Adventure out whatever the weather, or cosy up together to escape the winter blues? It’s entirely your choice. Winter is the perfect season— when days are short and nights are long — to snuggle up on a romantic break.
Embrace the season, and choose from some of the coolest and cosiest romantic accommodations you’ll find anywhere — and all on the West Coast. These popular spots are usually booked out across summer and the in-between seasons so winter could be the best chance to lock in your break while there’s room at the inn.
For a blissful couple’s escape, Maruia Hot Springs has the works — hotel, glamping and camping accommodation, an in-house restaurant, natural mineral pools, wellness and yoga classes — everything for a full romantic immersion. In winter, there’s a chance of snow which turns bathing into an even more magical experience.
Nestled in a quiet river valley in the Lewis Pass conservation area — at the northern end of the Southern Alps —this intimate little eco-resort operates off-grid, generating its own hydro-electricity and capturing the pure goodness of the geothermal water that bubbles up from below. It has four lovely outdoor hot pools and wellness facilities including a steam room, dry and infrared saunas, thermal showers and cold plunge pool.
Decompress and relax with a massage or yoga class, indulge at the day spa, enjoy a nourishing meal in the restaurant, then spend the evening soaking in the mineral waters under a dark night sky. The guest lounge features a wood fire and the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Other daytime activities could include forest-bathing on several quiet leafy trails in the hills.
Maruia Hot Springs is near Lewis Pass, on State Highway 65. It is 45 minutes from Reefton (via SH7), and around 2.5 hours from Christchurch and Nelson. If you’re travelling via Reefton, make sure you take time to explore this West Coast gem — an historic little West Coast town with a fabled past, tasty eateries and home to the Reefton Distillery.
If sleeping in a tree hut tickles your romantic fancy, then Rainforest Retreat Franz Josef can put you right up in the trees. Built on stilts within a lush rainforest, these cosy, self-contained apartments will take you right back to another time of carefree days.
This time round, think luxury treehouse — comfy king beds, stylish soft furnishings, ensuites with rain showers, espresso machines, underfloor heating and spacious outdoor decks with private hot tubs to make the most of the southern dark skies on a chilly night. You can also lie in bed and watch through the stargazing windows.
On-site Monsoon Restaurant and Bar does gourmet pizzas, sharing plates and luscious mains and the fireside is the place to enjoy a drink after a day out. There’s also a holiday park tucked away in the trees with campervan sites, motels, cottages and backpacker rooms.
Rainforest Retreat is in Franz Josef village, just a short walk from shops, eateries and tourism activities including the West Coast Wildlife Centre (home to the rarest of all kiwi, the Okarito rowi). Franz Josef is the setting off point for wilderness walking trails, beautiful reflective lakes and waterways, wildlife encounters, scenic flights and hikes on the glaciers.
Cosy up in the hot tub to listen to the surf and gaze into the universe at Woodpecker Hut.
Fancy a winter ‘camping’ adventure? Punakaiki has a couple of secluded, stand-out glamping spots — camping but not as you know it. While one has an outdoor kitchen, both have wonderful hot tubs, and the bedrooms are cosy with heaters and plenty of warm bedding.
If all you want to do is shut the door, chill out and listen to the mesmerising beat of the ocean, then check out Woodpecker Hut — an off-grid coastal gem sitting pretty in a stunning cliff-top location.
Woodpecker Hut is made up of two adjoining timber huts: a master bedroom with a luxurious king-size bed and a cosy lounge warmed by a wood-burning stove. Inside the rustic timber exterior, the huts are furnished in contemporary style with soft natural textiles, adding touches of simple luxury to the spectacular ocean views. There’s a covered (mostly protected) outdoor cooking space, and a steaming cedar hot tub set on the front deck.
On the Great Coast Road between Greymouth and Westport, and just 9 km from Punakaiki, Woodpecker Hut is part of the Canopy Camping family of glamping destinations.
Balinese style Indo Kiwi is another romantic hideaway near Punakaiki — a serene and beautiful place where you can take a step back from daily life, immerse yourself in wilderness and, if you’re lucky, listen to the rain on the tin roof.
The one-bedroom hut sits in colourful sub-tropical gardens, filled with palms, ferns and flowers and complete with an outdoor bath, shower and fire pit. The living area opens out to a covered deck with a large Indonesian style daybed — the perfect spot to enjoy a drink or watch the sunset over the sea. The small kitchen is stocked with some essentials, including free-range eggs from the owners’ chickens, and there’s a BBQ on the deck.
A 7-minute drive from Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks, and just metres from the roar of the Tasman Sea, Indo Kiwi is a welcoming haven. From Indo Kiwi, there are plenty of adventures close at hand though, once you’re there, you may not want to leave.
If you’re on for an adventure with a side of luxury, then a winter break on the West Coast should fit the bill. To make it easy, the friendly hosts at Breakers Boutique B&B have sorted out some great winter packages.
Between the Paparoa Range and the Tasman Sea, Breakers is a peaceful beachfront retreat on a property with a covenanted native bush reserve and private access to the beach. Owners Jan and Stephen are passionate about the West Coast, the precious environment that surrounds them and sharing these special places with their guests. There are just four guest rooms, but each guest stay helps support a conservation project with little blue penguins.
Make the most of riding the popular Wilderness Trail coupled with a three-night stay at Breakers Boutique that includes transfers and relocations, breakfast, packed lunches and pizza at night. Relax and revive at Breakers after a day on the trail.
Breakers Boutique Accommodation is on SH6 between Greymouth (10 min drive) and Punakaiki (20 min drive). From Breakers there are adventures in all directions: explore the Pancake Rocks and walks around Punakaiki, historic mine sites, and take a stroll around Greymouth’s waterfront.