own natural bath. 

Check out the best places to stay on the Coromandel Peninsula. 

Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park 

A villa glamping pod with an outside decking area at Hot Water Beach Holiday Park, Coromandel

Quick info 

Room type: Camping | Glamping | Cabins | Units | Villas | Apartments 

WiFi: Yes 

Price: £-££

I loved staying at the Hot Water Beach Holiday Park. Not only is it a handy few minutes walk to Hot Water Beach but it accommodates a range of budgets. 

You can go as cheap or as fancy as you like with camping, glamping and cabins to villas and whole apartments. Seriously, there are about 11 different accommodation options. 

The holiday park is family-owned, has campervan facilities and electric vehicle charging points. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, free hot showers, shop, fish ‘n’ chip shop, pizza oven, laundry facilities, recycling station and go-kart hire. Just about anything you could possibly want!

The accommodation has a Qualmark Silver status and supports the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment.

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Hot Water Beach Holiday Park 

The Church Accommodation 

A wooden house surrounded by trees at the Church accommodation.

Quick info 

Room type: Garden studios | Garden cottages | Self-contained cottages | The House 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

The Church Accommodation is a unique place to stay in Coromandel. Located in Hahei, it offers 12 boutique cottages set amongst an acre and a half of subtropical gardens. 

The architecture is simply stunning here with its focus on high timber ceilings, polished timber floors and leadlight windows. Each one has its own ensuite bathroom and queen bed with a plump duvet to nestle into. 

There’s a communal lounge to relax and unwind in. A continental breakfast is available upon request. 

The best thing of all about this accommodation is the independent The Church Bistro which is housed in a reconstructed church. It offers a seasonal European-inspired menu and an impressive wine list. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Purangi Accommodation

Quick info 

Room type: Chalets | The Orchard House | The Yurt 

WiFi: No 

Price: ££

Purangi is all about the yurt so if you’re looking for quirky places to stay or glamping retreats in Coromandel, this is the place. 

Just 5 minutes from Hahei and close to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, Purangi is a homestay with a choice of chalets, yurt and house, all situated in an organic orchard. 

The large Mongolian-inspired yurt is fully self-contained with, yes, even kitchen facilities and a BBQ. It sleeps 4 so it’s ideal for groups, families or couples. There are bathroom facilities on the side of the yurt. 

The Chalets are cheerful and cosy with ensuite bathrooms and sleeps up to 3. The house has a big living space and sleeps up to 6. There’s a TV but no WiFi in any of the accommodations so it’s a great spot to unplug!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: TripAdvisor

Best places to stay in Rotorua 

Rotorua is a fantastic destination for culture lovers; particularly those who want to learn more about Maori culture. 

Known for its geothermal activity, there are bubbling hot pools dotted around the town. In fact, Rotorua’s community is lucky enough to have their homes heated by geothermal energy. 

The Te Puia Geothermal Reserve is home to the 30m tall Pohutu Geyser (the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere) which erupts several times a day. 

Rotorua is where you’ll find the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, with traditional wood carving and weaving schools. It also has the working Tamaki Maori Village. Hobbiton is also nearby.

Here are the best places to stay in Rotorua. 

Rock Solid Backpackers

View of a lounge looking out onto the climbing wall at Rock Solid Backpackers, New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: Dorm rooms | Group accommodation | Family room | Private ensuite  

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

Budget-friendly and cheerful, Rock Solid Backpackers is a hostel with a variety of room choices available. But it’s not your standard hostel. It also boasts an impressive 20-metre indoor climbing wall with 56 different climbs. 

On rainy days, you can tuck into wine and wedges at the cosy basement cinema. On Thursday evenings, you can explore the night food market just outside the door too. 

The hostel itself has a large kitchen, laundry facilities, luggage storage and bike storage. It also has a spacious lounge where you can relax and socialise with a fantastic view of the climbing wall. 

