A guide to all the BEST New Zealand hostels around the country (and some of the worst)!
I lived, worked, and traveled around New Zealand for almost 11 months. I was on a working holiday, so I was definitely on a tight budget. As a backpacker, a lot of my nights were spent sleeping in hostels—108 nights, to be exact. I thought it would be helpful to take my experience and turn it into a Guide to the Best New Zealand Hostels.
There are hundreds of hostels in New Zealand. You’ll find plenty to choose from in every major city, town, and tourist destination. Some are really amazing, some are okay, and some are downright horrifying. It’s hard to know what kind of hostel you’re going to end up in until it’s too late.
If you choose your hostel in New Zealand based on price (i.e. what’s the cheapest), don’t be surprised if it’s not quite up to your standards. If you choose a place based on popularity, you might just end up in a noisy party hostel (which might be what you’re looking for). If you choose a hostel based on location, it could be totally hit or miss. So how do you know which hostel to choose?
Finding the right hostel might seem like an art form (or maybe more of a science), but I’m here to make finding a good hostel in New Zealand WAY easier for you. After staying in over 20 hostels around the country, I have found both the good and the bad. I’ve created this guide specifically to stop you from ending up in one of the bad ones.
Best New Zealand Hostels
Keep in mind that our hostel preferences may differ. I like hostels that are, first and foremost, CLEAN. I can deal with just about anything as long as I have a clean bed to sleep in and a clean shower.
Other than that, I prefer hostels with:
- good facilities (big kitchens are important since I always cook)
- useful common areas (so I don’t have to hang out in my dorm room)
- and a relatively low-key, quiet atmosphere (some partying is okay, but I want to be able to sleep)
This guide will let you know what I do and don’t like about each of these New Zealand hostels. So maybe you’re okay with one of the hostels I don’t recommend, or maybe one of the hostels I like doesn’t seem to be the right fit for you. My goal is to give you an idea of what to expect at each of these hostels.
From the North Island to the South Island, from tourist hotspots to the lesser-known places, these are the 20+ New Zealand hostels I stayed in during my working holiday. Hopefully this will help you do some research for your travels around the country and choose the best hostels for you.
At the end of the post, you’ll find a Google Map for quick and easy reference to all of the New Zealand hostels in this guide.
Wondering how much to budget for you trip to New Zealand? Read this post.
New Zealand Hostels Directory
I’ve organized the New Zealand hostels on this list by island/region/location to help you find what you’re looking for! Click on the location you want, and you’ll be taken straight to the hostels I’ve reviewed there. Find even more New Zealand hostels on Hostelworld.
- Hostels in Paihia
- Hostels in Auckland
- Hostels in Coromandel
- Hostels in Tauranga
- Hostels in Rotorua
- Hostels in Taupo
- Hostels in Napier
- Hostels in Wellington
- Hostels in Picton
- Hostels in Nelson
- Hostels in West Coast
- Hostels in Hanmer Springs
- Hostels in Christchurch
- Hostels in Oamaru
- Hostels in Queenstown
- Hostels in Te Anau
- Hostels in Dunedin
North Island New Zealand Hostels
Hostels in Paihia
Address: 14 Kings Road
Review: I loved this place. Saltwater Lodge is a former motel, turned into a backpackers. Each room has a sliding glass door off the main deck, so you’re connected directly to the outdoor spaces. Every room has an ensuite, which means you’re only sharing a bathroom with a few people. The kitchen and common area are comfortable–a great place to hang out if it rains. The whole place just had a relaxed vibe, which made me feel like I was actually on vacation!
Would I Recommend?: Yes. This was a really clean, comfortable, and chill place to stay.
Hostels in Auckland
Address: 27-31 Victoria Street East
Review: This was the first hostel in New Zealand I stayed at. Frienz Backpackers wasn’t bad—it had some good qualities, and I wasn’t totally unhappy with it. But overall, I wasn’t impressed. It was filled with the partying backpacker type and a lot of the people there were staying long-term, which changed the environment. The bathrooms were cramped and not very clean most of the time. The kitchen and common areas were also small, so I mostly avoided them. However, the 6-bed dorm I stayed in was spacious and it overlooked the park. I also found it easy to meet people here.
Would I Recommend?: Maybe. It’s not the worst place, but there are better hostels in Auckland.
YHA Auckland International
Address: 5 Turner Street
Review: On my second visit to Auckland, I decided to try out a different hostel. There are two YHAs in Auckland, just a few blocks away from each other. I stayed at Auckland International. Overall, I was happy with my stay. The main common area is pretty big, and I enjoyed hanging out here. I actually stayed here a second time, towards the end of my trip to New Zealand. I was happy with both the 4-bed & 8-bed dorms. The bathrooms were never too crowded, which is always a big plus.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. It seems to be one of the better hostels in Auckland.
The Station Backpackers
Address: 131 Beach Road
Review: The only positive thing about this hostel is the proximity to the train station. If you’re taking the train from Auckland to Wellington early in the morning, this is a convenient place to stay overnight to make a quick trip to the station in the morning. It’s not too bad of a walk to the main part of the city, but there are plenty of other hostels that are much better-located. It’s just a cramped hostel, with a mostly unusable kitchen, and I avoided the bathrooms as much as possible. There also weren’t enough outlets, and no real common areas.
