The best eco hotels in South Island, New Zealand, for all budgets

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New Zealand’s South Island is abundant in gorgeous natural landscapes, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Fiordland National Park (home to Milford Sound), mountains and glaciers like Aoraki (Mount Cook), and beautiful crystal-clear lakes like Lake Tekapo, Lake Wanaka, and Lake Wakatipu. I wish we had spent more time there because we barely scratched the surface in our 2-week trip to New Zealand

Given this country’s natural beauty and the importance placed on preserving its landscapes and wildlife, it’s no surprise that there are many eco-friendly, green hotels in South Island New Zealand. Below is a list of the 9 best sustainable accommodations, starting from Queenstown and making your way to the middle and north of South Island. 

PS: If you’re heading up north, check out these sustainable hotels in New Zealand’s North Island.

Don’t forget to read up on proper cultural etiquette while in New Zealand.

Here are the 9 best sustainable hotels in South Island, New Zealand

Sherwood, Queenstown

sherwood queenstown eco hotels south island new zealand
Sherwood Queenstown

Sherwood Queenstown is a 3* hotel located along Lake Wakatipu and is truly a perfect retreat to connect with nature and unplug.

Why stay at Sherwood?

Cosy, serene, and homely are the words that come to mind immediately when I think of Sherwood Hotel. Due to its superb location, Sherwood provides endless views of the mountains and Lake Wakatipu, making this hotel the best place to take a break and disconnect in a scenic setting. The best part, though, is that it’s still very close to Queenstown – about 6 minutes by car, making Sherwood one of the best eco hotels in South Island New Zealand if you’re landing at the Queenstown Airport. 

Sherwood has all the necessary amenities you might need: an onsite restaurant and bar, a kitchen garden where they grow their own produce, a production office space, a coworking space, a ski and bike workshop space, and a wellness centre comprised of a sauna, a massage room, and a yoga studio.

How is Sherwood sustainable?

Sherwood is a leading example of a sustainable hotel.

  • Produce like veggies, fruits, and herbs are grown on-site in their kitchen garden
  • Social impact: empower the community by commissioning artwork from local artists
  • Use of natural bathroom products made from manuka honey and myrtle
  • Their bar is completely zero waste
  • All their organic waste is composted into their kitchen garden
  • Solar panels and renewable energy systems

Check the location and prices for Sherwood.

Hidden Lodge, Queenstown

Hidden Lodge, eco hotel South Island New Zealand
Hidden Lodge

Hidden Lodge is a 5* Bed and Breakfast Hotel located right along Lake Wakatipu, only a 5-minute drive from Queenstown and 20 minutes from the Queenstown airport.

Why stay at Hidden Lodge?

Nestled and “hidden” into the hills of Queenstown, Hidden Lodge has four spacious, elegant suites, all with direct, gorgeous views of Lake Wakatipu. It is one of the most scenic accommodations near Queenstown and an excellent gateway to hiking trails in the area. 

The B&B also has a beautifully maintained lawn right by the lake, a wood-fired hot tub, a lounge room with a small library, a yoga room, and a sauna. Upon request, they offer award-winning spa treatments in your suite. Please note that there is no restaurant on site and no laundry service. 

How is Hidden Lodge sustainable?

At Hidden Lodge, they live by the “Tiaki Promise,” which means caring for New Zealand’s people, environment, and culture. Some examples of their pledge to sustainability include: 

  • No single-use plastic
  • Composting and waste management program

Check the location and prices for Hidden Lodge.

Headwaters Eco Lodge, Glenorchy

headwaters eco lodge
Headwaters Eco Lodge

The Headwaters Eco Lodge is an award-winning eco-lodge in Glenorchy, perfect for all kinds of travellers, from a romantic weekend with your partner to a friend or family trip to a corporate offsite meetup.  

Why stay at Headwaters Eco Lodge?

Previously known as Camp Glenorchy, Headwaters Eco Lodge is 45 minutes from Queenstown and offers quiet luxury with its relaxing, serene, rustic elegant chalets. 

Here’s what to expect at Headwaters Eco Lodge: a dining room for meals prepared with the best and freshest ingredients, easy access to the valleys and mountain trails nearby, an artistic lounging and entertainment area, and fun activities such as yoga and cultural workshops.

How is Headwaters Eco Lodge sustainable?

Headwaters Eco Lodge was designed with sustainability and regenerative principles, and was the first accommodation designed with Living Building Challenge standards, the most rigorous sustainability guidelines. 

  • A garden-to-table concept with fresh, local, seasonal produce 
  • Net-Positive energy with solar power
  • Sustainably sourced timber and non-toxic construction materials
  • Water treatment to create drinking water from rainwater
  • Water treatment and waste management, using 50% less water than other similar accommodations

Check the location and prices for Headwaters Eco Lodge.

MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary, Twizel

menardsNZ eco hotel south island NZ
MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary

MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary is a self-catering accommodation near Twizel, between Lake Ōhau and Lake Pukaki. 

Why stay at MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary?

This award-winning accommodation is at the base of the Ben Ōhau mountain range, on a glacier till. The sustainable cottage blends smoothly into its natural surrounding landscape, allowing you to feel completely immersed in nature. 

At the cottage, you will find a 2-bedroom accommodation, making this place ideal for a small family or small group of friends. There’s everything you need to prepare meals, including a fully equipped kitchen and a bbq, plus laundry services, wifi, tv, a hot tub, and the best views.

How is MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary sustainable?

MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary has won the Sustainability and Environmental Award in 2022, due to their commitment in conservation and eco practices.

  • Removal of invasive species like wilding pines and pest animals
  • No chemicals (e.g. pesticides)
  • Growing of native and exotic plants
  • Composting of food waste
  • Recycling program
  • No single-use toiletry items
  • Wood is locally sourced or obtained from the property 
  • Energy conservation at night

Check the location and prices for MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary.