Highly rated, budget-friendly and social, it’s the perfect place for solo travellers looking for an affordable place to stay. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Cleveland Thermal Motel 

View of a bedroom with a white bed and grey furnishings at Cleveland Motel, New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: One bedroom | Two bedroom | Family apartment | Studio | Cottage

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

Cleveland Thermal Motel is a mid-range 3-star hotel that is ideal for road trippers with their own vehicle. A little way out of the city centre, it has free parking on-site, free WIFI and free BBQ facilities with plenty of space to relax in. 

Each guest room is thermally heated, includes a 42-inch flat-screen TV, a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave and an outside patio area. A continental breakfast is available on request.  

The motel’s best feature is the heated pools. There’s a large freshwater pool in the garden that varies in temperature to suit the seasons all year round. 

There are also two indoor geothermal mineral pools for adults to relax and unwind in. Who said luxury needs to be expensive? 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Tamaki Maori Village 

Quick info 

Room type: Traditional carved ‘wharemoe’ 

WiFi: No 

Price: £££

Probably the most unusual and immersive stay in Rotorua and maybe even New Zealand, Tamaki Maori Village is a working village and award-winning cultural attraction. 

It was voted one of the top 10 cultural experiences in the world, so no biggie!

Visitors are invited to come to the village and learn about traditional Maori culture, including games, customs, performances, activities and take part in a delicious ‘hangi’ feast. 

A few guests can also pay to stay the night in a traditional carved ‘wharemoe’ (sleeping house) under the branches of the Tawa Forest. 

Only available for one night, this stay is an experience of a lifetime you won’t forget in a hurry. 

After your hangi feast, you’ll be treated to an evening of Maori myths and legends around a bonfire before relaxing in a private spa pool and turning in for the night. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Tamaki Maori Village

Best places to stay in Taupo 

Located in the middle of the North Island, Taupo is a town situated on the shores of Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake. Interestingly, the lake is the caldera of a large supervolcano. Don’t worry, it’s dormant and last erupted 1800 years ago. 

Supervolcanoes aside, Taupo is home to Maori Rock Carvings, Huka Falls where you can go white water rafting, geothermal pools, bungy jumping and skydiving. 

It’s also a prime spot for hikers as it’s the getaway to the Tongariro National Park wherein lies the Tongariro Crossing, one of New Zealand’s most famous day hikes and Mount Ngauruhoe, known to LOTR fans as Mount Doom. 

Here’s where to stay in Taupo. 

Rainbow Lodge

The lounge with a big sofa and tables at Rainbow Lodge, one of the best places to stay in New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: Dorm rooms | Shared rooms | Private accommodation

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

Possibly one of my favourite hostels in New Zealand, Rainbow Lodge is a top-rated backpackers retreat a few minutes walk from the town centre. Choose from dorm rooms to private rooms all with clean and comfortable beds. 

It has a spacious lounge, well-equipped kitchen and large outside BBQ area. You can also hire bikes here and enjoy the sauna. What’s particularly handy is the hostel offers free pickups from town. 

If you’re keen to hike the Tongariro Crossing, the front desk will help you arrange it from bookings, pickups and weather forecast updates. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Taupo Debretts Spa Resort

The swimming pool surrounded by greenery at Taupo Debretts Hotel and Spa.

Quick info 

Room type: Cabins | Motels & Superior studios | Family units | Motorhomes & camping 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

Award-winner and QualMark Silver and Gold status, Taupo Debretts is a holiday park and spa resort offering a range of accommodation from cabins to motels and camping so there’s something for every travel style. 

The cabins are affordable, comfortable although fairly simple accommodation with shared bathrooms which are ideal for couples. For private bathrooms, go for the motels and studios with self-contained kitchens too. 

The biggest perks about Debretts are the day spas and waterpark featuring geothermal mineral outdoor pools, indoor private pools. 

Go there during the day and soak surrounded by lush greenery or head there in the evening when the waterpark lights up.  

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

MountViews Glamping 

Inside a glamping tent at MountViews with basket chairs and a bed.

Quick info

Room type: Glamping tent | Retro campervan

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

Here’s something a little unusual that’s perfect for glamper couples. MountViews Glamping is located on two acres of land in the countryside outside Taupo. 

Choose from a glamping tent or retro campervan. Each one has a comfy queen bed, kitchenette and outside hot shower. 

