© Hapuku Lodge
© Hapuku Lodge

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the South Island, New Zealand [2024]

© Hapuku Lodge
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
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Want to Sleep in a Shoe?

A boot, a train carriage, a castle, a jail, a convent, a silo, a treehouse… you can stay in it all on the South Island of New Zealand! Whether you want to treat yourself to a stay in one of these weird and wonderful lodgings or, just want the pleasure of knowing these stays exist, we’ve listed the weirdest and most unique accommodations on the South Island.

Oh, and don’t miss our 10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the North Island!

1. Larnach Lodge & Stable Stay (Dunedin)

Feel like a prince or princess by staying in New Zealand’s one and only castle. Perched on a hilltop location on the Otago Peninsula, Larnach Lodge & Stable Stay at Larnach Castle makes it easier to look down your nose at the peasants of the nearby Dunedin. There are two styles of accommodations at Larnach Castle; the lodge rooms on the seaward side of the castle or budget accommodation in the historic stables. Either way, you’re in a great base to explore the 15 Best Things to Do in Dunedin.

Check Larnach Lodge & Stable Stay out:

Larnach Castle© Larnach Castle

2. SiloStay (Christchurch)

One of the most unique accommodations on the Banks Peninsula, near ChristchurchSiloStay offers self-contained units in your own individual silo! The silos sleep up to two guests and boast an innovative eco-friendly design in the heart of Little River – a small village on the way to Akaroa. Make use of your silo’s kitchenette facilities and enjoy drinks on your private balcony. The accommodation has a Tesla charging station and bike hire too! On your way out, be sure to check out the 15 Best Things to Do in Christchurch.

Check SiloStay out:

© SiloStay

3. Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses (Kaikoura)

Isn’t it everyone’s childhood dream to sleep in a treehouse? Hapuku Lodge combines this dream with adult comforts. This contemporary luxury hotel on a deer breeding farm outside of Kaikoura not only boasts stunning countryside surroundings but is a work of art of its own. Plus, it’s not the only weird accommodation in Kaikoura, as you’re about to discover…

Check Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses out:

Hapuku Lodge© Hapuku Lodge

4. Hapuku Carriages (Kaikoura)

For something else a little quirky and undoubtedly memorable in Kaikoura, check out Hapuku Carriages. That’s right, as the name suggests, this accommodation is a B&B in a restored railway carriage. Experience this unique accommodation where you can enjoy your full-cooked breakfast in front of a warm log fire along with real cafe-style coffee. The main event, however, is the outdoor bath in your own private courtyard! We know what you’re thinking: “Where do I sign?!” Start planning your stay along with the 15 Best Things to Do in Kaikoura.

Check Hapuku Carriages out:

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the South Island, New Zealand [2023]© Hapuku Carriages

5. The Marlborough (Blenheim)

Make like a Victorian nun and stay in what was formerly the “Old Saint Mary’s Convent”. Despite its intriguing history, the luxury accommodation of The Marlborough has been elegantly modernised boasting five-star rooms that you’ll want to book for a special occasion. On-site is also a swimming pool, spa, bar and restaurant. Find this unique accommodation in Blenheim along with the 15 Best Things to Do in Blenheim.

Check The Marlborough out:

The Marlborough Lodge© The Marlborough Lodge

6. Jailhouse Accommodation (Christchurch)

Ever wanted to spend the night behind bars like some hardened criminal? Well, you can in Addington Prison which is now renovated into a backpacker hostel! Jailhouse Accommodation in the South Island city of Christchurch offers dorms and private rooms in its unique building. There’s even a historical display room with photo booth props so you can get some funky photos. Discover experiences nearby in the 15 Best Things to Do in Christchurch. Plus, check out more wacky hostels in the 15 Most UNIQUE Backpacker Hostels in New Zealand.

Check Jailhouse Accommodation out:

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the South Island, New Zealand [2023]© Jailhouse Accommodation

7. SkyScape (Twizel)

Innovatively designed to capture all the beauty of Twizel and the Mackenzie Country, as well as the night sky of an International Dark Sky Reserve, SkyScape certainly offers something unique. Perched on the foothills of the Southern Alps, this holiday home is almost entirely made of glass, but that’s not all. The stay-for-two also boasts a luxury cedar hot tub outside giving you more ways to bask in the scenery. When you’re not basking in the views at your accommodation, make the most of the surrounding area with the 10 Best Things to Do in Twizel and 20 Best Things to Do in Aoraki Mt Cook.

Check SkyScape out:

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the South Island, New Zealand [2023]© SkyScape

8. Little Paradise Lodge (Queenstown)

Between Queenstown and Glenorchy is Little Paradise Lodge nestled perfectly within gardens and bush on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. The wooden shingles and stone cladding that the lodge is made from are not the weirdest thing about this accommodation. It is, in fact, the four different themed rooms, from the rainforest theme in the “Singing Frogs” room to romance in the “Whispering Swans” suite. It’s certainly a unique place to retreat to after doing some of the 45 Best Things to Do in Queenstown.

Check Little Paradise Lodge out:

Little Paradise Lodge© Little Paradise Lodge

9. The Boot B&B (Nelson)

Do you love boots so much you want to sleep in one? Then you are in luck! The Boot B&B is a cosy cottage for two in the sunny Nelson Tasman region. Despite its small size, there’s plenty of room to snuggle by the fireplace both inside and out! Up the spiral staircase of your queen room with a Juliet balcony to complete the stay full of surprises. Nearby, the Jester House Cafe is also where you can hand-feed tame eels in the Aporo Stream. If you can pull yourself away from this accommodation, try the 17 Best Things to Do in Nelson.

The Jester House© The Jester House

10. Theatre Royal Hotel (Kumara)

Every room has its story in this restored miners’ hotel and theatre in the tiny village of Kumara on the West Coast. Theatre Royal Hotel has had many interesting characters pass through its doors, so it’s only natural to dedicate rooms to the likes of one-legged “Scottish Sandy” or Kumara’s first mayor, “King Dick”. What’s more, the vibrant old-worldly decor across its halls, guest lounge and some of the guest rooms (others are not quite as garish) add to the unique ambience. While you’re in the area, be sure to tick off the 10 West Coast Must-Dos!

Check the Theatre Royal Hotel out:

Theatre Royal Hotel© Theatre Royal Hotel

[CLOSED] Minaret Lodge

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans rejoice: Minaret Lodge has special accommodation called the Barlimans which is a hobbit hole! Being close to a few LOTRs and The Hobbit filming locations, this would be the perfect hub for a LOTRs-themed trip. Find out more about Middle-earth in New Zealand at 23 Lord of the Rings Locations You Can’t Miss in New Zealand.

[CLOSED] St Bathans Jail and Constables Cottage

Yet another accommodation to spend the night behind bars (check out 11 Unique Accommodations in the North Island and 13 Unique Hostels in New Zealand). Two of St Bathans original buildings from 1884, The Jail and Constables Cottage are part of the small town’s heritage.

Want to Make the Most of New Zealand’s Quirky Side?

There are plenty more unique places to stay on the North Island too – just check out the 10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the North Island, as well as, some funky backpacker hostels, as listed in the 15 Most UNIQUE Backpacker Hostels in New Zealand. If you want to visit some of New Zealand’s quirkiest towns, take a look at the 22 BIG Things in New Zealand for insane sculptures in small towns.

Finally, if that’s not enough, fill up your adventures with weirdness using the 10 Unique & Unusual Things to Do on the South Island.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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