Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by SiloStay as they gifted us a stay at their venue, however, as always all of our views are completely unbiased and are truly our own.
New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud, is fast becoming one of THE destinations in the world to travel to. And, for those that have been there it’s easy to see why.
We have spent the best part of two years in New Zealand, yet we still feel that there are so many hidden wonders to explore, and that we could spend so much longer there. Suffice to say, it is a love affair that is far from over. New Zealanders are proud of their culture, and are extremely innovative in allowing visitors to explore it in unique ways. One of our favourites has been SiloStay in Little River, near Akaroa.
No matter what you are after, New Zealand has something for everyone: adventure sports, hiking trails, breath-taking views, and wildlife seen nowhere else on Earth. And nowhere is this more apparent than on an exploration of the South Island. Where, from mountain to sea, you can see a wide variety of natural wonders, such as seals, sea lions, penguins, albatrosses, dolphins, whales and absolutely stunning views.
For those in the know, New Zealand is made up of a string of islands, with two main islands referred to as North and South Island (Kiwis generally call something what it is, and that’s pretty refreshing!). Nestled away on the Banks Peninsula to the east of Christchurch, on the South Island, is Akaroa. Akaroa is a beautiful, historic, New Zealand town, with both French and British influences throughout its history. The area is very scenic with some iconic views, protected tramping trails and plenty of local wildlife, including dolphins and penguins.
Akaroa is somewhere where a day trip just doesn’t cut it, you can easily spend days soaking in everything that the area has to offer. So naturally, it means you need to find a base to explore the area from. Yes, there are a lot of quaint options in Akaroa, but that isn’t why you are in New Zealand. You are here to make the memories of a lifetime in your epic trip. And SiloStay is an accommodation venue that can really live up to the challenge.
SIloStay is a feat of Kiwi ingenuity that brings the farming heritage of the country straight into the tourist trail, providing an accommodation experience that is unique and completely unforgettable. Whilst taking innovative steps in carbon reduction and creating an eco-friendly environment to help provide sustainable travel and protect New Zealand’s most important resource: its natural beauty.
No visitor driving into Akaroa can drive past SiloStay without wanting to pull over and smile at the beauty that is a collection of grain silos breaking free of their original purpose to provide truly unique and carefully thought out accommodation.
Don’t worry, these Silos have never been used for grain, but were specially designed to create one bedroom, self-contained apartments, each with their own balcony (each balcony faces away from the neighbouring Silos to give you some privacy). Every detail of the venue has been carefully thought out, from the complementary gardens and wooden walkways, right through to each of the fittings inside. It is also worth mentioning that they have a Silo without stairs, which means it is accessible for everyone.
All of the fittings and features inside the SiloStay Silos are extremely homely and welcoming, yet still provide an appreciative nod towards the agricultural background that the venue is immersing you into. For instance, the kitchen cabinets are snap on style tool chests, the light fittings are old industrial toggle switches, and even the bathroom taps are made from carefully crafted copper piping to enhance the beauty and individual identity of the Silo. Each bedroom is also adorned with a circular skylight allowing you to gaze into the night skies form the comfort of your bed (and it is very comfortable), knowing that you will be warm and dry from all of the elements!
When you first enter the Silos through your winding outdoor staircase, you can see that plenty of thought has gone into the design. And for me, this is what sets it aside from all of the other accommodation that we have experienced in New Zealand. It creates an identity that blends with the surroundings of rural New Zealand, an identity that takes pride in the farming heritage of the country, yet caters for the tourist need in a sustainable way.
The team at SiloStay have taken great steps to reducing their carbon footprint and providing activities that do the same: something which is becoming, and rightly so, a belief at the heart of tourism in New Zealand. For a country that receives a number of visitors almost equalling its own population each year, it’s no mean feat to be eco-friendly.
Entering your SiloStay apartment you are greeted with a folder that provides all of the information you need, right down to what light switch does what (you will love the different coloured mood lighting available upstairs!). Yet this book does so much more, it gives you an insight as to why SiloStay was created and how it works, from the recycling bins outside (a rare occurrence for a lot of NZ) to the waste management system (a Biolytix system) that they use. This system is rather spectacular in itself; believe it or not, it uses a whole army of tiger worms that break down all of the organic matter produced, and turn it into usable compost. Let it never be said that Kiwis don’t have a sense of humour, as SiloStay even allows you to sponsor a worm’s education, to help them to graduate to full worm status!
