The best eco hotels in New Zealand (North Island)

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New zealand is a country filled with scenic landscapes and national parks, along with an indigenous culture (Māori) with deep connections to nature

After spending a glorious 2 weeks exploring New Zealand on an eco-friendly trip, we came across a few green hotels that are taking steps to protect this country’s natural beauty and limit their carbon footprint.

Here is our curated list of the best eco hotels in New Zealand (North Island), a mix of luxury and affordable options. As usual, we only included the ones that could actually show their sustainable efforts clearly, and did not include those that we felt were greenwashing (for instance claiming to be sustainable but then offering plastic utensils or disposable toiletries). 

The best eco hotels in New Zealand: North Island

Nightsky Cottage, Ohakune

hotels in new zealand
Night Sky Cottage

Located in Ohakune in North Island, Nightsky Cottage is a luxurious, award-winning, 5* star eco retreat. 

Why stay at Nightsky Cottage?

This accommodation is albeit a bit pricey (over €400), but perhaps worth it for those willing to spend this much. It is the perfect place to reconnect with yourself and with nature, or just to have a relaxing day after exploring New Zealand. There’s a patio where you can sit and enjoy the sun and sound of birds around you.

The Nightsky Cottage is not a hotel with a bunch of rooms. There is only one cottage (they also call it a chalet), and it’s like a fancy little house, big enough for 2 couples or a family of 3 or 4. It has 2 bedrooms with king-sized beds, a living room, a fully-equipped kitchen, a dining and lounge area, a fireplace, and two bathtubs in the bathroom, which has a separate area for the toilet (I always appreciate when these are separated from the main bathroom).

How is Nightsky Cottage sustainable?

The cottage has won a couple of awards for their eco-friendly efforts, particularly the Qualmark Environmental Gold Award and Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience 2021 Awards. This is how they practise sustainability: 

  • Zero waste policy
  • Compost their waste
  • Wastewater is processed on site
  • Recycle everything and encourage guests to do so as well
  • No single use plastic
  • Cleaning supplies and bathroom products are made with only natural ingredients
  • Products used sourced locally where possible
  • 100% renewable energy
  • LED and low energy bulbs
  • Smoking is not allowed as the cottage is protected by the Environment court
  • They support and contribute to various communities 

Check out Nightsky Cottage rates here.

Hidden Lake Hotel, Cambridge

eco hotels in new zealand
Hidden Lake Hotel

These 4* apartment eco hotels are located close to the city centre of Cambridge, close to Matamata (where the Hobbiton movie set is) and Hamilton. 

By the way, these were two of my favourite activities in the area: a tour of the Hobbiton movie set and the Waitomo Glowworm caves.

Why stay at Hidden Lake Hotel?

The apartment hotels offer a restaurant, a bar, a fitness gym open 24 hours, a meeting room, laundry and dry cleaning facilities, a scenic lounge, and a small spa with views. You can choose between hotel rooms, or 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, all soundproofed. 

The hotel is minimalistic but elegant, and offers great views of the surrounding nature. The apartments are ideal for those that want access to a kitchen and a proper living area rather than a hotel room.

How is Hidden Lake Hotel sustainable?

  • Organic fruits and vegetables which are locally sourced
  • No single use plastic or paper use (everything is digital and electronic)
  • Organic garden on site
  • Recycling and composing processes in place
  • Bicycles are available for hire and can also be repaired and stored there
  • Water saving and energy efficiency processes

Check out Hidden Lake Hotel rates here.

Chalet Eiger

green hotels in new zealand
Chalet Eiger

A 5* accommodation by Lake Taupo, Chalet Eiger offers spacious, elegant suites with views of the lake or the surrounding gardens.

Why stay at Chalet Eiger?

Priding themselves on Manaakitanga, meaning hospitality, the hosts at Chalet Eiger put a lot of emphasis on the comfort of their guests. It’s a great option for a romantic getaway, which the hosts Peter and Nina are happy to accommodate with special activities. 

The dogs (Bella and Rufus) and Otto the cat are a fun little extra that brings joy to guests, but if you have allergies you just need to inform Peter and Nina, and they will keep them away.

How is Chalet Eiger sustainable?

Certified by Qualmark, an accreditation organisation that helps businesses become sustainable, Chalet Eiger focuses on reducing its impact in the following ways:

  • Vegetable and herb garden on site
  • Fresh ingredients locally sourced and free range eggs
  • Energy efficient (low energy lights, light sensors, insulation and double-glazed)
  • Recycling processes in place: cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminium
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Compost kitchen and garden waste
  • Support local charities
  • Reuse materials where possible (paper, plastic)
  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly products for cleaning and hygiene

Check out Chalet Eiger rates here.

