South Street, Nelson

If you like cute cottages take a wander down historic South Street near Nelson’s town centre. South Street was originally known as Town Acre 456 and the first little cottages were built in the 1860’s.

Harriett's Cottage, No. 13 South Street in Nelson (built in 1863)

Harriett’s Cottage, No. 13 South Street in Nelson (built in 1863)

Over time some of the cottages became run down and in 1981 a few could have been demolished to make way for a motel. However South Street residents campaigned to keep the street intact and today it is recognised and protected as a Heritage Precinct.

No. 14 South Street in Nelson

No. 14 South Street in Nelson

To help enhance … Read the rest

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco is at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation spectrum, but it’s a charming red brick complex built in the style of English terrace houses. The Grand Mercure isn’t in Nelson, but in the suburb of Monaco, it’s five minutes drive from the airport and about 15 minutes drive to Nelson city centre.

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco

The Grand Mercure has a mix of hotel rooms, one bedroom studios and one and two bedroom cottages.

We’re members of the Accor Plus programme and last year I wrote about some of the advantages to Read the rest

Art Deco Masonic Hotel in Napier

There’s a rave review ahead for Art Deco Masonic Hotel in Napier. We remember when the hotel had a Breakers Cafe on the ground floor, what a transformation! In 2012 the hotel was renovated significantly and many of its Art Deco features were restored. The work of the owners’ was recognised recently when they picked up two awards at Hospitality NZ Awards for Excellence – Best Accommodation, and the top award – Supreme Award Winner.

From Breakers to Emporium Eatery & Bar

From Breakers to Emporium Eatery & Bar

We checked in to a Superior Queen Room to find we had French doors opening to the balcony … Read the rest

Waitomo Big Bird B&B

Before getting to Waitomo Big Bird B&B I’m going to put some context around our B&B (bed and breakfast) experiences to date. Our first B&B stay was in Northland six years ago, we were so impressed with the quality of the property that we decided to stay in B&Bs more often. All B&Bs are not created equal though which is part of their appeal, and on occasion, our disappointment. Sea Breeze B&B in Napier stands out as our favourite and it’s the most immaculate B&B we’ve stayed in, our least favourite cost $255 a night and we didn’t think it … Read the rest

Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay, Inglewood

We arrived at Stoney Oaks Wildlife Park & Farmstay after a long drive down the Forgotten World Highway. We were ready to lay our heads almost anywhere but as it turned out hitting the hay in The Barn at Stoney Oaks was an excellent choice – rave review ahead.

Love at first sight - Kunekune piglet

Love at first sight – Kunekune piglet

The Barn’s interior is built of macrocarpa and corrugated iron and has heaps of interesting features. Deer antler has been turned into light fittings, door handles and towel rails. Some of the fixtures are ingenius in their simplicity – two hunks of wood … Read the rest

House truck stay in Waitomo

I’m a fan of house trucks and after a night at Wacky Stays in Kaikoura I came home and Googled house truck stays in the North Island and found Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens. In late March we booked a night in their big house truck with its rusting Thames Trader cab and higgeldy-piggeldy designed living space on the back.

House truck at Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens

House truck at Waitomo Farmstay and Gardens

The interior of the house truck is full of honey coloured wood and there’s a good sized kitchen and a couple of couches to sit on. As the truck is now in its … Read the rest

Hauraki Blue Cruises – floating accommodation in Auckland

Update: In July 2017 Hauraki Blue Cruises ceased operating.

On Auckland Anniversary Day we cruised away from the crowds in Viaduct Harbour onboard Ipipiri, a four level catamaran equipped with 30 cabins, all with king size sea views. It was to be our second overnight cruise on the catamaran, our first was in the Bay of Islands in 2011. The vessel relocated to Auckland in 2014 and still looks brand new, but a few decor changes in the cabins and dining area have smartened it up even more. Ipipiri now travels under Hauraki Blue Cruises and you can sail away … Read the rest

Suite As – Rutland Arms Inn, Whanganui

I picked up a ‘Made in Wanganui’ flyer from the Rutland Arms Inn and read that helmets used by the New York Fire Department are made in Whanganui, as well as leather seats for Air New Zealand and Jetstar planes. If your cat eats Whiskas chances are it comes from the Mars petfood factory in Whanganui too.

I stayed at Rutland Arms for the night, although it’s at the less unusual end of the unusual accommodation continuum it’s definitely a good option if you’re in the city on business.

Taylor Suite at Rutland Arms Inn

Taylor Suite at Rutland Arms Inn

I stayed in the spacious … Read the rest

Home Sweet House Truck at Wacky Stays

Wacky is the right word to describe the collection of unusual accommodation and the farm park that make up Wacky Stays in Kaikoura. We spent the night in the 1951 Bedford house truck, there’s also a yurt, colonial wagon, teepee and farm cottage. I’ve always wanted to stay in a house truck (and truth be told drive off into the sunset in one) so it was a bucket list ticking night for me.

1951 Bedford House Truck at Wacky Stays

1951 Bedford House Truck at Wacky Stays

The house truck was built in Nelson by a couple who eventually lived in it full time before it was … Read the rest

Museum Art Hotel, Wellington

* Museum Art Hotel is now QT Museum Wellington *

I’ve read that interior designer Michael Nolder was tasked with creating ‘New Zealand’s best bar and something completely over the top’ when redesigning Hippopotamus Bar at Museum Art Hotel in Wellington. In my opinion he nailed it, here it is in all its elegant glory ……..

Hippopotamus Bar, Museum Art Hotel

Hippopotamus Bar, Museum Art Hotel

The rooms at the hotel are currently undergoing a ‘Coco Chanel inspired’ renovation. The Classic Rooms we’ve stayed in were definitely missing the quirky and creative touches apparent throughout the public areas of the hotel. There was nothing at … Read the rest