Unusual Accommodation – Te Nikau Retreat in Punakaiki

On the West Coast of the South Island you’ll find Te Nikau Retreat in Punakaiki. The Star Gazer is the retreat’s most unusual accommodation option – it’s a little wooden hut on a platform with a partial glass roof, for you guessed it – star gazing.

There’s no electricity but candles can light the hut when the stars can’t. A short walk along a bush pathway takes you to shared bathroom and kitchen facilities at one of the lodges. The Star Gazer has sitting and lying room only, pack a small bag for a summer stay, from $51 double.

Star Gazer, Te Nikau Retreat

Star Gazer, Te Nikau Retreat

Interior of Star Gazer

Interior of Star Gazer

As well as the Stargazer, Te Nikau Retreat has a series of lodges and small cabins sprinkled through the bush. There’s accommodation to suit those on a tight budget and beyond – tent sites from $18pp; Te Ruru Lodge en suite room from $86 double; Koru from $71 double (use lodge facilities); Kowhai Cottage is self contained and sold as one private unit; and Rata Lodge can accommodate up to 12, from $27 pp.

Rata Lodge

Rata Lodge

Inside Rata Lodge

Inside Rata Lodge

Punakaiki is short on options to buy food supplies but Te Ruru Lodge sell the ingredients you’ll need to prepare a meal if you arrive unprepared. Bread and muffins are also for sale each morning.

Food for sale

Food for sale

Buy a loaf of fresh bread

Buy a loaf of fresh bread

Kitchen at Te Ruru Lodge

Kitchen at Te Ruru Lodge

WWOOF volunteers are welcome at Te Nikau Retreat and some volunteers have made a creative contribution in the form of paintings and recycled mirrors. If you’re green fingered you might get to tend the kitchen/conservatory garden in  Weka Lodge. Usual duties are housekeeping and general property maintenance.

Te Ruru Lodge

Te Ruru Lodge

Double and single in Te Ruru Lodge

Double and single in Te Ruru Lodge

Bush pathway

Bush pathway

If you like unusual accommodation and you’re looking for a quiet bush hideaway I highly recommend you check out Te Nikau Retreat. The retreat is suited to independent travellers and small groups, YHA and BBH discounts apply. Trip Advisor reviews. (Thanks to Kate for the guided tour).

Further information
Punakaiki official tourism website
Mitchell’s Gully Goldmine and the road south to Punakaiki

3 thoughts on “Unusual Accommodation – Te Nikau Retreat in Punakaiki

    • Hi, Neat – I hope the stars are out for you too, Te Nikau is a lovely spot.

      I’ve just spent some time reading your blog and it brought back memories of our trip to Vietnam and Cambodia, we weren’t adventurous enough to go into the Cambodian jungle though – good for you. If we get back to Vietnam, I’m keen to go to the hospital cave in Cat Ba, it sounds so well planned, amazing.

      Happy travels around NZ and wherever your adventurous spirit takes you next.

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