All guests are treated to a complimentary bottle of bubbles on arrival and continental breakfasts. Facilities include a games room, BBQ fire pit, swimming pool and spa. 

What makes this stay a real winner is the location. This cosy hideaway is surrounded by farmland with residents including a miniature pony and a golden retriever. 

You’ve also got breathtaking views out towards Taupo and Tongariro National Park beyond.  

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Best hotels in Wellington 

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand and my favourite city in the country. Situated at the bottom of the North Island on the Cook Strait coast, it’s not nearly as big as Auckland but there’s so much to do.

You can stroll along the pretty waterfront promenade, enjoy the nightlife on Cuba Street, have a beach day, take the iconic red cable car to the botanic gardens. A short walk up nearby Mount Victoria gives you stunning panoramic views of the city. 

Head to the Weta Caves to learn about special effects in films including LOTR. You can also have a look around the various museums, including Te Papa, visit the government buildings, spend the day at the Zealandia wildlife sanctuary and, of course, take a ferry to the South Island!

Check out these top hotels in Wellington. 

U Boutique Hotel 

Bed, tv, ensuite and balcony with a hot tub in a king suite at U Boutique Hotel.

Quick info

Room type: King studio | Queen studio | Family suite | Twin studio | Self-contained double studio 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

U Boutique is a cheerful mid-range hotel. Part of the U Hotel Group you can find across New Zealand, it’s a small hotel in the heart of Wellington’s entertainment and gourmet district. 

It promises a comfortable stay that’s a step up from a hostel dorm and won’t break the bank. 

The decor has a funky vibe inspired by continental European town buildings with communal courtyards and relaxed feel. There’s a 24-hour front desk, laundry facilities and continental breakfast that can be delivered to your room. 

There are only 13 rooms in this hotel so you won’t get lost. Choose from rooms with shared bathrooms, apartments and a king studio with a balcony and spa!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

The Dwellington 

A double bed with chairs and a bunch of flowers at the Dwellington.

Quick info 

Room type: Double room | Twin room | Family room | Mixed dorm | Female-only dorm | Triple room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £-££

The Dwellington in Wellington (ha!) offers home-style private and shared accommodation.

It’s not just your average backpacker hostel. In fact, it’s probably the most upmarket hostel I’ve ever seen. It’s a comfortable and elegantly stylish place to stay at an affordable rate. 

It features a beautiful and socially-designed kitchen, BBQ area, tennis and squash courts, two living rooms and a cinema. All rooms and dorms and ultra-comfy beds and views out towards historic Thorndon neighbourhood. 

The hostel also offers free breakfast and free transfers to the ferry terminal where you can get an exclusive discount with the ferry company, Bluebridge. 

If you’re a hostel-phobe, there’s no better place than The Dwellington to dip your toes in. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

The Lighthouse 

View of the Lighthouse from the bech in Wellington.

Quick info 

Room type: One double bedroom 

WiFi: No

Price: ££

Here’s a unique place to stay. The Lighthouse in Island Bay on Wellington’s south coast is a place where getaway meets city escape. Ideal for couples, the Lighthouse has hypnotic views of the ocean with coastal walks nearby. 

Just around the corner are shops, cafes, restaurants and a cinema. Plus, there’s a bus going every 20 minutes to take you to the city centre. 

Suitable for two guests, it has one bedroom but you also have the entire place to yourself – including a kitchen. 

There’s a TV and workspace nook but no WIFI as it’s all about encouraging you to unplug and enjoy your surroundings. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Airbnb 

Best places to stay in Christchurch 

On the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch is known for its English heritage and historic buildings.

It’s the largest city on the South Island and has plenty of pretty parks and green spaces including a botanical garden. 

Popular activities include riding the retro hop-on hop-off tram around the city centre, taking a boat out on the River Avon, hiking in the neighbouring Canterbury Region. It’s the start of the TranzAlpine Railway, one of the most scenic train journeys in the world. 

You can also take a day trip up north to Kaikoura and go whale watching!

Christchurch is perhaps most known for its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire which makes the area susceptible to earthquakes. The Quake City Museum is where you can learn about the earthquake that struck in 20211. 