Would I Recommend?: No. There are SO many other hostels in Auckland. This one felt a bit sketchy.
Hostels on the Coromandel Peninsula
Anchor Lodge Backpackers
Location: Coromandel Town
Address: 448 Wharf Road
Review: I got a private room at the backpackers so I could unwind before heading off to start my job. It was an okay place to stay for a couple of days, but it didn’t really have a hostel vibe about it. This place is mainly a motel, so the backpackers area is small. The bathrooms were quite horrendous. There were bugs everywhere, they weren’t kept very clean, and the automatic lights kept going off on me while I was in there. The kitchen is tiny, but there aren’t too many people to share it with. My bedroom was decent, so I at least had somewhere to hang out.
Would I Recommend?: No. I don’t know of any good hostels in Coromandel Town, so it may be the best option. But overall I wasn’t a fan of this place.
Hostels in Tauranga
Harbourside City Backpackers
Address: 105 The Strand
Review: When I walked into my dorm room, I was ready to go to sleep. Unfortunately, I found dried vomit on two of the beds, one had dust and a dead fly on it, and the other was taken. Great options. One of the girls in the room came in before I went to sleep and told me the story about the other girl throwing up everywhere the night before, which explained the vomit. So the staff obviously changed the beds, but didn’t do a great job of cleaning the surrounding area. Needless to say, I was so happy to leave the next morning. I don’t feel it’s worth it to write about the rest of the hostel.
Would I Recommend?: No. I realize my experience could have been a one-off, and it’s not a totally uncommon thing to encounter in a hostel. At the very least, though, I want to stay in a vomit-free dorm room.
Hostels in Rotorua
YHA Rotorua Backpackers
Address: 1278 Haupapa Street
Review: I decided to try out YHA again, since I trusted it would at least be a clean, comfortable hostel. I was very, very happy with the YHA Rotorua. It was clean, it was quiet, and it had really great common areas. It also has unlimited free wi-fi, accessible throughout the entire property–that’s hard to find in New Zealand. I liked the location; it’s right across the road from Kuirua Park and a couple of blocks down from the Night Market.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. I have zero complaints about this hostel.
Hostels in Taupo
Haka Lodge Taupo
Address: 56 Kaimanawa Street
Review: Haka Lodge is more of a “flashpackers”, so overall it’s a little nicer and more stylish. It’s further away from the town center than I would like, and if you’re walking from the bus station, I’d recommend staying elsewhere. I loved the private room, and the dorms were nice too. The only complaint about the dorm is that the custom-made bunk beds felt a bit too enclosed. The bathrooms are co-ed, which is fine, but I wish they would have mentioned it at check-in. I wrote a full review of Haka Lodge Taupo here.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. If you have a car and want something more “upscale”, this is the place to stay.
Hostels in Napier
YHA Napier Backpackers
Address: 277 Marine Parade
Review: I spent a full week in Napier. Once again, I went with the YHA since I had started to build a trust with their standards. I booked a single private room and I was very happy with it. My room was small but cozy. I had a huge window to let in fresh air and light. There were extra blankets and duvets, so my bed was extremely comfortable and warm. There were two bathrooms right across the hall. One was quite cramped, the other very spacious, but both were kept clean. There’s a great courtyard, a nice kitchen, and the staff were very friendly. This is the place that solidified my on-going loyalty to YHA New Zealand, so I finally bought a membership card while here.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. It’s a quiet place, though, so stay at one of the other hostels down the street if you want more social opportunities.
Hostels in Wellington
YHA Wellington Backpackers
Address: 292 Wakefield Street
Review: The Wellington YHA is huge. Like, really REALLY big. I believe it can accommodate up to 300 guests. I suppose there are both good and bad things about a hostel of this size, but I found it mostly good. The 6-bed dorm was very spacious, and the private room felt really airy and had everything I needed. I love the lockers at the larger YHAs—they have power outlets right inside, making it easy to keep your electronics locked up while they’re charging.
There are two kitchens and dining areas. It seems that one is geared towards groups and the other is geared more towards individual travelers. I liked sitting in the smaller dining area, which had small tables underneath a huge skylight. The hostel is quite far from any of the transportation stations, so if you’re arriving by bus or ferry, it’s easiest to just take a cab or Uber. They do offer a shuttle to the ferry for just a couple of dollars, so that’s really convenient if you’re headed to the South Island.
Would I Recommend?: Yes. I stayed here multiple times, and I was really happy with the facilities.
Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers
Address: 1 Bunny Street
Review: I chose to stay at Hotel Waterloo on this trip to Wellington because of the location. This hostel is right across the street from the rail station (which is also where the bus picks up), and a short walk to the Bluebridge ferry terminal. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. The rooms are crowded and the bunk beds are old and creaky. I was on a top bunk and the “guard rail” was barely attached. The kitchen is huge, but it was absolutely disgusting every time I went in. I couldn’t even cook because it was so dirty. The common area/dining room was okay, since it had plenty of couches and tables. They also have an on-site café, but I never bought anything from them.
Would I Recommend?: No. There are plenty of other hostels in Wellington. No need to waste your money on this one.
South Island New Zealand Hostels
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.
New Zealand Hostels Map
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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.