Flashpackers (n): someone who generally travels like a backpacker, but with a larger budget; usually prefers more comfort and convenience than traditional backpackers.
Haka Lodge considers itself to be a flashpackers accommodation, or an “up-market backpackers” in their own words. You’ll find all of the usual characteristics of a hostel, including dorm rooms, common areas, and shared kitchens/bathrooms. But the Haka Lodge brand caters to the type of traveler that is looking for comfort, cleanliness, and a little bit of luxury at a backpacker price.
That’s exactly what I experienced at Haka Lodge Taupo. After a busy week in Rotorua, I was looking for a few days of rest before meeting up with my friend. Every so often, I like to splurge on a single room at a hostel instead of sleeping in a dorm room. Considering the weather in Taupo during my stay was cloudy and rainy, leaving me without much to do, I was really glad I had a private space to go back to watch movies and read.
My room was tiny, but it was the perfect size for me. The room had a nicely-made, extremely comfortable single bed, and I had a window, which is not always a given in hostel rooms. The room also had a flatscreen TV, but I didn’t use it.
The building was a sort of…cabin-style, if that explains it. Walking out of your room put you straight outside. It’s not ideal in cold, rainy weather, but in general I prefer that type of building. There was plenty of deck space to sit outside–again, really great when the weather is nice.
The kitchen isn’t huge, but neither is the hostel. It had everything you need to cook, and the dining room has lovely carved wood tables. There are only a handful of showers and toilets, but I rarely encountered anyone in the bathrooms, so there seemed to be plenty of facilities. The bathrooms are unisex, which I had to find out on my own. I thought I’d be more uncomfortable in a unisex bathroom, but it wasn’t weird at all.
After a couple of nights, I moved to a dorm room to try it out. The custom made bunk beds are like cupboards–really nice cupboards. Each bed has a privacy curtain, which is really great for those that go to sleep early (me) as it blocks out the light if your roommates are still up. The only complaint about the dorm room is that the bottom bunk feels like a very small cave, whereas the top bunks seem to have plenty of space to sit up in bed.
The hostel was kept clean, and it was very quiet. I was there just before winter started, so that probably explains the low number of guests. The only other things I didn’t like about Haka Lodge Taupo was the location. While it’s not a far walk into town, it is kind of a hassle if you’re walking from the bus station with your luggage. It seems like most people that stay there are probably traveling with a car. I would have preferred to be much closer to the shops and cafes.
Haka Lodge Taupo
Address: 56 Kaimanawa Street, Taupo, New Zealand
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