Here are the top places to stay in Christchurch. 

Jailhouse Hostel 

The dining area with tables and chairs in the Jailhouse Hostel.

Quick info 

Room type: Dorm room | Twin bunk | Single room | Double room | Family room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

If you’re looking for unique meets budget-friendly accommodation, it has to be the award-winning Jailhouse Hostel in Christchurch. 

Voted the top hostel in Oceania by Hostelworld, the renovated accommodation was once indeed a prison. Addington Prison to be precise, which operated from 1874 to 1999. 

Suitable for solo travellers, couples and even families, the accommodation is clean, comfy and welcoming with an unmistakable jailhouse vibe thanks to its thick walls, barred windows and simple style. There’s also a games room and cinema room!

The hostel is right in the middle of the entertainment district with its cafes, bars and proximity to the railway station and theatre among other attractions. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Carnmore Hotel 

A hotel room with green wallpaper behind the bed and a large window at the Carnmore Hotel in Christchurch.

Quick info 

Room type: Accessible room | Family room | Executive studio | Twin studio | King studio 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

If a comfortable hotel is all you need then Carnmore does the job perfectly. This reasonably priced 4-star hotel is in the centre of Christchurch within easy walking distance of many popular landmarks and attractions. 

Each room has colourful modern decor and city views. Amenities include a flat-screen TV, a kettle, shower, private bathroom and kettle. Guests can also make use of the shared lounge. 

On the ground floor of the hotel is Cosa Cafe which serves a continental buffet breakfast, and light bites throughout the day.  

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Greystone PurePod

Greystone Purepod glass pod lit up with a starry night above. One of the best places to stay in New Zealand.

Quick info 

Room type: Glass cabin 

WiFi: No 

Price: £££

Okay here’s your ultimate romantic getaway in New Zealand. Greystone PurePod outside Christchurch is the place to go for a unique eco-friendly retreat located in complete isolation above a winery. And the best bit? You can go stargazing from your own bed!

The PurePod has heavy-duty glass walls, ceiling and floor so you can admire nature all around you and superb views of the Waipara Valley on one side and Teviotdale hills on the other.

The PurePods have comfortable beds, a fully-equipped kitchen and an ensuite bathroom. You can cook your own meals or get breakfast and dinner packages delivered.  

Simply sit back and unwind or go for walks around the local area. If you like a glass of wine, head to the neighbouring Greystone Vineyard for wine tours and tastings. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: CoolStays 

SiloStay

Walkway leading up to a collection of silver converted Silos to stay in. One of the best places to stay in New Zealand.

Quick info

Room type: 2-4 person per silo

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

Another win for affordable, eco-friendly and unique places to stay in New Zealand, SiloStay is 50 minutes from Christchurch – so a great option if you want to escape the city.  These eco holiday homes are located in the centre of Little River. 

The silos themselves have been carefully designed to maximise practicality and comfort. You can choose a one-level or two-tiered silo. Each one has a custom-fitted kitchenette, a lounge with a TV and an outside balcony.

The sleeping quarters are accessed by a spiral staircase in the two-tiered silo and has a queen-sized bed and electric blanket for colder nights. 

Here, you can immerse yourself in nature either on foot or by bike. Little River is a gateway to the stunning Banks Peninsula and near a peaceful nature reserve. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: CoolStays 

Best places to stay in Wanaka

Cradled by mountains and a lake of its namesake, Wanaka is a resort town on the South Island of New Zealand. 

Here, you’re treated to astonishing views of snow-capped mountains all around you and it’s known as the gateway to the Southern Alps’ Mount Aspiring National Park. 

Plenty of people visit Wanaka for hiking with Roy’s Peak being the most famous trail. Truthfully, you’re absolutely spoiled for hikes with endless dramatic views of glaciers, beech forests and alpine lakes. Treble Cone and Cardrona ski resorts are also nearby. 

Wanaka itself is not to be missed. You can spot the iconic Wanaka Tree in the lake, visit the retro Cinema Paradiso and get lost in a maze at Puzzling World. 

Where to stay in Wanaka!

