Sweet Stays & Eclectic Accommodation in the Waitaki

Reasons never cease for visiting Waitaki, the sweet spot of New Zealand. From its charming Victorian heritage to the sheer scenic beauty of the Waitaki Whitestone Aspiring Global Geopark, the District is a feast for the eyes. The beautiful hotels, lodges, and bed and breakfasts on offer are the cherry on top. Time away in the Waitaki will subvert your preconceived notions about small town accommodation. Within Ōamaru alone, every lodging is an oasis. Whether it’s a weekend rendezvous, mid-week break or a cheeky staycation you’ll be able to step back into the past while getting your fix of the luxuries today.

The historic homestead Pen-y-bryn is punctuated with antiques and curious finds. Designed in 1889 by renowned Ōamaru architects Forrester and Lemon, the old elegance has been infused with plush, modern comforts. And you won’t have to go far for a sweet dining experience—many an ingredient is grown right in the boutique lodge’s gardens. Pen-y-bryn is in the perfect position sitting quietly atop Holmes Hill, so you can revel in the privacy and the fact it’s only a short trip down to the Ōamaru Blue Penguin Colony, where you can watch the cutest residents come ashore every evening.

If you’ve ever wanted to spend the night in another era, The Criterion Hotel will give you a good hint at what the 1900s were like. With modern comforts! The iconic hotel is the gateway to Ōamaru’s Victorian precinct, New Zealand’s best preserved Victorian streetscape, which boasts art galleries, quirky shops, and a thriving café scene. Built in 1877, by Forrester and Lemon, the Criterion Hotel has its fair share of stories—from the spooky to the sweet. Go no further to experience the good old days.

Travellers with a sweet tooth will take joy in spending the night in The Old Confectionery. Formally Rice’s Confectionery, the boutique accommodation opened in July 2020, and offers two striking bedroom apartments. Situated in the heart of the seaside town, within walking distance to the waterfront and historic precinct, it’s the best place to base yourself if you’re a cyclist finishing your Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail adventures.

Brimming with historical treasures and trinkets, Poshtel has 15 sweet rooms all with different themes. From fly fishing to Antarctic exploration and farming, the eclectic rooms embrace each theme right down to the lamps and toilet roll holders. It’s an ideal getaway for history buffs and those last out the door of any museum. Poshtel is also home to the Reef Gallery, which specialises in New Zealand and Pacific art.

Built in 1861, originally as a home of residence, Casa Nova House features on the earliest plans before the town of Ōamaru was actually chartered. Now a boutique bed and breakfast with category 1 status from Heritage New Zealand, Casa Nova House is a dreamy destination unto itself. Whimsically decorated with furniture you can sink into, this b&b is where you’ll want to go for a little r&r. Tucked away in Ōamaru’s North End, the three unique rooms look over the gardens and provide sweet views of Ōamaru’s seasonal beauty.

Outside of Ōamaru, perched high in the branches overlooking the dramatic Hakataramea Valley, lies Nest Tree Houses. This luxury treehouse experience is a recent addition to the district. Here, it’s easy to calm your body and your mind. Surrounded by nature you might feel like the only people on the planet! You can take in the sweet country air while roaming the farm or sit back and relax in the cedar sauna and private bathtub.

Get away from it all at the The Lindis, a luxurious high country lodge in the rugged Ahuriri Valley. Spend a night in a sweet suite or a pristine pod nestled into the landscape. It’s hard to not relax here with the sweeping views of the valley on full display. On hand are outdoor adventures with guides for 4WD, horse trekking, or fly fishing.

No matter where you rest your head in this old-world atmosphere, your time in the Waitaki District will be the sweetest vacation you’ve ever had.

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