New Zealand is a wild, free and beautiful country. It's isolated, rugged and just all around epic. If you've ever seen a Lord of the Rings movie, you would see why.
One of my must-do's in New Zealand is the PurePods experience. PurePods are sustainable cabins made entirely of heavy duty glass (floors and ceilings too!) so you can see and experience everything around you. Lay in bed and watch the starry night skies above, or wander barefoot on the heated glass floor while hovering above the native plants growing underneath.
The people behind the PurePods want you to be fully immersed in Pure New Zealand. This means no wifi, BYO food and drinks (we'll get to this later), and an unforgettable experience you'll be raving about for years to come.
The PurePods glass cabins are designed to leave no footprint, operating fully off-grid, and are the epitome of minimalist luxury. The fact that it uses less energy in 24 hours than a hairdryer does in 15 minutes blew my mind. I am always looking for ways to be better to the planet, and this one was good for me too.
The cabins are built above the ground, so as not to impact the growth of the fauna around and underneath it. They use solar power to charge the batteries and heat the water, gas for the BBQ and cooktop, and a bio-fuel capable boiler in the winter months for extra heating and hot water. I can only imagine how amazing it would be to be all cosy in the PurePod, while watching the snow cover the hills around you. We might have to come back for winter here.
But don't worry, there is a USB outlet to charge your devices if you need it. However, I used my phone so little in lieu of enjoying the moment, that I didn't even need to charge it in the end!
There are 6 PurePods to choose from, and we ended up going with the Manakau PurePod, located about 30 min drive from Kaikoura or 2.5 hours from Christchurch to the secure carpark, then a 15 minute walk from there through bush to the pod.
Yes, there is a short hike from the carpark to get to your cabin, but that's the beauty of it. It's private and isolated, being one with nature literally in the middle of nowhere. All Purepods are placed on farmland, with help from local farmers who maintain the PurePod, and they know when it is occupied and are committed to your privacy. You only have the animals and the stars for company during your entire stay.
After the agonising decision of which pod we wanted to stay in, we booked online easily through booking.com. Click through to see more photos of the Purepod, plus reviews from other guests, and more.
Once you have booked, only then do they give you directions and instructions on how to get to your PurePod. We drove over rivers, bridges and gravel roads to get to the farmstead where we would leave our car. There was a hairy spot on the way where we weren't sure if our rental car would make it over a particular rickety bridge (it had been raining heavily the previous day), but that's all part of the experience and it's a funny story to tell after the fact.
We parked our car safely in the carpark provided, where we were assured the landowners would watch over it. We only packed what we needed for the night and left the rest of our luggage locked away.
We did bring our own food and drink, but the PurePods also have the option to supply you with a basket full of goodies to save you the trouble. We did this experience towards the end of our trip so we had wine, cheeses and yummy food from the local shops we stopped at along the way.
If you choose to have your food supplied, you can also enjoy locally sourced antipasto plate (cheese, pates and crackers). They also give you a choice of meat for you to cook on the BBQ as well as sides and dessert. Breakfast includes muesli with yoghurt and they have vegetarian or gluten free options available as well.
The PurePod has a cooktop in the kitchen and a BBQ on the deck, and there is all the clean, fresh water (sourced from a spring behind the cabin), pantry staples and utensils that you should need.
Which ever option you choose, I highly recommend picking up a bottle of wine or two. New Zealand is famous for their wines and you don't want to miss out on the experience of sipping a glass while watching the sun set over the landscape around you.
When you arrive in the PurePod, and after you pick up your jaw from the ground, you'll see that they really have thought of everything to keep you comfortable and entertained. The Manakau PurePod included a comfy queen bed, fridge, reclining deck chairs, games, books, and a boom speaker. The fully functioning bathroom also has a toilet and luxurious rain shower, both with views of the outside world.
The unique view from Manakau PurePod is of the Kaikoura Range, almost feeling like it's close enough to touch. Manakau Mountain, the tallest peak, is right in front of you and snow capped for most of the year.
If sitting back and relaxing isn't your thing, there are also marked trails where you can go for a hike, a wander for a picnic lunch or even just walk up the hill behind the cabin for an amazing view of sunrise or sunset.
We chose to relax and recharge for our stay. We road tripped New Zealand in a camper van and it was literally heaven for us to do nothing but lay back and enjoy. We read our books, bathed in the fresh New Zealand summer sun, played some music as we ate and drank, and just generally switched off.
It started to drizzle rain as the sun set, and this ended up being the highlight of the stay for me. While the sun was throwing colours over the surrounding countryside, we watched the water droplets pitter-patter on the glass roof above us as we snuggled into the soft, warm sheets of the bed. How could it get better than that?
Well, it did. After the sun set, the stars came out to play. Because of the isolation of the cabin, the stars were bright and plentiful. Make sure you turn off the lights in your PurePod so you can fully experience it. And there's even a telescope provided so you can look a little closer. It was magical and otherworldly. I don't think I've ever seen so many stars in one sky before.
As you go to sleep, you can leave the blinds open to wake up with the sun trickling in when the morning comes, or close them (walls and ceiling) for full privacy.
We did leave the blinds open, but ended up sleeping in anyway. I wish we had woken up for sunrise, but until we woke up later in the morning, we hadn't realise just how much we had needed that luxurious night's sleep - the best one I had experienced in weeks.
We were sad to go, but enjoyed it so much I knew we would be back one day.
Book your unforgettable and unique stay through Booking.com today.
Would you stay in a Purepod? What is the coolest place you have stayed in? Let me know in the comments.
Also, if you liked this, you can check out my two week South Island itinerary for New Zealand!