Best hotels and hostels in South Island

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Oamaru

    Pen-y-bryn Lodge

    Well-travelled foodie owners have thoroughly revitalised this beautiful 1889 residence and continue to upgrade. There are two rooms in the main house but the three recently and luxuriously refurbished ones in the rear annexe are nicer. Complimentary predinner drinks and canapés are served in the antique-studded drawing room; arrange a four-course dinner in the fabulous dining room (from $135 per person).

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Kumara

    Theatre Royal Hotel

    Themed around colourful figures from Kumara's past, rooms at this beautifully restored 1876 pub are reason enough to stay in town. We especially loved the feminine flourishes of Barbara Weldon's room, honouring a former lady of the night. Motel-style miners' cottages (sleeping up to four) are new but have vintage finishes such as clawfoot tubs.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Owaka & Around

    Mohua Park

    Situated on the edge of a peaceful 14-hectare nature reserve (7km off the highway), these four spacious self-contained cottages offer peace, quiet and privacy with stunning views. Instead of TV, you'll watch birds flitting through the forest on your doorstep and sigh at views of rolling hills.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Clyde

    Oliver's

    Oliver's fills an 1860s merchant's house and stone stables with luxurious rooms decked out with old maps, heritage furniture and claw-foot baths. Most of the rooms open onto a secluded garden courtyard. The attached restaurant, housed in a gold-rush-era general store, incorporates a bar, cafe-deli and bistro showcasing the best local produce with dishes like braised hare leg and apricot-frangipani pie.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Oamaru

    Poshtel

    Anyone for polo? Crammed with sporty vintage collectables in themed rooms (like the Steeplechase room or the Antarctic Explorer Suite), this plush new hotel is the perfect balance of quirk and luxury. Thick whitestone walls, deep carpets and comfy beds keep you snug and the odd steampunk firearm keeps you interested. Great location on the main street.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Geraldine

    Vicarage

    Housed in a restored Anglican vicarage, this charming boutique hotel is a very relaxing place to stay. Named after former vicars of Geraldine, the seven rooms and suites are stylish and modern, with heritage design features blending with contemporary decor. In-room facilities include Nespresso coffee machines, and it's just metres to good eating at the associated Barker's Foodstore & Eatery.

  • Lodging in Hokitika

    Teichelmann’s B&B

    Once home to surgeon, mountaineer and professional beard-cultivator Ebenezer Teichelmann, this B&B holds on to its venerable history but adds first-rate hospitality and complimentary port. Its six rooms each have an airy, restorative ambience, replete with great beds, quality cotton sheets and private bathrooms; the best enjoy fern-filled garden views. For added privacy, request self-contained Teichy’s Garden Cottage.

  • Lodging in Te Anau

    Radfords on the Lake

    Radfords isn't your bog-standard motel, as you've probably guessed by the grand-sounding name and commensurate prices. Set on manicured lawns across from the lake, this angular complex offers 14 pearly white units over two levels, all angled towards the view. They all have kitchens and five have spa baths.

  • Lodging in Westport & Around

    Archer House

    This beautiful house, built in 1890 and formerly the home of a goldfields trader, has original features galore. There are three individually decorated rooms with private bathrooms, and three tastefully attired lounges in which to swirl a glass of complimentary wine while admiring the stained glass, tiled fireplaces and flourishing garden. A generous continental breakfast rounds out the experience.

  • Lodging in Te Anau

    Getaway Te Anau

    Accommodation at this holiday park covers all budgets: motel units have slate-grey decor and compact kitchens, while private tent sites and cabins share modern kitchen facilities and bathrooms. A playground, bike hire, a games room and a sauna provide distractions for kids and parents alike, but the best feature is the private lake-facing hot tubs, perfect for soaking away your hiking pains.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Twizel

    Lakestone Lodge

    Daytime views from Lakestone Lodge's spectacular hilltop location include Lake Pukaki and alpine peaks, and there's a guests-only opportunity to survey the region's night sky after dark. Rooms are modern and exceedingly comfortable, and the lodge is well situated for day adventures on the nearby Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. Breakfast is provided and dinners are also available ($90 per person).

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Dunedin

    Terminus Hotel

    This late-Victorian building always had great bones, with its high ceilings and arched windows, but owners Steve and Antonia have worked makeover magic turning the once dilapidated hotel into chic apartments. Some have balconies and loft spaces; all have beautiful exposed red-brick walls, a modern kitchen, a laundry and everything else you need for a comfy stay – even a popcorn machine.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Glenorchy

    Camp Glenorchy

    As much a statement about sustainability as it is a fabulous place to stay, this main street 'eco retreat' offers luxurious designer-rustic cottages showcasing recycled materials, odourless composting toilets, and digital controls that allow you to adjust the ambient temperature and see how much electricity you're drawing from or adding to the grid. There's a big communal kitchen, too.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Te Anau

    Te Anau Lodge

    In a sea of functional but fusty motels, Te Anau's former Sisters of Mercy Convent distinguishes itself with unique history. The place oozes comfort and historic character from the elaborate confession box in reception to the complimentary fireside wine and ample continental breakfast. For a real treat, book into the heritage train carriage in the garden, complete with claw-foot bath.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Banks Peninsula

    Onuku Farm Hostel

    Set on a working farm 6km south of Akaroa, this blissfully isolated backpackers has a grassy camping area, simple, tidy rooms in a farmhouse and 'stargazer' cabins with translucent roofing ($50 for two, BYO bedding). Tonga Hut affords more privacy and breathtaking sea views ($80). Ask about the swimming-with-dolphins tours (from $130), kayaking trips (from $40) and the Skytrack walk.

  • Lodging in Kaikoura

    Lemon Tree Lodge

    Enjoying superb ocean and mountain views, Lemon Tree Lodge combines four charming and stylish rooms in the main house with two quiet and secluded garden units. Our favourites are the Ocean View Suites with expansive windows and private balconies showcasing brilliant Pacific vistas. The well-travelled and friendly owners have plenty of great advice on how best to enjoy the region.

  • Lodging in Queen Charlotte Track

    Mahana Lodge

    This beautiful property features a pretty waterside lawn and purpose-built lodge with four en-suite doubles and a separate studio. Ecofriendly initiatives include bush regeneration, pest trapping and an organic vegetable garden. In fact, feel-good factors abound: free kayaks, home baking and a blooming conservatory where prearranged evening meals are served (three courses $75).

  • Lodging in Reefton

    Reef Cottage B&B

    Enjoy total immersion into old-world Reefton at this converted 1887 solicitor's office. Compact rooms are furnished in period style, with modern touches like swish bathrooms and a well-equipped guest kitchen. In our favourite room, a vault has been converted into the bathroom. There's extra elbow room in the communal lounge and garden, too. Breakfast is in its cafe, next door.

  • Top ChoiceLodging in Arrowtown

    Millbrook Resort

    Further from Arrowtown in aesthetics than kilometres, this massive manicured resort is a town unto itself. Rooms range from studios to luxury homes overlooking the fairways of the resort's golf course, which has been rated among the top 10 courses in NZ. At the end of the day, take your pick from five restaurants, or relax at the spa.

  • Lodging in Arrowtown

    Arrow Private Hotel

    Five understated but luxurious suites feature at this modern property on Arrowtown's outskirts. Accommodation is chic and contemporary with huge picture windows showcasing the surrounding countryside. The suites are framed around an old stone cottage that has an open fire, armchairs and a selection of spirits and local wines. The Queenstown Trail goes right by the door.