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Weird, quirky and 16 fascinating places to stay in New Zealand

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Everybody needs a unique, fascinating or slightly quirky place to stay while on holiday. It’s all part of the adventure talking about the unusual features of your accommodation to friends and family. It’s weird thinking about sleeping in a jail, well check out what Christchurch has to offer and check into Addington prison for your personal holiday highlight.



@Pagoda Lodge
@Pagoda Lodge

Pagoda Lodge, Kerikeri, Northland, North Island

A homage to China is found in the pagoda’s nestled among the lush garden and mature trees. The property borders the inlet leading to the historic Stone Cottage. The Jade cottage, the whimsical gypsy caravan, a boat shed and safari tents definitely add a choice of quirky accommodation to choose from. The lodge (1930’s) is a favourite spot for photographers with its distinctive curved temple roof style. Get a tent then there are camping sites as well.


You’re there, you’ve arrived in the heart of historic Northland and the world beating attractions

Find out more what to do in Things to do in Kerikeri § Attractions, Activities, & Top Sights.

@Kororipo Heritage Park
@Kororipo Heritage Park

The Postmasters Lodgings, Rawene, Hokianga, North Island

Beautifully decorated with eclectic furniture ranging from full blown ornate Victoriana to early 20th century adds a gloss to the sense of stepping into the catalogue of a bygone period.

A classic bed and breakfast with panoramic views of Rawene, Hokianga harbour and town activities.



Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre

Marae accommodation is available for groups, conferences, birthdays or other such events.  All Marae stays include a traditional powhiri (welcome ceremony) onto the Marae (meeting hall), a cosy mattress, pillows, fresh linen and a deliciously cooked breakfast for the following morning.  Our modern styled bathroom facilities are located adjacent to the Marae and contain both disability showers and toilets.  Minimum numbers do apply.

Accommodation is marae style (communal shared space).

An authentic glimpse into the unique Aotearoa New Zealand Maori cultural values at a grassroots level.


  • Albertland Heritage Museum, find out early the lives of early European settlers
  • Surf at Te Arai beach with the locals
  • Participate in a cultural experience at Te Hana Te Ao Marama Maori Cultural Centre


  • Te Arai beach and learn to surf, check out Amazing Auckland northern beaches
  • Tomarata lake, kayaking and walks
  • Forestry beach remote, pristine and mellow surfing conditions with Tomarata Lakes Recreational Reserve nestled in the dunes
Te Arai Point beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Te Arai Point beach



@Woodlyn Park Motel
@Woodlyn Park Motel

Woodlyn Park accommodation

The Hobbit House, The War Plane, The Navy Boat Or The Steam Train are part of the quirky accommodation options at Woodlyn Park accommodation. Make a night of it or two exploring nearby Waitomo. Explore Waitomo Caves, beyond the tourist circuit, what to see and best things to do. The Bristol Freighter was one of the last planes to be flown out of Vietnam as the North marched into the South. A World War II Waitanic ship has been refurbished into five comforty units.

Described by the owners as, “OUR MOTELS are world unique, built in part from recycled and natural materials. They have in the past worked hard as a war plane, a navy patrol boat and a carriage from the steam train era. As such they have a slightly lingering aroma from their industrial past, much like any modern vehicle – their scent reflects the materials they are made of. Our Cave unit built underground contains natural fibre curtains and some timbers – these too reflect the natural scent of their origins.”

A must-stay destination for anyone with a sense of humour.

@Woodlyn Park Motel
@Woodlyn Park Motel


@Lighthouse Hotel
@Lighthouse Hotel

The Lighthouse, Wellington, North Island

Waves rhythmically beat the sound of the sea and you are perched inside a lighthouse for the night. A kitchen, a bedroom suite for two with a full bathroom is exclusively for guests. Shared with owner lounge, office space, kitchen, dining room and balcony.


  • One of the things we love here is the ridge walk behind the house which has spectacular views of Wellington harbour. And the fact that our beach and cute village is so low key and unspoilt – lovely coast walks, icecreams and fish and chips, plus coffee & two places where you can eat out – Arcimboldi Cafe and Little Sprig bar / bistro
  • Weta Workshop is a Miramar / Seaton must-do
@The Flying Fox, Whanganui
@The Flying Fox, Whanganui

The Flying Fox

What a way to arrive. Whanganui River Road is a hidden treat for visitors. The Flying Fox, has a private aerial cable car and had the choice of staying in either the Gypsy Cart, the Blackberry Patch or the River Boat Cottage, complete with home cooked meals and a large dollop of Whanganui River magic.