Mountain View Backpackers 

Quick info 

Room type: Mixed dorms | Double room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

Mountain View is a cosy little hostel set in a residential area about two minutes from the lakefront. 

It’s small so there’s no chance of rowdy visitors and the maximum number of beds in a dorm is 6 although you can upgrade to a private double room if you would prefer the privacy. It’s an ideal place to rest and take in Wanaka’s beauty on a budget. 

Facilities include a cheerful communal lounge with squashy armchairs and a fireplace for chilly nights. It has a large garden which is perfectly set up for BBQs and a private lookout where you can admire the view of Lake Wanaka. 

All dorms have lockers and clean towels are available. It even has a room to dry ski gear. Mountain View is not trying to be fancy, but it does have a homely feel to it and sometimes that’s all you need. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Te Wanaka Lodge 

Dining table in an alpine style lode with a red carpet at Te Wanaka.

Quick info 

Room type: Lodge rooms | Large cottage rooms 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

Te Wanaka Lodge is a boutique hotel that marries alpine charm with a down-to-earth bed and breakfast. 

Inspired by European ski lodges, the hotel was made using wood sourced from the local area and it’s celebrated throughout the property from the walls to the window frames and the rustic ceiling. 

The lodge is a step up from a hostel as you have the privacy of your own rooms, but it still has plenty of cosy nooks and lounges with a log fireplace where you can read, enjoy a tipple or two and chat with other guests. 

You can also venture outside and enjoy a bite in the sunny courtyard or make a beeline for the hot tub (I would!). 

Delicious home-cooked food is a big perk of Te Wanaka with meals including breakfasts, afternoon tea and dinner. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Oasis Yurt Lodge 

Three yurts with paths leading up to them at Oasis Yurt in Wanaka.

Quick info 

Room type: Group accommodation | Yurt

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

If it’s luxury eco glamping accommodation you’re after, look no further than Oasis Yurt Lodge. Nestled in a natural setting on the banks of the Cardrona River, the accommodation is surrounded by mountain vistas and incredible skies at night. 

The Lodge specialises in group functions including weddings and retreats, but it also operates as a boutique hotel where guests can stay in individual yurts.

An ideal romantic place to stay, the queen yurts sleep two, includes power and a fireplace and has a shared kitchen and bathroom. Double queen yurts and family yurts are also available. 

You can also find a tipi which acts as a lounge with warm ambient lighting and cushions galore. Don’t miss the complimentary wood-fired hot tub too!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Best places to stay in Queenstown 

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand (and maybe even the world!). 

People come from all over to this mountain resort town to test their mettle with its range of hair-raising activities on offer, including one of the highest bungy jumps in the world, skydiving, giant swings, catapults, white water rafting, jet boats, quad biking and more.

In winter, there’s skiing on the slopes of the Remarkables and Coronet Peak. 

Queenstown is also breathtakingly beautiful. Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, mountains surround you from every side.

There are some excellent walks here, including Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill. It’s also a good base to explore neighbouring vineyards and the Fiordlands of the South Island’s West Coast.  

Read More: Epic Day Trips From Queenstown You Need To Do

Here are some cool places to stay in Queenstown. 

Tahuna Pod Hostel 

One of the best hostels in New Zealand, a dorm with a double bed pod and curtain.

Quick info 

Room type: Pods in dorms | Superior double | Private room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

The best type of hostels are the ones that allow you to socialise and have some privacy. That’s exactly what Tahuna Pod Hostel offers. It has dorm rooms, but instead of bunk beds, each bed has its own pod with a curtain, private charging points, reading light and locker. Perfect. 

The very first pod hostel in New Zealand, the striking aesthetic is inspired by Maori heritage. You’ll notice this in the wood carvings and decorations throughout. 

On top of that, the hostel is modern, clean and spacious with a casual and relaxed atmosphere. 

Other than the pods, my favourite thing about this hostel is the free stuff. You can get free tea and coffee, towels, on-site parking, hairdryers and entry to the Queenstown Ice Bar. 

