Minaret Lodge
Minaret Lodge

10 Unique Accommodations in the South Island

© Minaret Lodge

Want to Sleep in a Shoe?

A boot, a hobbit hole, a castle, jail, a convent, a silo, a treehouse… you can stay in it all in the South Island! Just take a look at the listicle below to find the weirdest and most unique accommodations in the South Island.

You can stay in the most random things in New Zealand’s South Island. Although these unique accommodations are a bit over the usual backpacker budget, featuring hotels, motels and B&Bs, you might just want to treat yourself one night to something crazy.

Indeed, this list of accommodation is for the bigger budget when travelling New Zealand with some luxurious rooms to relax in, but it’s not everywhere that you can say your hotel itself was an attraction!

1. The Marlborough Lodge

Make like a Victorian nun and stay in what was formerly the “Old Saint Mary’s Convent”. This estate boasts super luxury accommodation with 5-star rooms.

Location: Marlborough, South Island

Check The Marlborough Lodge out:

The Marlborough Lodge© The Marlborough Lodge

2. The Jester House (The Boot)

Do you love boots so much you want to sleep in one? Then you are in luck! The Boot is a cosy cottage for two. Nearby, The Jester House Cafe is also where you can hand feed tame eels in the Aporo Stream.

Location: Nelson, South Island

The Jester House© The Jester House

3. Victoria Railway Hotel

This grand Edwardian styled hotel sticks out like a sore thumb in Invercargill. That’s what makes it unique.

Location: Invercargill, South Island

Check the Victoria Railway Hotel out:

Victoria Railway Hotel© Victoria Railway Hotel

4. Larnach Castle

Feel like a prince or princess by staying in New Zealand’s one and only castle. Being located on high ground on Company Bay makes it easier to look down your nose at the peasants of Dunedin.

Location: Dunedin, South Island

Check Larnach Castle out:

Larnach Castle© Larnach Castle

5. Little Paradise Lodge

Between Queenstown and Glenorchy is Little Paradise Lodge nestled perfectly within its gardens. The main lodge is made from wooden shingles and stone cladding. There are four different themed rooms from rainforest theme in the Singing Frogs to romance in the Whispering Swans.

Location: Queenstown, South Island

Check Little Paradise Lodge out:

Little Paradise Lodge© Little Paradise Lodge

6. Minaret Lodge

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit fans rejoice: Minaret Lodge has special accommodation called the Barlimans that 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.

Location: Wanaka, South Island

Minaret Lodge© Minaret Lodge

7. 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.

Location: Central Otago, South Island

© St Bathans Jail and Constables Cottage

8. SiloStay

On the other end of the spectrum, far away from restored historical buildings, is SiloStay. Experience refreshingly modern design in a giant tin can near Akaroa!

Location: Little River, South Island

Check SiloStay out:

© SiloStay

9. Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses

Isn’t it everyone’s childhood dream to sleep in a treehouse? Hapuku Lodge combines this dream with adult comforts. Additionally, the view looks pretty good from 30ft above the ground.

Location: Kaikoura, South Island

Check Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses out:

Hapuku Lodge© Hapuku Lodge

10. Theatre Royal Hotel

Every room has its story in this restored miners’ hotel and theatre. 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.

Location: Kumara, Westland, South Island

Check the Theatre Royal Hotel out:

Theatre Royal Hotel© Theatre Royal Hotel

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

There are more cool and quirky places to stay on the North Island too. For something more under budget, check out the 13 Most Unique Backpacker Hostels in New Zealand. Or, for just a quirky town to visit, we recommend the towns with these 22 BIG Things in New Zealand.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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