Here are the Most Wish-Listed New Zealand Airbnb’s to Inspire Your Holiday Dreaming

Keep these treehouses, cabins, and farm stays top of your list.

Since opening the Trans-Tasman bubble, Australians have been eager to visit our neighbours and vice versa. Airbnb data shows searches for New Zealand getaways tripled in the day leading up to the announcement, and New Zealand searches doubled for Australian getaways. It seems we’re all ready for an international holiday. With that said, we thought we’d share the top 10 stays wish-listed by kiwi’s, to inspire your next holiday to the islands. 

MORE: NZ’s South Island The World’s Reigning Adrenaline Capital

Treehouse Airbnb NZ
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

Raglan Treehouse in the Woods with Outdoor Bath

Raglan, Waikato
Escape to this tiny treehouse in the woods, and experience off-grid living on 35 acres of pines, pasture, bush, and beaches. There’s only one bedroom, so it’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Enjoy a fully-equipped kitchen, queen-sized futon bed in the upstairs loft, and a gas heater for those chilly nights. The treehouse is 4km from Whale Bay and 12km from Raglan, which is a coastal town, boasting volcanic black sand and dramatic landscapes.

Airbnb Chalet NZ
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

Romantic Bush Chalet – Kauri Chalet

Auckland, Titirangi
Here’s another treehouse set in the native New Zealand bush. Enjoy privacy, beauty, and peace, but also proximity to black sand beaches. The chalet has one bed and one bathroom, with underfloor heating from the deck. The room is equipped with a fridge, microwave, kettle, and toaster. This dwelling is great for adventurers, as there are several nearby hikes, and Karekare Beach is a short drive away.

Airbnb NZ
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

West Coast private hilltop hideaway

Bethells Beach, Auckland
Revel in ocean views from your very own hilltop hideaway. This self-contained studio is a 40-minute drive from Auckland but feels a world away. The beach is three minutes away, and it’s close to many walking tracks, for when you want to stretch your legs. The amenities include a flush toilet and hot shower. As a bonus, enjoy a BBQ on the deck and a soak in the spa with a view.

Airbnb Yurt NZ
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

Stunning views from warm cosy yurt

Motueka Valley, Tasman
This eco-retreat offers stunning views both of land and sky, through the skylight. The insulated 6-metre Yurt is a great option if you’re looking for something different. There is an outdoor kitchen, a bath/shower, and a deck overlooking the Motueka River Valley and Tasman Bay.

Mountain hut Airbnb
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

Misty Mountain Hut

Piha, Auckland
Live the simple life in this tiny isolated hut set amidst the Kauri and Rimu trees. It comes with everything you need to enjoy a short or long term stay, including an outdoor hot shower and bath, fireplace, and kitchen. There are plenty of beaches, only a 10-minute drive away, and if you don’t have access to a car, the host is happy to help make arrangements, for a small fee.

Airbnb bus
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

The LoveBus

Raglan, Waikato
Bus accommodation is all the rage today. With people turning buses and vans into moving homes, this LoveBus in Raglan is sure to satisfy your craving for adventure and the off-grid experience. The bus sits in a field on a 35-acre property, so enjoy the privacy. There is an outdoor bath on a deck, and a fire pit to toast marshmallows. The fully equipped kitchen makes it a good long-term stay too.

The Nest Airbnb NZ
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

The Nest — Coastal Escape

Pihama, Taranaki
Feel like royalty with this nest, perched high on a cliff, overlooking a black sand beach and Tasman sea. Settle into the outdoor bath with a glass of champagne, or sink into the plush king bed, and fall asleep to the sounds of waves lapping. The nest is solar-powered, and there is a gas burner for all your cooking needs.

tree house airbnb
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

AWAY Treehouse

Venture to the Eastern end of Waiheke Island to discover this treehouse high above the forest floor. Enter via a boardwalk to discover an octagonal structure, boasting a wrap-around deck, two beds, and an outdoor bath. You can even order a spa treatment on site from qualified therapists, for that extra touch of rejuvenation. 

Airbnb eco escape NZ
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

Ecoescape: self-contained off-grid tiny-home

Korito, Taranaki
This tiny home looks more like a set of a movie than an Airbnb. It’s nestled at the base of Taranaki and is complete with unmatched mountain views, which become more magical when snow-capped. Powered by both solar panels and hydro turbines, this place is as off-the-grid as it gets. Explore the property which features a lake with kayaks, farm animals, a rowboat, glow worms, gardens, and walkways.

Waiheke NZ Airbnb
Photo Courtesy Of Airbnb

Luxury Waiheke Rental

Revel in all the luxuries that come with this house in Auckland. It’s a brand new holiday home, within 10 minutes walk to the main Oneroa shops, bars and cafes on Waiheke Island. It’s also close to Oneroa beach, Ferry Terminal Mudbrick and Cable Bay Vineyards. The best part of this rental besides the modern amenities is the 5-seater Toyota Funcargo car to drive around the island.

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Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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