Jailhouse – Christchurch’s Unique Stay + Experience

Jailhouse - Christchurch's Unique Stay + Experience

Have you ever thought of spending a night in jail? We were curious & wanted to really experience it but in a legal way. We found the perfect Jailhouse in Christchurch! Jailhouse is one of the topmost backpacker’s hostel in Christchurch.

While booking, we just thought that this would be an interesting idea. Our minds were blown when we actually checked-in! Jailhouse is not a themed modern building. This building is over 140 years old! It served as a jail for many years throughout its history. About 20 years back, the city council moved all the jails outside the city’s borders & this building became empty.

A couple bought the building & converted it into a backpacker’s hostel. The most amazing thing about this revival is that we still got to experience certain aspects of this jail.

Location of Jailhouse

Jailhouse Christchurch

Christchurch is a walkable city if you are staying somewhere in the city center. Jailhouse is a bit outside the center so you would need to take a bus to the main attractions. The good news is that there is a bus stop right outside the hostel. It is located in a vibrant location though. There are many bars, restaurants, cafes in the vicinity & overall, the area feels quite safe.

If you are looking to take any scenic train journeys as we did (We took a day trip to Greymouth from Christchurch in TranzAlpine), then Jailhouse is quite close to the railway station.


Staff of Jailhouse Christchurch

A normal hostel becomes better when the staff is really good. Jailhouse does have an amazing staff. People sitting at the reception are very friendly. They know their city & country inside out so if you have questions about Christchurch or New Zealand, they will be able to help you out as they helped us.

Read: 24 Hours In Christchurch, New Zealand

Staying at Jailhouse

Room of Jailhouse Christchurch

The building of Jailhouse is an actual prison so you must understand that this is not your average hostel, hotel or B&B. The rooms are the actual prison cells where 2 prisoners used to be kept in a single room. We got a twin bunk room which was quite clean. It had a chair, bedding, storage cabinet & a heater. The room was small but as we loved the Jail experience.

The building is quite spacious. It is a gothic architecture so, at night, the beauty of Jailhouse becomes something else. Don’t forget to check out the preserved prison cells in the building.



Jailhouse has a pretty impressive kitchen. There are many cooking stations which can be used by multiple people. There were plenty of utensils & all of them were clean. The good thing about Jailhouse is that they keep their kitchen open 24×7.

There is a huge dining area in the center of this building which stays open till 10 pm. After this time, guests can still cook in the kitchen but need to eat in the smaller lounge near the reception. This area is equally good.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there is a vending machine at Jailhouse which has chips, cookies, ready-to-eat noodles, etc. Also, since there are many eateries in the area, you can just eat out or take away some tasty food.

Other Amenities

Bike Storage Jailhouse

Jailhouse provides free WiFi to its guests & the speed that we got during our stay was really good. There are actually so many amenities inside the hostel that you would want to stay in to experience all of it.


There is a pool table, a cinema room (equipped with Netflix & a projector), bike storage, free parking, laundry, etc. These benefits come with your stay at the Jailhouse.

Take a tour of this historic building because they have preserved the building & its history very well. See how prisoners used to live here in the original cell. Go through its important figures & their stories put up on the wall. See the original prison artwork preserved carefully in one of the cells.

Jailhouse is not just a hostel, it is one historical experience. When you are in Christchurch, like the city’s other attractions, Jailhouse should be one of them.

Book a stay directly with Jailhouse: Jail.co.nz

Photos: Awara Diaries

We highly recommend taking a day trip on TranzAlpine train. Read our experience & review of the journey!

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