GuideBest South Island Accommodation

Known for its stunning vistas and native bush, the South Island of Aotearoa has a lot to offer when it comes to a relaxing escape and features some of the best hotels and boutique accommodation options in the country.

The exterior of Hidden Valley Lodge.

The places worth staying in the South Island

Whether you’re looking for a cosy hidden cabin or want to splurge on a luxury villa complete with a private chef, you’ll be spoilt for choice with options to suit any budget and taste. Gaze at the stars in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere’s only Dark Sky Reserve, wake up with a yoga class looking out over Lake Wakatipu, or feed the tame donkeys from the doorstep of your yurt in the stunning Okuti Valley. It’s all here, ready to make your next journey south an unforgettable experience.

Where to stay in the South Island

Hidden Valley Lodge, West Coast

2261 Lake Brunner Road, Inchbonnie 7875

Leave your phone at home and settle into this quaint historic church, beautifully renovated and situated among native bush. Fully furnished for comfort, say goodbye to wifi and soak up all that the South Island’s stunning West Coast has to offer. Take the kayaks for a paddle on nearby Lake Poerua, explore countless bush walks and investigate the local glow worm caverns, the perfect cosy lodge to help you reset.

Women drinking tea inside Hidden Valley Lodge.

Cow Shed 488, Totara Flat, West Coast

4504A New Zealand State Highway 7, Totara Flat 7871

The light-filled Cowshed 488 is a beautifully executed boutique stay at a West Coast dairy farm, providing luxury quarters for up to six guests. Switch off and enjoy the peace and quiet, located directly across from the stunning Paparoa mountains just a short drive from Greymouth. Surrounded by a variety of wildlife (and plenty of cows!), the tranquil environment lends itself to a carefree and restful stay on the beautiful West Coast.

Inside Cow Shed 488.

Maruia River Retreat

2314 Shenandoah Highway, SH65, Murchison

A tranquil escape nestled between Nelson and Christchurch, Maruia River Retreat features seven villas on a 500 acre estate, each fully self-contained and completely private. This is the place to nurture your body and mind, completely immersed in some of Aotearoa’s best native bush. Spend your days exploring the long-established gardens, walking trails and pristine beech forest before returning to your private balcony that looks out over the valley. If you don’t fancy the drive, there are options for chartered flights thanks to the private airstrip and hanger on site. This is truly the lap of luxury.

Maruia River Retreat accommodation hidden in the bushes.

High Country Cabin, Pukaki Ward

Ben Ohau, Pukaki Ward

A truly unique accommodation experience in the heart of the Southern Alps, this delightfully cosy cabin is situated on ten acres of raw high country landscape. The perfect balance between luxury and active retreat, the area provides direct access to numerous outdoor activities including mountain biking, hiking and snow sports. Located just 15 minutes from Twizel, you’ll forget all about the world at large as you take in the stunning vista on the doorstep. How you spend your time here is completely up to you.

The exterior of the High Country Cabin.

Skyscape, Tekapo

47 Ben Ohau Road, Ben Ohau 7999

If you’re after something a little different for your next trip away, Skyscape offers an incredible luxury experience built around stargazing—from your bed. Nestled slightly below ground level amongst native scrub and completely private, the glass roof enables you to lie back and see the night sky like never before in true comfort. Part of the Aoraki International Dark Sky Reserve, this area of sky is protected from light pollution by local bylaws, which means the stars you see here are some of the clearest in the world. And if that wasn’t enough, you can enjoy a natural spring water outdoor bath in the sunken courtyard, now that’s luxury.

Skyescape under the stars.

Sherwood, Queenstown

554 Frankton Road, Queenstown 9348

The ultimate in sustainable luxury accommodation, Sherwood is the perfect destination for your next Queenstown getaway. Every aspect of the guest experience has been carefully considered, from the monogrammed NZ wool blankets to the carbon negative cork wall linings. Local artwork adorns the walls and a boutique selection of natural bathroom products keeps you feeling fresh during your stay, not to mention a fully custom mini bar stocked with high end local produce and snacks. Start your day with a yoga class, dine at the world class restaurant and take in the serene view of the surrounding mountains and Lake Wakatipu. Within walking distance to town via the stunning lakefront Queenstown Trail, everything the adventure capital has to offer is on your doorstep.

The exterior of the Sherwood Hotel in Queenstown.

Fossickers Hut, Marlborough

488 Wakamarina Road, Wakamarina 7178

Situated near the historic gold mining settlement of Canvastown, Fossickers Hut was designed to reflect the pioneer style of the area. You’ll be tucked away in native bush with delightful birdsong and glow worms for company. An outdoor, fire heated bath is the perfect spot to gaze up at the night sky, and you can also  try your luck gold panning in the Wakamarina River, you never know what you might dig up!

An outdoor bath.

Okuti Gardens, Little River

216 Okuti Valley Road, Okuti Valley 7591

Self catered accommodation never looked so good, and Okuti Garden has turned camping into an eco-friendly activity of true relaxation. Stay in a yurt, farmhouse or even a house truck, all at an affordable price that doesn’t sacrifice on comfort. There are plenty of family games and activities on offer to keep everyone entertained, and it’s an easy drive from the city for a break from the daily grind.

Looking inside a yurt living area.

Budget go a bit further? Try these accommodation experiences

If your budget extends a bit further, we recommend trying out some of these high end accommodation experiences:

Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses, Kaikoura

Aro Ha, Queenstown

Annandale, Pigeon Bay Canterbury

Pure Pods, Banks Peninsula

Otahuna Lodge, Christchurch

Blanket Bay, Glenorchy

Split Apple Lodge, Kaiteriteri

Eichardts, Queenstown

Hulbert House, Queenstown

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