Hostels in Picton
Fat Cod Backpackers
Address: 9 Auckland Street
Review: I don’t know what to say except that you just shouldn’t stay here. It’s in an old house—not like a big, beautiful historic house; just an old little house. The carpet is terrible, the kitchen is tiny, and the whole place smells like smoke. In my earlier days of traveling, I would have cried and ran out of there upon entering, but because I was only there one night, I stayed. The bathrooms are one big room in the basement, and it’s just weird and awkward. I also got a weird vibe off the staff.
Would I Recommend?: No. Just no.
Address: 16 Gravesend Place
Review: I stayed at Tombstone Backpackers as a work-exchange employee. I watched over the hostel while the owners were gone in exchange for free accommodation (a great way to save money on your travels!). It’s a small hostel, with only two dorm rooms (the rest are shared or private rooms), so it won’t be overcrowded. It’s in an old villa up on the hill, conveniently located across the street from the Bluebridge ferry terminal. It has a great view over the town and out to the water.
The main house is used as the common area, where you’ll find a kitchen, a dining area, a movie/TV room, a computer room, and a cozy sun room. The outdoor area is fantastic, with a ping pong table, a pool table, and a spa (hot tub). While the bathrooms are shared, they are all individual full bathrooms, so you’ll have plenty of privacy while showering. It’s not right in town, but it’s a nice, quick walk. The town is small anyways, so nothing is really that far. They also have a couple of cats that will keep you company, and free breakfast featuring fresh scones.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. I stayed at 3 different hostels in Picton, and this was by far the best one.
The Villa Backpackers Picton YHA
Address: 34 Auckland Street
Review: I had a short stay at the Picton YHA but I was very happy with it. The 6-bed dorm I stayed in was very spacious, with high ceilings and a big window. This hostel is an old villa (hence the name), which is why it has that home-y feel. The kitchen is a decent size, and from there you can walk out onto the big courtyard. It’s a cool place to hang out, eat, or meet other travelers. The bathroom is a communal, unisex bathroom with shower & toilet stalls. It’s not the most spacious bathroom, but it doesn’t seem to get too crowded in there.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. The location is ideal and the hostel is clean and inviting.
Hostels in Nelson
Address: 114 Rutherford Street
Review: This place is hippie central, which is totally a good thing. Palace Backpackers is yet another hostel in an old home—the beautiful, historic kind. The owner picked me up from the bus station and we picked up the day’s leftovers from a local bakery, so expect lots of free bread and pastries. It’s always nice to walk into a hostel and actually have a conversation with the employees, and the receptionist was super friendly. She showed me around and we talked for a while until another guest arrived. Don’t expect bland decor here–everything is quite unique. I know this is a vague thing to say, but it just has a good vibe. It’s located at the top of a hill, so keep in mind you will have to drag your luggage up the driveway or front stairway.
Would I Recommend?: Yes! If you’re looking for a friendly, communal hostel, this is the place to go.
YHA Nelson by Accents
Address: 59 Rutherford Street
Review: I moved from the Palace over to the Nelson YHA because I wanted to try out another hostel while I was in town. Once again, YHA came through. It’s a quick walk to the bus station and right near everything. I actually stayed here a second time on my way back through Nelson. On my first stay, I was in a GIANT 6-bed dorm. The ceilings were super tall and it had huge windows and a seating area. The second time, I was in a much smaller 4-bed dorm. There were plenty of bathrooms (in all forms, no less: communal, private, full bathroom, shower/toilet/sink only). They have free, freshly baked bread all day, which makes for an easy breakfast.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. This hostel felt really big, but not too crowded. I was happy with it overall.
Hostels on the West Coast
Trip Inn Hostel YHA Westport
Address: 72 Queen Street
Review: The Trip Inn is inside an “historic gentleman’s residence”. The house and grounds are beautiful. In the main house, you’ll find a few rooms, a kitchen & dining area, and some other lounge areas. An annex was added to house more dorm rooms and a large communal bathroom. The deck and backyard area great place to hang out. I wrote a full review of the Trip Inn Hostel here.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. It is a comfortable, quiet hostel in Westport.