The River is a person : “I am the river, and the river is me” The Whanganui River has gained its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person. Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) established the river as an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea

  • Jerusalem community, church and a place of meditation with stay options
  • Pipiriki Marae guardians and tour guides extraordinaire to Bridge to Nowhere
  • The River and the inhabitants
  • Scenic Aotearoa

A must-go stay destination for nature and outdoor lovers.

Paraweka, (Pipiriki) Marae WWI returned soldier's home, Whanganui River Rd, NZ scenic road trip
Paraweka Pipiriki Marae WWI returned soldier's home




Jester House cafe, is an original with the wacky made for the holiday spirit. There are plenty of distractions for kids together with a menu that caters for any requirement.

A place where you are encouraged to laugh and enjoy the moment. Remember to check out the library while you linger. Perhaps you have spoiled yourself and booked into the Boot for your overnight accommodation.

Part of 9 reasons to visit the Tasman Village, Nelson, activities: Best Bits and stay a few nights in Tasman with choices ranging from The Boot B&B at Jester House fairy tale accommodation to The Old Schoolhouse at Kina Beach Vineyard is all about opulence while Aroha Cottage is home comforts.

The Woolshed Caravans – TAKAKA, NELSON, SOUTH ISLAND

Have a retro vintage caravan on your bucket list with the option of lazy summer days. Takaka delivers the Woolshed Caravans. The restful rural property is home to birds, including the inquisitive weka and pukeko who think nothing of strolling around your belongings. The facilities are sheltering under an attached canopy with a kitchen and bathroom creating a private central area.

@The Woolshed Caravans
@The Woolshed Caravans
Pupu hydro walkway canal, Takaka, New Zealand
Pupu hydro walkway canal


  • Anatoki salmon and fishing cafe, catch and savour your freshly cooked fish
  • Pupu hydro walking trail, heritage water race
  • Te Waikoropupu (Pupu) Springs, largest NZ fresh water springs
  • Rawhiti Caves (experienced walkers)
  • GOLDEN BAY WHANGANUI INLET DRIVE tidal inlet with shallow blue waters
  • Paynes Ford Tramline Track
  • The Grove Scenic Walk

Remember to check out the Nelson Travel Guide for inspiration.


SiloStay, Little river, South Island

Contemplation, a place where relaxation is part of the framework of the SILO. Little River, Christchurch to Akaroa route is a must-go destination for a crafty shop where the locals are in charge.


Little river craft information resource


Little River Craft Station is a co-operative of approximately 20 craftspeople from Little River and its surrounds who sell their work to the public. Most members work in the shop on a regular basis and a percentage of all sales is collected and donated to local community projects. Housed in the historic Little River Railway Station, a diverse range of crafted products are offered for sale including knitwear, pottery, preserves, woodwork, je-wellery, gemstones, flowers, leatherwork, quilts, fabric crafts, and much more.


Even passing through to Akaroa LITTLE RIVER CRAFT INFORMATION STATION is a must-do destination. Fascinating mix of potted plants for the locals, groceries, beautifully knitted garments, preserves for your Akaroa crusty bread, gift items and books. It is one of those shops where there is virtually something for everyone.


In Christchurch for a few days? Then check out Wellington off or fascinating things to do and don’t forget your handy mobile friendly Wellington travel guide for more holiday information.



The Giant’s House a two for one deal with quirky installations. The Giant’s House with its café, a contemporary art gallery and a terraced garden filled with sculptures and mosaics. The Giant’s House, Akaroa – SCULPTURE, MOSAIC, GARDEN AND GALLERY is a commercial visitor experience created by a local artist who has built a garden of international significance.  Families have imaginative outdoor sculptures and hidden corners to peek around.  Check Giant’s House for up to date details.

Creative Josie Martin is personality plus and it is very likely she will be hostess with the most-ness for the evening in the giant’s house.


Beautiful view of Lyttelton Port and Harbour, New Zealand
Lyttelton Port and Harbour

Addington prison, Christchurch, South Island

BUDGET ACCOMMODATION doesn’t get better than this atmospheric hostel. The prison is now Jailhouse Accommodation. The gothic revival architecture (1864) is evotive of another era. Stay the night in a cell (including the original solitary confinement room). There are lots of slightly shabby iron bars and gates adding to the sense of lockup.

A great place for family and friends to stay check out Christchurch short break getaway, staycation for family & friends – Best Bits for ideas and action.

Bazils hostel & surf school, Westport, West coast, South Island

It honestly doesn’t come much better than this for getting yourself organised on a budget. Bazil’s Hostel and surf school is your gateway to surfing, paddle boarding, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and caving adventures. Located in the centre of Westport just behind the i-SITE and bus stop.


Denniston Plateau is on your bucket list, then this is a great place to easily access the Plateau. And don’t forget to check out the Westport Coal Museum, an absolute must for visitors

Bazils is part of the portfolio of interesting places on the NZ West Coast, South Island where to stay and best accommodation locations.


