The little seaside town of Oamaru, New Zealand isn’t on the main traveler trail. A lot of people would never think to stop here, but those who do are probably here to see the Victorian architecture or the penguins.
Whatever your reason for visiting Oamaru, you’re going to need a place to stay. If you’re a budget traveler like I am, your first instinct will be to search for hostels. There are a few options in Oamaru, but I personally was not impressed with most of them.
I did, however, really love Oamaru Backpackers. It is better described as a flashpackers, rather than a typical hostel. I only stayed here one night, but I was very happy with my experience.
Oamaru Backpackers is a house-turned-hostel located in a residential area, just up the street from the historic precinct. It feels a little more upscale due to the beautifully-designed rooms, but the atmosphere is relaxed and home-y. It is a home, after all.
The backpackers is very small, with just a handful of guest rooms and two private bathrooms. There are six rooms with various configurations to accommodate singles, couples, or small groups. Most of the rooms are private, but there is one dorm room as well.
It’s not what you picture when you think of a dorm room, though. The custom wood bunks have plush linens and privacy curtains. A nice change from the creaky bunkbeds and old duvets you might be used to.
This is definitely not a young party hostel. I don’t even want to call it a hostel or a backpackers; it’s more like a guesthouse or B&B. Guests seemed to be mid-twenties or older, a lot of couples, and a few solo travelers (hello!) who wanted a quiet place to stay.
I chose to stay in a single room for my one night at Oamaru Backpackers. The price was reasonable for a private room, so I didn’t mind spending a little bit extra for my own space.
Oamaru is known for its steampunk culture, and that theme was evident in my room. The room had a muted color palette of gray, white, and lavender, but a few steampunk-style details were thrown in. A brass lighting fixture hung from the ceiling and a detailed wooden end table sat next to the bed. I also had my own sink and vanity.
My room felt very light and airy; the perfect place to unwind in the evening. The best part was the large picture window that looked out onto the harbor.
Oamaru Backpackers has all of the amenities you would expect from this type of accommodation. The cozy living area has big comfy couches, a flat screen TV, and a telescope set up next to the huge picture windows. Just off the living room is a smaller communal area with beanbags, couches, lockers, and bar seating.
The kitchen area is a typical home kitchen, but it has everything you need to cook your own meals. A large nook table encourages communal dining. They have a small free breakfast available in the mornings.
There are only two bathrooms here, but it’s enough for the small amount of guests. The bathrooms are private, single-use bathrooms—each one has a toilet, sink, and shower.
Overall, Oamaru Backpackers is one of my favorite hostel/backpackers in New Zealand. If you’re a young, social traveler looking to meet tons of people and party, look elsewhere. However, if you prefer some peace and quiet and a little bit of privacy, this is the place to stay in Oamaru.
Address: 47 Tees St, Oamaru, New Zealand
Price: $30-$120 NZD per night depending on room (cash only)
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