Address: 71 Waverly Street
Review: The Last Resort isn’t exactly a “hostel”, but it has backpacker-style rooms available in addition to traditional motel rooms. They do have facilities specifically for those staying in the dorm rooms, which includes a couple of bathrooms and a common area. The lounge has a tiny kitchen with just hot plates, a mini fridge, and a toaster. There’s one table, plus couches and a TV. They do have a café & restaurant on-site, so they encourage guests to eat there instead. I ate at the restaurant one night, and the food is delicious, but I couldn’t afford to eat there every night.
The bathrooms are small, but clean. I was just about the only guest there, so the bathrooms and small kitchen weren’t a problem. My room was cozy. I had a twin share with a friend. It stayed warm with just a small space heater and the wi-fi connection was good. The property is beautiful. The rooms are all based around an outdoor walkway, filled with plants and flowers. It’s a really quiet, relaxed place.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. You can stay in the dorm rooms, a shared room with friends, or a motel room. I really loved this place. It’s a little more luxurious-feeling than a hostel.
Address: 130 Waverley Street
Review: Rongo Backpackers is a really cool hostel in Karamea–the only one, really. I toured the place briefly to see what it was all about. There’s a big focus on art, creativity, and community. They have a garden, outdoor spaces, and a gallery, so it’s more than just a hostel. You can’t miss the rainbow-colored house from the road, and inside is just as quirky. The owner was really laid-back and seemed like a pretty interesting person.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. This is a really great hostel with community and a creative spirit.
Hostels in Hanmer Springs
Kakapo Lodge Backpackers YHA
Address: 14 Amuri Avenue
Review: I spent four days on my own in Hanmer Springs over the Christmas holiday. The town was pretty quiet, so the hostel mostly empty. I stayed in a private room on the 2nd floor, and they gave me a family-sized room since I was staying so long. The owners/employees were all so nice and welcoming. The Kakapo Lodge is about a 1-minute walk from the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools, which is the main attraction in town. Since the town is small, you can easily walk anywhere from this hostel. I really like how the kitchen is set up—there’s plenty of space for multiple people to cook and dine. They did a great job of keeping the hostel clean all day.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. It’s a friendly hostel with plenty of space to hang out.
Hostels in Christchurch
Rolleston House YHA
Address: 5 Worcester Boulevard
Review: There are two YHAs in Christchurch, and I chose the Rolleston House simply because it seemed a little quieter than the other one. It’s also located in an old house, and I love staying in hostels with character. Most of the rooms are upstairs, and they’re generally pretty spacious. I stayed in a 6-bed dorm, but there was so much space to move around and store luggage. There was a small bathroom with a toilet & sink near the rooms, which was particularly useful in the middle of the night. However, the main bathrooms are downstairs through the kitchen. That’s the one thing I didn’t like, as it’s a bit inconvenient to carry all your bathroom stuff through the main area just to take a shower.
The kitchen is quite large, and there’s sufficient seating in the kitchen and common area. One of the great things about this hostel is that it’s located right across from some of the major attractions, like the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens, and the i-Site. There’s also a tram stop just outside the hostel, making it easy to stop in and out if you’re sightseeing via the Christchurch Tram.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. I felt right at home here during my 5-day stay.
Hostels in Oamaru
Address: 47 Tees Street
Review: Oamaru Backpackers is a quiet guest house located just up the hill from the historic district. It’s inside of someone’s home, so it feels very relaxed and cozy. There’s just a handful of rooms, ranging from single rooms, to dorm rooms, to larger suites. It’s a well-designed guesthouse, with a couple of private bathrooms shared between guests. You’ll find a traditional kitchen, a comfortable living room, and a fun lounge to hang out in. It’s definitely a low-key place, but still very communal. I wrote a full review of Oamaru Backpackers here.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. Of all the places I stayed in New Zealand, this hostel in Oamaru is one of my favorites.
