New Zealand’s South Island has some of the world’s most spectacularly diverse scenery. There are jagged, misty peaks and mysterious glaciers and fjords, snow dusted mountains with peaceful lakes, forests and rainforest and near perfect beaches. This is a fantastic backdrop for everything on the adventure sports scale and home to some of New Zealand’s rarest animals. The best places to stay on the South Island range from boutique country house hotels in the wine regions to city hotels and remote eco-lodges. And you’ll find our Guru’s recommendations for the best places to stay on the South Island in all the major cities and travel destinations.
Or see our South Island Collections:
Picton is thought of by many as the gateway to the South Island, but it’s also the best place to land if you want to explore the Marlborough Sounds or walk the Queen Charlotte Track. In summer the ferries are very busy and this is a charming little centre, with plenty to do.
Lively little Nelson is also at the top of the South Island, overlooking Tasman Bay, and right on the edge of the pristine wilderness of the Abel Tasman National Park.
Christchurch is the South island’s largest city, often called ‘the Garden City’, but also familiar to many because of its recent earthquakes.
Queenstown is probably a larger destination when it comes to visitors, this is New Zealand’s extreme sports capital, known for the adventures offered right on its doorstep, on the stunning surrounds of Lake Wakatipu and the peaks of The Remarkables. These make the perfect backdrops to try your hand at bungy jumping, skydiving, jet-boating, skiing or playing golf - at one of the five international standard golf courses.
If you’re travelling to the South Island for the Abel Tasman National Park, the Nelson Lakes National Park, the Kahurangi National Park, or the Tasman Mountains, the Victoria Ranges or Mount Franklin then you’ll be travelling through the Tasman district, which also borders the Marlborough wine region and the city of Nelson.
Otago is where you’ll find Dunedin and the strange landscape of the old gold rush belt, but it’s also got the Otago Peninsula - known for its varied wildlife, several great wine regions and it’s well known for its cycling trails.
Fiordland is where you’ll find Milford and Doubtful Sounds - vast, still fjords surrounded by steep cliffs, and the Milford Track, one of the world’s most scenic walking trails. Outside the deep, dark fjords lies the Tasman Sea, so everywhere you look around here you’re in for breathtaking scenes.
Range of accommodation at the north end of Lake Wakatipu, from shared dorms to delightful double ensuites. Communal kitchen, restaurant, outdoor hot tub and stunning lake and mountain views. Fabulous watersports and a great base for Routeburn, Greenstone, Caples and Rees and Dart walking tracks.
A range of rooms, suites and apartments to suit varying budgets in the centre of Queenstown. Clean, modern, friendly and functional, with free breakfast. A superb base for a winter stay with a choice of ski areas, not forgetting the winter festival, pure mountain mayhem! Ideal for larger groups.
Luxury hotel in central Blenheim with bright, contemporary and chic rooms all featuring separate kitchenettes. Larger suites have full kitchen and laundry facilities. Glorious outdoor swimming pool with fun bar, restaurant and views over Seymour Square gardens.
Boutique B&B in Blenheim town, the heart of Marlborough wine region. Two suites set around award-winning garden with comfy beds, fun décor and laundry facilities. Free transfers to airport, bus and train stations. Delicious local and organic breakfast included.
Run by Glendeer Fly Fishing Guides, this lodge has three ensuite rooms with underfloor heating, unlimited wifi and continental breakfast included in the stay. Use of fully equipped kitchen. Centrally located close to over 30 rivers and streams, making it ideal for the avid angler.
A charming and colourful family run boutique B&B run with two ensuite rooms. A lovely outdoor patio in the rose garden, generous breakfasts and nice touches like chocolates in rooms. Ten minute drive to Christchurch city centre.
Range of accommodation options to suit varying budgets. Rooms modern, bright and some have private balconies. Great views to Kenepuru Sound. With an outdoor swimming pool, spa, gardens and restaurant specialising in seafood. Family friendly.
19th century mansion turned B&B in the centre of Nelson. Rooms are individually decorated in traditional style. Large tree-filled garden with outdoor seating areas. Within walking distance of cathedral, restaurants and galleries. Close to Abel Tasman National Park for great walks and birdwatching.
1920s art deco style boutique hotel in Blenheim with 11 stylish and unique rooms, each with individual themes from classic to retro. Four poster beds, original art works and free wifi. Great restaurant and cocktail bar. An ideal base for exploring the Marlborough wineries.
Historic homestead built in 1886 now boutique accommodation in Picton. Large four poster beds, original NZ artworks and elegant furnishings. Formal gardens and Queen Elizabeth II National Trust protected native forest to the rear. Walking distance to restaurants and Queen Charlotte Track.
Luxury lodge on Kenepuru Sound in the Marlborough region. Rooms are chic, modern and comfortable with sea, garden and hill views. Waterfront restaurant, free fishing rods and kayaks for exploring the sounds. Close to golf course, Queen Charlotte Track and wineries. For a relaxing country escape.