Wanderlust NZ Hostel, Tauranga

hotels in new zealand
Wanderlust NZ Hostel

Located along the bay in Tauranga, a more affordable, eco-friendly option is Wanderlust NZ hostel, a 5* hostel on the waterfront, with options to share rooms or book a private one.

Why stay at Wanderlust NZ Hostel?

For travellers that enjoy meeting other fellow travellers, or want more of a community vibe on their New Zealand trip, Wanderlust NZ is the perfect place to stay. With options to share dorms like any backpacker hostel, or choose a private ensuite bedroom, there’s comfort and connections for everyone.

You can enjoy gorgeous views of the harbour from the sun deck (it has a hammock!), or hang out in the lounge, which also offers great views. There’s laundry and luggage storage facilities on site, but no parking (there’s a parking lot across the street but it’s closed overnight).

How is Wanderlust NZ Hostel sustainable?

Wanderlust NZ is certified by Qualmark, and this is how they care for people and the planet:

  • No single-use plastic: only recycled or reusable plastic
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products
  • Energy efficient: LED lights
  • Reduce paper waste, or use recycled paper
  • Personal products such as bathroom toiletries are eco-friendly
  • Recycling and reuse policies in place
  • Donate to Sea Shepherd NZ, a marine conservation non-profit
  • Volunteer to plant trees and clean up beaches

Check out Wanderlust Hostel rates here.

Mangarara Eco Lodge

eco hotels in new zealand
Mangarara Eco Lodge

A family-owned farm, Mangarara is a big land that includes lakes, hills, wetlands, and peat flats. Located in Ōtāne, it’s a great place to rejuvenate and connect with nature, far from city noise.

Why stay at Mangarara Eco Lodge?

If you like birds and animals, nature, and you’re travelling in a group, it’s the best accommodation option. The lodge is right in front of a bird sanctuary, and there are swans, sheep, cattle as well. There is also an education centre on the farm.

It’s ideal for families or friends groups, as the lodge is more like a house. There are 4 bedrooms, all leading to the deck and lake. There is a fully equipped kitchen, a fireplace in the living room area, and fresh produce and food right from the farm.

How is Mangarara Eco Lodge sustainable?

  • Produce locally grown
  • Natural building materials such as earth plaster and macrocarpa, grown on the farm
  • Repurpose of an old building to create the lodge
  • Solar panels for heating 
  • Double glazed windows to keep the heat in
  • Wool material for blankets locally sourced for neighbours’ farm
  • Support local businesses 

Wairakei Resort, Taupō

eco hotels in new zealand
Wairakei Resort

Ths 4* hotel in Taupō is close to Huka Falls, a major attraction in the area. If you’re planning to stay around Lake Taupō and explore the region, Wairakei Resort is a great option.

Why stay at Wairakei Resort?

There are two heated pools (from geothermal steam) at the resort, as well as tennis courts, a playground, a squash court, meeting rooms, a lounge, a spa, a gym, and a golf course. There are various rooms to choose from, including a family village. The decor is a bit dated, but the rooms are welcoming and clean. 

How is Wairakei Resort sustainable?

Wairakei Resort is a 4* resort certified by Qualmark, and holds a Gold accreditation, meaning that it’s one of the best sustainable businesses in New Zealand.

  • Water waste and sewage treatment plant, which they use to help other neighbouring businesses as well
  • Compost organic waste 
  • Orchards and herb gardens on site
  • Renewable energy and measure their energy consumption
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products
  • No single use plastic
  • Goods and services locally sourced
  • Contribute to the local economy and hire and train locals
  • Sponsor charitable organisations

Check out Wairakei Resort rates here

The Hotel Britomart

green hotels in new zealand
The Hotel Britomart

This 5* hotel is located right in the city centre of Auckland, making it a great option for those on business trips or staying in the city area.

Why stay at The Hotel Britomart?

Despite its central location, The Hotel Britomart offers a calm and beautiful space, a refuge from the city right outside. You can choose between guest rooms or luxury suites. There is a restaurant onsite, libraries that are great for private events, and the hotel offers special packages based on your needs.

How is The Hotel Britomart sustainable?

  • Locally sourced and sustainably caught seafood
  • Support local artisans and community, and employ locals
  • Plastic-free policy
  • 80% of construction waste was reused or recycled
  • Construction materials such as timber was sustainably sourced
  • Energy efficient (LED light, low energy)
  • Water saving processes
  • Bedding materials are made from 100% organic cotton
  • Hotel uniforms and slippers are of recycled materials and can be composted
  • Body care products are natural and locally made
  • Bicycles provided

Check out The Hotel Britomart rates here.

Final thoughts on the best eco hotels in New Zealand’s North Island

Our curated list selected the most green hotels in New Zealand from a long list. From budget to luxury, farms to cottages to city hotels, you will find one that suits you and your ideal trip.

While you plan your NZ trip, make sure to check out New Zealand culture and customs for proper etiquette. 

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