Red Kettle Oamaru YHA
Address: 2 Reed Street
Review: I would have loved to stay at Oamaru Backpackers the whole time, but they were booked up so I had to switch hostels. I don’t have any real complaints about the Oamaru YHA, but it wasn’t particularly impressive either. It’s really small, almost cramped. The kitchen was just a regular home kitchen, so there wasn’t much space to cook or eat. Overall, there wasn’t much going on here. It’s definitely not a great hostel for socializing or hanging around (which isn’t bad, it’s just not that kind of place). That being said, the owner was really nice and my stay was comfortable.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. While I’d recommend Oamaru Backpackers first, this is still a good option.
Hostels in Queenstown
YHA Queenstown Lakefront
Address: 88-90 Lake Esplanade
Review: I LOVED this hostel. There are a two YHA hostels in Queenstown, and plenty of others to choose from. Most of the hostels are located in the main town center, but I chose this one for the location. The YHA Queenstown Lakefront is right on the lake, about a 5-10 minute walk from town. There’s a walking path through the waterfront park, so I actually enjoyed the walk to and from town every day. I spent so much time on the beachfront reading or listening to music. The hostel itself is great too. My 8-bed dorm had plenty of space. The bathrooms are huge, so there’s lots of room to get ready, even when it’s full. The kitchen is also huge, and there are multiple dining areas, both indoors and outside.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. This was another one of my favorite hostels in New Zealand.
Hostels in Te Anau
YHA Te Anau Backpackers
Address: 29 Mokonui Street
Review: The Te Anau YHA is a pretty cool hostel. It’s a quick 5 minute walk from the main street and the lake, making it easy to come and go throughout the day. I love the variety of common areas around the hostel, like the movie room, the couches in the downstairs hallway, and the large outdoor area. When the weather is nice, it’s fun to have dinner outside, or just sit in the sun and chat with new friends. The 8-bed dorm room felt really small, but you probably won’t spend much time in there anyways. The kitchen always felt really crowded, even when cooking during off-times. The layout just makes it hard to get around when a lot of other people are there.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. I was really comfortable here and would recommend it.
Hostels in Dunedin
Address: 597 George Street
Review: I got a private room so I could unwind for a few days before my flight up to Auckland, and ultimately back to the U.S. This hostel is popular with international students at the local university. It’s an old house that has been renovated. I enjoyed the uniqueness of it. There are kitchenettes on both floors, plus a full kitchen. There are plenty of bathrooms, and they’re all single-occupancy. I spent most of my time either out and about in Dunedin, or just chilling in my room. There are common areas, but this is a low-key type of place, so no partying or anything here. Although it’s certainly easy to strike up a conversation with others, everyone seemed to be focused on school, work, or resting. It’s also very clean, and the owner was very kind.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. It’s quiet here, so it’s good if you like privacy. It’s also a great place if you’re looking for long-term accommodation.
Manor House Backpackers
Address: 28 Manor Place
Review: I only stayed at Manor House because my friends were working there, so I just stayed in their room (meaning I didn’t pay and didn’t have to sleep in a dorm room). It’s definitely a good social hostel but it doesn’t get too loud if you’re trying to sleep. It does seem like a lot of people live there long-term while working in the city, but there are traditional travelers too. The house is beautiful and it makes for a cool hostel. I don’t like the location, though. It’s kind of a long walk to the main city center and attractions, so I’d prefer to stay somewhere else.
Would I Recommend?: Yes and no. It’s not quite my style, but I did enjoy this hostel overall. However, location-wise I’d probably recommend somewhere else.
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Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. My stay at every hostel in New Zealand was paid for out of my own pocket. However, this post does contain affiliate links. If you book a hostel through one of my links, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps to keep the site running with unbiased information.
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