You also have access to a large balcony / BBQ area with views overlooking Queenstown. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Mi-Pad Smart Hotel 

View of the mountains in Queenstown in the evening from the Mi-Pad terrace.

Quick info 

Room type: Accessible bunk room | Twin deluxe | Courtyard queen | Premium queen | Queen deluxe 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££

If you’re a bit of a tech lover then Mi-Pad Smart Hotel will be right up your street! This award-winning hotel allows you to personalise your stay through an app. 

Known as a digital concierge, the app gives you contactless check-in, keyless hotel and room entry, colour-your-room lighting, room temperature control and add Do Not Disturb. You can also order food and rent ski gear. All for a reasonable price too. 

Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the hotel has a stunning rooftop terrace complete with a gas fire for cooler evenings. 

There’s also a lounge, library and tech hub with shared working spaces so you can catch up on any bits and bobs. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Glam Camping Queenstown

Geodesic glamping dome at Glam Camping surrounded by green hills.

Quick info 

Room type: Geo domes (shared and private)

WiFi: No

Price: £££

Operating on the philosophy ‘disconnect to reconnect’ Glam Camping is a mountain retreat 20 minutes drive from Queenstown. 

Easily one of the best places to stay in New Zealand, the glamping experience comprises off-grid geodesic domes with an eco-conscious design to have a light footprint on the pristine landscape. 

Located on the secluded shores of Moke Lake, it’s no surprise that this spot is popular for weddings and elopements. 

The domes themselves all include hardwood floors, comfy queen-sized beds, large lake view windows, indoor lighting, charging points, hot showers, toilets, fresh towels and small kitchen. Basically all the amenities you need for a retreat with home comforts. 

If you would rather avoid the hassle of sourcing food, you can have your meals cooked by a private chef or order a DIY food box ready for you to prepare yourself. 

Other activities include private yoga, horse trekking and wine tours!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Best Lake Tekapo hotels 

Lake Tekapo is a small town on the shores of a lake of its namesake right in the heart of the South Island. This remote but stunning destination is well-known for three amazing activities – hot pools, stargazing and exploring the Southern Alps! 

The Lake Tekapo Hot Springs are an absolute must-visit. You can relax in the outdoor pools with views of the lake and mountain range behind. 

If you’re an astrophotographer, you’ll love the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve which has some of the clearest and darkest night skies in the world. 

Here are the best Lake Tekapo hotels. 

Lakefront Lodge Tekapo 

Image of Lakefront Lodge with a big window and trees behind.

Quick info 

Room type: Dorm rooms | private cabins| Private dormitory rooms| ensuite cabins | Glamping (summer)

WiFi: Yes

Price: £-££

Lakefront Lodge was built for backpackers in mind. It has a modern style with a twist of alpine cosiness and unbeatable views of Lake Tekapo on its doorsteps. 

The hostel has a communal vibe, but there is an option to stay in private accommodation if you would rather skip the dorms. 

Facilities include a good-sized kitchen, laundry room, BBQ and picnic area and shared bathrooms. 

Probably the most impressive feature of this lodge is the common room with enormous floor to ceiling windows facing the lake. There’s also plenty of seating and a wound burner fire ready for cold nights. Perfect for a communal movie marathon!

Lake Tekapo may be a small town but it means it’s easily walkable so the lodge is just a 10-minute stroll from the supermarket, shops, restaurants and hot springs. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Tailor Made Tekapo Backpackers 

A house in a garden surrounded by trees and flowers at Tailor Made Hostel.

Quick info 

Room type: Double ensuite room | Family ensuite room | Double room | Twin room | Triple room | Dorm room 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £-££

Suitable for backpackers and families and everyone in between, Tailor Made is a rural and quirky retreat surrounded by beautiful gardens just a few minutes away from Lake Tekapo. 

There are no bunks at this hostel, just comfy hotel quality beds instead. Not bad on a budget!

There’s a kitchen if you’re keen to stay somewhere self-catered but Lake Tekapo’s restaurants aren’t too far away either. There’s complimentary bike hire available and you can borrow sports equipment to use on the courts nearby. 

Hands down the best thing about this property are the friendly animals you can say hello to, including rabbits, chickens, ducks and sheep!