Lakestone Lodge, Lake Pukaki

lakestone lodge
Lakestone Lodge

This modern, luxurious 5* hotel is situated by Lake Pukaki, offering beautiful views of the lake in a natural environment. 

Why stay at Lakestone Lodge?

The Lakestone Lodge provides all the important amenities for a rejuvenating holiday, including an infinity pool, delicious chef-prepared meals, and deep soaking baths in every room. They have all kinds of packages to suit every traveller’s needs, from honeymooners to the solo traveller. It’s really the most beautiful place to set up a base to explore the region. 

The location is absolutely perfect for those looking to spend some time exploring New Zealand’s wonderful natural landscapes. The lodge is located in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, where you can, at times, see shooting stars and other galaxies. There are also multiple hiking and cycling opportunities, with e-bikes provided by the lodge, and close access to Mt Cook (a 45-minute drive).

How is Lakestone Lodge sustainable?

  • Solar powered
  • Designed to maximise exposure to natural sunlight and reduce artificial light
  • Mindfully designed to reduce the need for air conditioning in summer and insulate in winter 
  • Energy efficient with LED lights 
  • Rainwater treatment
  • Recycling program to reduce waste and compost organic waste

Check the location and prices for Lakestone Lodge.

SiloStay near Christchurch


SiloStay is the most uniquely designed piece of architecture I’ve ever seen for a hotel. The rooms where you would stay are quite literally, as the name suggests, silos. 

Why stay at SiloStay?

Aside from the bragging rights of having stayed in a silo, the space is cosy and cute, and you have everything you need, including a kitchenette and a small fridge. There are also plenty of dining options nearby if you don’t feel like cooking. 

SiloStay is also conveniently located near Christchurch (about a 50-minute drive), by a town called Little River. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path from the popular attractions in NZ’s South Island, Little River is a great place for that. You have easy access to the scenic Banks Peninsula, one of the most beautiful landscapes in NZ, and the Birdlings Flats, a beautiful beach rich in gemstones.

How is SiloStay sustainable?

  • Waste management system to compost food waste, sewage, toilet paper
  • LED lighting
  • Wool insulation

Check the location and prices for SiloStay.

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses, Kaikōura

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses, eco hotel in South Island, New Zealand
Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses

Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses is a 4* hotel near Kaikōura in Canterbury and is about a 2.5-hour drive from Christchurch. 

Why stay at Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses?

Manifesting our childhood dreams of staying in a tree house, Hapuku Lodge provides us with the opportunity to do just that. The lodge is a modern, elegant hotel located along NZ’s coastline. Here, you can learn to surf, or just chill by the pool and sauna if surfing is not your thing, or book a spa massage for a more relaxing time. 

The dining room is known for providing deliciously prepared meals (you can watch the chefs prepare them while you chat with them), but due to its location, there’s also plenty to do nearby. You can explore the Hapuku trails on foot or by bike, have a picnic, hang at the beach, take a fishing trip, or pick olives in NZ’s summer season.

How is Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses sustainable?

  • Locally sourced products from local farmers
  • Organic and seasonal produce
  • Zero-waste goal: compost, recycle, and reduce waste
  • Construction materials such as timber are sustainably sourced or upcycled
  • Efficient fireplaces and double-glazing insulation
  • No chlorine in the pool – instead, potassium and magnesium are used

Check the location and prices for Hapuku Lodge & Tree Houses

Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets, Motueka

Ocean View Chalets abel tasman
Ocean View Chalets

This 3* chalet is perfect for those looking to explore the Abel Tasman National Park and be immersed in nature. 

Why stay at Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets?

The Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets are ideally located within walking distance of the Abel Tasman National Park. Surrounded by native New Zealand nature, within walking distance of the national park, and close to the ocean — what more could you ask for for your Abel Tasman holiday?

At the chalets, you can expect daily breakfast, a shop of local souvenirs, kayaking, gorgeous views of the garden and the ocean, laundry service, and privacy, as all the 1- and 2-bedroom chalets are freestanding. 

How is Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets sustainable?

  • Locally grown timber to build the chalets
  • Solar panels
  • Organic and fair trade produce as much as possible
  • Composting on site 
  • No single-use toiletries 
  • Renewable energy by Ecotricity, a NZ owned, CarboNZero-certified company
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products
  • Work with various conservation and local organisations 

Check the location and prices for Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalets

Kimi Ora Eco Resort

kimi ora eco resort
Kimi Ora Eco Resort

A 4* resort by Tasman Bay, Kimi Ora Eco Resort operates with health, relaxation, and serenity in mind. 

Why stay at Kimi Ora Eco Resort?

Kimi Ora Eco Resort is an excellent spot if you’re planning to explore the Abel Tasman National Park and Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park. Not only is the location convenient, but the resort itself offers a secluded getaway for all types of travellers.

As a resort guest you the option to choose a self catering chalet or suites of varying sizes. You will also have access to an indoor and outdoor pool, a day spa, an aqua centre, a pool table, and a vegetarian restaurant with superb views.  

How is Kimi Ora Eco Resort sustainable?

  • Donate to the marine convervationists Tasman Bay Guardians
  • Energy efficient
  • Solar energy for water heating
  • Construction materials: renewable timber sources
  • Plant trees and re-established wetlands on the resort area 

Check the location and prices for Kimi Ora Eco Resort.

Final thoughts on the best eco hotels in South Island New Zealand

From budget accommodations to quirky silos to luxury exclusive cottages, the list above covers the best eco hotels in South Island New Zealand, from Queenstown to the Abel Tasman area. 

Don’t forget to check out the best eco hotels in North Island, NZ.

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