Eco-lodge overlooking Hokitika River with four boutique, clean and spacious suites. Owner-managed and committed to sustainable practices including recycling and composting. Close to Hokitika town and the west coast’s only white heron breeding colony.
A range of rooms and studios available in a family owned and run establishment. B&B section in 1874 heritage grade-II listed Victorian mansion, Motel in newer building. Rooms are large, spacious and tasteful. Close to centre of Christchurch and sights such as Botanic Gardens.
Luxury apartments and B&B overlooking Lake Wakatipu to the distant Southern Alps. With stone clad fireplaces, local NZ art on wall, comfy double beds and private outdoor decks. An ideal base for exploring region, including skiing in Coronet Peak or The Remarkables (June to October) and hotsprings.
Friendly, comfortable, clean, spacious and charming boutique B&B in Marlborough wine country. Contained cottage also available with kitchen facilities. On seven acres with walnut grove, free range chickens and cattle. Fresh daily breakfast.
Two self-contained accommodation options, each with a kitchen, living area and two bedrooms. In the famous Marlborough wine region and close to Wairau River for great fishing and birdwatching. Friendly hosts, private, peaceful and good value.
Luxury eco-lodge in Abel Tasman National Park. Chic, contemporary interiors complement retro style furnishings. Rooms & suites all have sit out decking areas with great views over native bush, wetlands and an organic kitchen garden. Great framily friendly base for birdwatching and walking.
A range of self catering cottages and suites situated on the 500 acre Millbrook Resort with a 27 hole golf course. Decor is contemporary, modern and slick. Cottages come with private verandas and dining areas. Also has a spa, indoor swimming pool and choice of four restaurants.
Charming boutique B&B just outside Picton. Individually designed rooms feature luxury linens & handcrafted furniture. Lush half acre gardens. Ideal for a peaceful break, but equally a great base for enjoying all the activities on offer in the Marlborough Sounds.
Set amongst an orchard, olive groves and walnut trees, this lodge has three boutique rooms with comfy beds, an outdoor hot tub and views out to the property's winery - Pine Hill Serenity Vineyard. Close to Tasman Great Taste Trail. Great for a country escape.
Friendly boutique B&B on Lake Wanaka. One suite separate from main house, with dining room, living area and outdoor deck. Delicious breakfasts, comfy beds. Bicycles and fishing rods available for use, as well as parking space for a boat. Stunning mountain views, you won't want to leave.
Set in the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown, this boutique hotel offers five luxury suites designed to be in harmony with the alpine surroundings. With local NZ art, king-sized beds and panoramic views. Twenty minutes from Coronet ski field, with ski storage facilities. A peaceful place.
Christchurch Arts Centre
Boutique B&B in bright pink Italian style villa in Canterbury. Rooms with top amenities and nice views. Delicious Mediterranean style breakfast with fresh tropical fruits and local produce. Eco-friendly and close to sights such as Botanic Gardens.
Luxurious boutique hotel in Queenstown with under-floor heating, New Zealand made and designed furniture and glass walled bathroms. Great alpine views, close to town centre and committed to eco-friendly practices.
Boutique B&B overlooking Tasman Bay at top of South Island. Three modern, clean and comfy suites with terraces offering great sea and mountain views. With a spa pool and sauna. Great walks on next door Windhover Estate.
Two suites in a luxury lodge set in 20 acres of landscaped grounds with three lakes and a working alpaca farm. Rooms, large and light with modern amenities. Use of an indoor heated pool during winter, and close to wineries, skiing and whale spotting destination. Ideal for an action packed holiday.
Boutique B&B outside Nelson with two large, light and luxurious suites adorned with original art. Hot tub, private wine cellar, private verandas and large garden to relax in. Gourmet breakfast, cooking classes and wine tours available. Close to beaches and great walks in Abel Tasman National Park.
Luxury B&B in 1905 historic villa on Nelson's waterfront with glorious views over Tasman Bay. Two tasteful, elegant and spacious ensuite rooms with antiques and original artworks. Close to Abel Tasman National Park, wineries and within walking distance of restaurants. Great for a weekend break.
Luxury lodge with three tasteful and spacious suites just 15 minutes from Christchurch city centre. Set on 10 acres of vines, olive groves and orchards in a peaceful setting. Array of wild birds in garden and glorious outdoor seating area by pool.
Fully serviced modern suites and apartments in Queenstown with kitchen, laundry, dining and sitting areas. Features such as gas flame fires, outdoor patios, balconies and free unlimited wifi. Family friendly, and close to Frankton walk and cycle trail.
Luxury B&B and apartment accommodation close to Abel Tasman National Park. Chic interiors are a clever mix of contemporary and traditional. Plus a swimming pool and hot tub, use of kayaks and three acres of gardens leading down to waterfront. Good for families, groups and adventure-seekers.
Malborough Sounds, Marlborough
Accessible only by water taxi, helicopter or on foot, this lodge is the first night's stay along the Queen Charlotte Track. Light and airy rooms with private outdoor decks, showers and free standing baths. With an outdoor hot tub, native forest garden, restaurant and wifi. Luxury in the wilderness.