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Peppers Bluewater Resort 

An image of a grey alpine style lodge by a lake with mountains and trees behind.

Quick info 

Room type: Double room | Deluxe rooms | Suites | Villas 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

Romantic, secluded, luxurious – that pretty much sums up Peppers Bluewater Resort. The hotel is located close to the shores of Lake Tekapo with rooms and balconies overlooking the lake and mountains. The perfect spot for a morning cuppa. 

The decor in the rooms are earthy and calming, inspired by the natural landscape. No bold colours here to distract from the mesmerising views outside. 

The villas and suites have kitchen facilities otherwise you can tuck into a menu of delicious locally sourced ingredients at the casual on-site restaurant and bar. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Best places to stay in Dunedin 

Dunedin is the second-largest city on the South Island – and also one of the oldest. Located on the southeast coast, it’s known for its Maori and Scottish heritage and well-preserved Victorian and Edwardian architecture. 

Dunedin gives you easy access to the Catlins and Curio Bay where you can find the fossilised remains of an ancient forest. There’s also beaches galore here with wildlife including albatross, sea lions, rare penguins and seals. 

Dunedin itself is a student city with plenty of excellent and affordable restaurants and bars. Coffee culture is particularly popular and the city is well connected to Queenstown and Christchurch. 

Here are the best places to stay in Dunedin. 

On Top Backpackers 

Quick info 

Room type: Dorm room | Single room | Twin room | Double room | Deluxe room | Penthouse apartment 

WiFi: Yes

Price: £

Highly rated On Top Backpackers is located in the heart of Dunedin above a bar and cafe so you don’t need to go far to grab a bite! If you prefer to cook your own food, there’s a fully equipped kitchen and BBQ area. You can also get a free breakfast during your stay too. 

Perfect for solo travellers or couples on a budget, the adult-only hostel has dorms and private rooms available. 

If you’re feeling particularly swanky, you can book the penthouse apartment. 

Whichever room you go for, it’s guaranteed to be clean and spacious with secure luggage storage for peace of mind. Not too fancy but comfortable and laid-back. 

The staff are also on hand to help you plan shuttles, activities or the next stage of your trip too. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross 

The Southern Cross Hotel in Dunedin lit up with a tree in front.

Quick info 

Room type: Standard room | Superior room | Executive suites | Tower suites | Presidential suites 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

Owned by the same hotel group as the one in Paihia, Scenic Hotel Southern Cross is Dunedin’s largest and most established hotel. The building itself dates back to 1883 and its heritage is kept alive in its marriage between historic charm and modern style. 

There are 178 rooms to choose from, including standard rooms at the slightly more budget end and enormous presidential suites. 

You’re spoilt for on-site bars and restaurants, a fitness centre, tourist information kiosk, casino and laundry facilities. 

The most impressive thing about Southern Cross is that it manages to provide all these luxuries and services with a Qualmark Enviro-Silver award, meaning it considers its impact on the environment and takes part in local charity initiatives. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Larnach Castle 

A garden with a castle in the distance. Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle.

Quick info

Room type: Stable accommodation | Camp estate | Lodge rooms 

WiFi: Yes

Price: ££-£££

How about a stay at the site of New Zealand’s only castle? Just a 20-minute drive from Dunedin’s city centre, Larnach Castle was built in 1871 and features materials from around the world. In 1967, it was bought by the Barker family who still own it today. 

You can’t actually stay in the castle but there is a range of accommodation available in the grounds from budget-friendly dorms in a converted stable to Four Star Qualmark Gold lodges with sea views and Five Star Qualmark Gold rooms in a new stone manor house. 

If you’re still keen to get the most of the castle, you can have dinner there in the historic dining room. It’s a dinner party style rather than a restaurant with a four-course menu created by the chef. 

Compare hotel prices and read reviews on: Booking.com 

Don’t forget travel insurance for New Zealand

It’s always better to be safe than sorry so always remember to get travel insurance – even if you think you won’t need it. I’ve been using World-First for years and I always find them to be professional, reliable and affordable compared with other competitors. 

Get a quote from World-First.  


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