Hapuku Lodge, The Treehouse, Kaikoura, South Island

Fascinating doesn’t mean giving up on home comforts. Beautifully appointed rooms are nestled in the canopy of a mature Kanua Grove of native trees. Set 10 metres above the grounds surrounded by native bush, the treehouses feature a fireplace, mini bar and jacuzzi. I suspect some guests never venture from their bird’s eye canopy once ensconced . Although the dining room at the Hapuku Lodge just might tempt you down to sample outstanding locally sourced cuisine. Sea to farm to plate delights.

Larnach Castle, Dunedin, South Island

Another glamorous stay option in Dunedin is an authentic castle. Choose to stay in the artly refurbished stables (complete with steely eyed stuffed horse watching proceeding) or splash out and stay in todge. Breakfast is in the Stables. Guests are invited to tour the castle after checking out of their accommodation.

Larnach Castle in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
Larnach Castle

Consider checking in for an evening carte blanche dinner beforehand.

Baldwin Street in the Dunedin, Otago of New Zealand
Baldwin Street in the Dunedin


  • Architecture in all its stately glory, solid stone buildings reflecting the glory days of Dunedin’s gold mining heritage.
  • Wildlife, especially viewing royal albatross & blue penguin
  • Heritage museums & buildings including Olveston House
  • Quirky museums only found in Dunedin and nowhere else
  • Vibrant contemporary art culture expressed on its city streets and galleries
  • Railway enthusiasts heritage day trips
  • City of hills and valleys, Signal Hill viewpoint
  • Extraordinary beaches with tunnels and boulders worthy of any fantasy.

For more information check out Dunedin Travel Guide.

The Stone Temple

The Stone Temple gothic meets contemporary. This 140 year old gothic church has been transformed into a chic retreat in the historic gold rush town of Cromwell. With gorgeous interiors, a fully equipped kitchen and a contemporary fireplace for winter climes, this is a dazzlingly designed renovation. Close to beautiful Lake Dunston and local activities: cycling trails, wine tasting, and jet boating. Witness the beauty and book at

@The Stone Temple
@The Stone Temple

Catlins Mohua park, Otago, South Island

A relaxing stay in your own eco-cottage on a beautiful, private forest reserve. Pre-order dinner and breakfast and the hard work is done. There are over 4 lms of walking tracks to explore and Moss Garden sculptures to wonder about. As your hosts Tracy and Mike explain, the adventure starts with the well formed gravel road to the private property.


Recommended is a Catlins Coast ATV tour.


  • Wild natural coastal scenery
  • Wildlife from magnificent sea lions to Hector’s dolphins
  • Birds from fantails to yellow eyed penguins
  • Walks through the history of the region
  • Natural spaces where slowing down is a given
  • Lighthouses and waterfalls to tempt dedicated fans
Sea lions bathing on the beach at Waipapa point, Catlins, New Zealand
Sea lions at Waipapa point, Catlins
Lighthouse on Nugget Point. It is located in the Catlins area on the Southern Coast of New Zealand, Otago region. The Lighthouse is surrounded by small rock islands, nuggets
Lighthouse on Nugget Point, the Catlins

Best time to visit

Year round, rug up with waterproof layers. Always carry a raincoat even in the height of summer. The peak season is summer, December through to early March.

For more details check out The Catlins travel guide, things to do & see, activities: Best Bits.

For waterfall buffs and lovers this is a must-go Aotearoa New Zealand destination, waterfalls galore. Ten waterfalls described 10 waterfalls & caves of The Catlins, what to see, guide: Best Bits.

Naumi hotels, Queenstown, South Island

Quirky design, floral wallpaper with vibrant brightly coloured furniture and riotous art combine to make this a hotel with a difference. Cool affordable fun is part and parcel of the NAUMI experience. Check out the views of the Remarkable Mountain range while snipping on the complimentary drinks between 5.00 – 6.00 pm.

View of Queenstown and lake Wakatipu in the early morning, New Zealand
Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown


A year round holiday location where glorious scenery and outdoors adventures go hand in hand. Queenstown is a resort town framed by alpine peaks with a beautiful lake at the edge. The town is fun, adrenaline laced attractions, leisurely fine dining and indulgent spa treatments and a place where kids have plenty to do and see. From mellow, chilled out holidays to adventures packed with skydiving, canyon swinging, bungee jumping and heli-skiing Queenstown is New Zealand’s premier tourist destination.

For more detail check out Things To Do & See in Queenstown – Best Bits.

And remember to check out more stay ideas in STAY as well as the relevant travel guides for each destination.

Getting there


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.


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