© Woodlyn Park
© Woodlyn Park

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

© Woodlyn Park

Weird and Wonderful Places to Stay on the North Island of New Zealand

Make your trip to New Zealand extra special by staying in the weirdest and most unique accommodations on the North Island! Hotels, motels and holiday homes come in all shapes and sizes in New Zealand, whether it’s quirky luxury yurts or a romantic church. Then, there’s the downright insane, such as a converted aeroplane, VW Kombi cabins and a houseboat!

So, treat yourself to a stay in the weird and wonderful accommodations below! Or, just get pleasure out of the knowledge that these accommodations exist…

Oh, and don’t miss our 10 Most Unique Accommodations in the South Island!

1. Woodlyn Park Motel (Waitomo)

What would you like to sleep in: a plane, a boat, a train or a Hobbit Hole? Woodlyn Park can make your wackiest fantasies come true while providing convenient self-contained accommodation in Waitomo. For instance, the “Waitanic” has several units inside with a queen bed, kitchenette, lounge and bathroom. The “Waitomo Express” features two separate motel units, while the “Hobbit Motel” has room for six guests. Combine your time here with the 15 Best Things to Do in Waitomo and you’re in for a memorable trip.

Check Woodlyn Park Motel out:

Woodlyn Park© Woodlyn Park

2. The Convent Hotel (Auckland)

If these walls could tell stories! The Convent Hotel is one of your more unique hotel experiences on the North Island and it’s in Auckland! We love how this hotel has stayed true to the original architecture of an old convent built in 1922 with features like exposed walls but added complimentary modern furnishings and fixtures. With very reasonable prices, there’s no excuse not to try out one of the latest additions to the Auckland hotel scene. And while you’re there, treat yourself to some of the 16 Best Things to Do in Auckland.

Check The Convent Hotel out:

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the North Island, New Zealand [2023]© The Convent Hotel

3. Motuoapa Bay Holiday Park (Turangi)

Stay in a unique cabin on the shores of Lake Taupo at the Motuoapa Bay Holiday Park. Located just outside of Turangi, approximately a 40-minute drive from Taupo and en route to the Tongariro Crossing, this very affordable holiday park provides a silly spot to relax before and after the day’s adventure. Part of the cabin selection includes unique boathouses and retro VW Kombis! While you’re in the area, check out the 12 Best Things to Do in Turangi.

Check Motuoapa Bay Holiday Park out:

11 Unique Accommodations in the North Island© Motuoapa Holiday Park

4. The Rock Adventure Cruise (Bay of Islands)

Who says accommodation has to be on dry land? With the polished wooden interior that covers the cabins and bar/lounge area, you could easily forget you are on a boat when you’re cruising the Bay of Islands on The Rock Adventure Cruise. “The Rock” is New Zealand’s largest houseboat and is an all-inclusive experience of food, fishing, kayaking, island-hopping and good times. There are even shared bunk rooms, like a hostel, if you’re on a budget. Speaking of which, you might also like to check out the 15 Most UNIQUE Backpacker Hostels in New Zealand.

Check The Rock Adventure Cruise out:

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Turoa Yurt (Ohakune)

Yurts are based on the traditional structure originally used as a portable shelter for nomads in central Asia. The Turoa Yurt holiday home in the ski town of Ohakune has used this concept to create an awesome ski chalet! Enjoy open-plan living with a spacious modern kitchen with a breakfast bar, while there are also three separate bedrooms squeezed into this unique accommodation – ideal for a family stay! For more advice on what to do while you’re there, check out the 16 Best Things to Do in Ohakune.

Check Turoa Yurt out:

10 Unique Accommodations in the North Island© Bachcare

6. Fitzherbert Castle Motel (Palmerston North)

Get the imagination running with the intriguing architectural design of the Fitzherbert Castle Motel. Whether you’re a family, a couple or a group, everyone loves a stay in “the castle” of Palmerston North! There is a range of room layouts, even in one of the unique circular castle rooms. The few extra touches like Fairtrade coffee, chocolates and an in-room snack bar are also a welcome addition. While you’re there, check out the 16 Best Things to Do in Palmerston North.

Check Fitzherbert Castle Motel out:

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the North Island, New Zealand [2023]© Fitzherbert Castle Motel

7. Little Church Bay (New Plymouth)

For a unique stay in Taranaki, choose Little Church Bay. The renovated church-turned-holiday cottage offers a romantic stay for couples on the shores of New Plymouth. There are gorgeous spaces to enjoy, from the open-plan lounge and kitchen spilling onto the deck and garden with ocean views. Upstairs is a small bedroom and ensuite. When you’re not kicking back in this unique accommodation, enjoy some of the 15 Best Things to Do in New Plymouth.

Check Little Church Bay out:

10 Most UNIQUE Accommodations on the North Island, New Zealand [2023]© Little Church Bay

8. Greytown Yurts (Wairarapa)

Cosy up in a luxury yurt in Greytown, in the Wairarapa region just north of Wellington. Greytown Yurts features year-round comfort with a heat pump, a king-size bed and other gorgeous furnishings and fixings including a private outdoor bath. Although you’ll be away from the stresses of life in a 2-acre garden, you’ll still have access to modern comforts, such as Apple TV, USB charging points and more. Camping has never looked so good! For things to do in the area, head to the 10 Best Things to Do in Wairarapa.

11 Unique Accommodations in the North Island© Greytown Yurts

9. Katikati Naturist Park

The slogan sums up this accommodation: “for clothes-free recreation”. Go skinny-dipping, stargaze in the nude, play pool and table tennis in your birthday suit, play giant chess naked, and go for a walk in the Kaimai Ranges in your bare skin! In short, Katikati Naturist Park is one of the limited accommodations on the North Island where you can truly be free! When you’re ready to wear some clothes, try the 5 Best Things to Do Katikati.

Katikati Naturist Park© Katikati Naturist Park

10. The Flying Fox (Whanganui)

A retreat in Maori ancestral lands by the Whanganui River, The Flying Fox consists of rustic cottages, glamping and a tiny house. Not only is the accommodation quirky, but the only way to get there is via a cable cart (or “flying fox”) across the river! With a focus on cultural and sustainability principles, the accommodation has many interesting tidbits to discover between the small art gallery and conservation projects. While you’re exploring the Whanganui River, check out the 9 Must-Do Stops on the Whanganui River Road.

The Flying Fox© The Flying Fox

[CLOSED] Pagoda Lodge

There are a number of unique accommodation choices at Pagoda Lodge. The quirkiest being: a converted boatshed, gypsy caravans, the safari tent, and the caravans. Especially with the caravans, the saying it’s what’s on the inside that counts really applies here.

Want More New Zealand Quirkiness?

There are plenty more unique places to stay on the South Island too – just check out the 10 Most Unique Accommodations in the South 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 North Island.


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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