Charming boutique lodge consisting of two suites with high timber ceilings and quirky, contemporary local art. Friendly hosts offer tailored tours of the area. Within walking distance to restaurants and wineries. Garden with chickens, pigs and sheep. Great for a weekend break.
Fun & lively boutique hotel on Picton's waterfront. Romantic rooms decorated in a neutral palette with opulent accessories including chandeliers, wooden floors and free standing baths. Highly acclaimed on site restaurant for local seafood & more. Great base for exploring Marlborough region.
Boutique country house hotel with elegant suites. Spectacular landscaped gardens including two acres of peonies and a working apple and pear orchard. Outdoor swimming pool, grass tennis court and giant chess. Close to three national parks and Motueka rivers.
Luxury accommodation in Marlborough vines. Self catering cottages with kitchen, laundry, living area and outdoor patio with BBQ. Swimming pool and tennis court on site. Ideal for wine tours and trips to local beaches.
Small luxury boutique hotel in centre of Christchurch. Local art on walls, top amenities and great views from rooms out to Hagley Park or River Avon. Two award winning restaurants, access to a gym and free use of mountain bikes. City style done well.
This eco-lodge offers luxurious, comfortable and stylish rooms in Riwaka Valley on 50 acres of native bush. Some rooms have views over Kahurangi National Park. With a spa, outdoor swimming pool, gym and hot tub. Committed to sustainable practices including solar power and recycling.
Clean, comfortable and luxurious five star accommodation with wonderful unobstructed views over Lake Wakatipu. With a gym, sauna, laundry room and outdoor dining area. Ideal for a relaxing stay away from the bustle of the town.
Heritage hotel with fascinating religious history set in 60 acres of vines, park-like gardens and olive groves. Five suites with modern amenities, antique furnishings, rimu panelling and stained glass windows. Plus an outdoor pool and private chapel. Full of character and charm.
Tranquil and private luxury eco resort with spacious, elegant rooms & apartments. Outdoor decks & huge picture windows make the most of fantastic views over the bay. With a fine dining restaurant, private jetty, hot tub and outdoor swimming pool. Dolphin spotting and great walks nearby.
Luxury lodge with English country house feel in the heart of NZ's Marlborough wine region. Rooms with antique furnishings, bright wall paper, comfy double beds and seating areas. With a swimming pool, 5 acre garden with deliciously scented roses, tennis court and private wine cellar. Just charming.
Luxury accommodation on Lake Wanaka. Ensuite rooms with under-floor heating, walk-in double-headed showers and contemporary local art on walls. With a hot tub, day spa and ski storage. Yoga and cooking classes available. Ideal for an active holiday or country escape.
Luxury suites and villas set on Nelson's Bronte Peninsula with views across Waimea Estuary. Chic, modern and elegant rooms with private terraces and verandas. With a swimming pool, massage facilities and free use of bikes. Lovely rose gardens. Family owned for generations.
Queenstown (569 Glenorchy Road)
Luxury lodge with wow factor in stunning location just seven minutes drive from Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu. Range of villas and suites available, all with private balconies and decks with views to distant mountains. Heated outdoor infinity pool, gym and spa. Blissful country escape.
Ten luxurious modern suites with stone clad fireplaces, wooden shutters and fresh flowers in rooms. With a cocktail bar, restaurant, access to a gym and garden. In centre of Queenstown within walking distance of restaurants, cafes and sights.
Kaikoura (RD 1)
Contemporary country hotel in Kairkoura, one of NZ’s top whale watching areas. Tree house style rooms with handcrafted wooden beds and furniture, rainforest showers and great views. With a pool, sauna and library. A great base to explore the local wildlife, walks and Maori culture.
Ten rooms in lodge and two self-contained loft-style log cabins with views to Lake Te Anau. Rooms in muted natural colours and textures reflect the landscape, and have outdoor seating areas. Next to Fiordland National Park, with great walking trails and scenery.
Christchurch (Tai Tapu)
Luxury lodge with 118 year old stunning gardens nationally recognised for their beauty. Rooms are light and spacious, with open fireplaces and antique furniture. Cooking classes available with onsite chef. Perfect for a relaxing romantic getaway.
Spectacular views from this luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Chic designer decor bringing warmth and style with open fireplaces and comfy beds. Ski storage, a gym, bar and restaurant serving local seasonal cuisine. Ideal for browsing in the designer boutiques and taking in the city.
Open plan apartments with floor to ceiling windows, glass doors and open plan layout including dining and living areas. Stunning views across Lake Wakatipu to The Remarkables and Cecil and Walter Peaks, only five minutes to Queenstown. Perfect for a romantic getaway.
Set on a sheep, cattle and deer farm on the shore of Lake Wakatipu, this luxury lodge has open fireplaces, schist stone and timber beams. Rooms with antique furniture, large double beds and private balconies overlooking the bay. There is mountain biking and riding on the farm.