The heating is provided by a pellet boiler system. As SiloStay is off-grid it needs to find inventive ways of heating both the silo apartments and their water. A pellet boiler uses a waste by product of New Zealand’s forestry industry, which, overall, helps reduce waste from one of New Zealand’s biggest sustainable industries.
And of course, what would New Zealand be without its sheep? All Silos use natural wool for insulation, a much healthier product than the likes of celotex or polystyrene used in most builds. Wool is a natural insulator, and fairly breathable, which helps to keep the Silos at whatever temperature that you need them to be at.
SiloStay also offers bike hire, allowing you to explore the rolling hills of the Banks Peninsula at a leisurely pace, on a mode of transport which happens to be my favourite – in my opinion, you cannot beat a bike!
But more than this, they also offer package services allowing you to book your accommodation and a guided tour of the area on e-bikes (they really do make easy work of the hills), and I highly recommend this service. Check out SiloStay’s Instagram to get a sneak peak at some of the spectacular views that could be seen on your stay and tour.
Akaroa is home to some outstanding harbour views from its rolling hills that support the structure of the Banks Peninsula. It is also the home of some amazing wildlife such as the Pohatu penguins (little blue penguins) and Hector’s dolphins that often play around in the waters of the harbour front during the summer months.
Although they can be seen up and down the coastline on the South Island, the colony of NZ’s famous little blue penguins in Akaroa is the largest colony on mainland New Zealand. There are several tours based in Akaroa which will take you up and over the rugged terrain to visit them first hand in a responsible manner, or alternatively, around the bay on a sea kayak tour. The bonus of a kayak tour is that there is always the chance that you will get to see the Hector’s dolphins frolicking in the bay. There are also dedicated boat tours to see the dolphins, but like all wild animals you need to catch them in the right conditions, you will be luckier in the summer months when they come closer to shore.
Akaroa isn’t all about the wildlife though. Established in 1840, there is a beautiful blend of French and British history in the town, which has influenced the beautiful colonial architecture. This, in turn, is epitomised by the Anglican Church c.1864, which is a must visit for anyone going into Akaroa. On a walk around the harbour front, treat yourself to ice cream, locally made fudge and a wide variety of more substantial food options whilst you soak in the atmosphere of this quaint town.
We absolutely loved our stay at SiloStay, and we whole-heartedly say it has been our favourite accommodation in New Zealand by far. But I hear you, this post is about a gifted stay we said? Well, as our regular readers know, honesty about activities and accommodation is far more important to us, and to you, than anything else. We can truly say, that our stay here was extremely memorable, and it is that rarest of venues: an accommodation that we would happily return to, and will return to, in the future.
Little River is a brilliant village to base yourself in to explore either Akaroa or Christchurch and everything that they have to offer. Whilst giving you a peaceful, relaxing and completely unique environment to digest what has happened throughout a day of holiday memories.
Get into your Silo, turn on the mood lighting, open the roof hatch and watch the stars go by from the comfort of your bed.
SiloStay is located prominently on State Highway 75 in the middle of a small NZ town called Little River. In total, it is just under an hour away from Christchurch, so close to a major town on the South Island, yet it retains its tranquil setting in picturesque countryside.
In terms of food, SiloStay is self-catering, and has a small fridge and cooking facilities, so you are welcome to bring your own food. However, during the day, the venue is book ended by a quaint coffee shop and an authentic local produce shop to provide you with your basic essentials. If you prefer restaurant dining on your holiday there are many good local recommendations available in the nearby villages, which provide true Kiwi food at affordable prices.
At the time of writing the current prices for a stay are listed below, however you should always check directly with SiloStay, for the most up to date prices.
(SiloStay cannot be held to the prices displayed here as they may be out-dated. As always, I will take best efforts to maintain up to date information, if you believe these prices to be incorrect please contact me).
To book your stay please go to here, which is a direct link to SiloStay’s booking system.
Dont forget to come and read our other New Zealand posts.