Rating hostels in New Zealand

We stayed in 13 hotels, hostels, holiday parks and lodges during our three weeks travelling around New Zealand with Kiwi Experience. We experienced the good, the bad and the Poo Pub; here is my guide to the places I slept.

Auckland Skyline

Auckland Skyline

Nomad’s, Auckland (2 nights) – Backpacker friendly, helpful staff, a perfectly adequate city centre hostel 3*

Top Ten Holiday Park, Hot Water Beach (1 night) – Small family friendly holiday park with cute bungalows out in the gorgeous North Island countryside 4*

Kiwi Paka, Waitomo (1 night) – a fun little outpost with nice rooms, nice views, a nice pub and great for access to Waitomo Caves 4*

Base Hot Rock’s, Rotorua (1 night) – worth a visit if only for the geothermal heated swimming pool 4*

Urban Retreat, Taupo (2 nights) – a really cool hippie-style hostel with a spacious, laid back atmosphere. The free chilli was great after the Tongariro Crossing (although the portions were a tad small!) 4*

River Valley Lodge (1 night) – The most gorgeous setting and wonderful lodge. The massive traditional fireplace in the communal area and the attitude of the friendly, positive staff make this the place to beat as far as NZ accommodation goes 5*

Friend’s flat, Wellington (1 night)

Kaiteriteri Lodge, Kaiteriteri (1 night) – A great location by the beach and a nice pub, although it took ages for us to get into our rooms 3*

Bazil’s, Westport (1 night) – A really cute hostel with great staff. The wall paintings and well-looked after gardens make this a lovely stay 4*

Poo Pub, Lake Mahinapua (1 night) – It’s basically a couple of old farm buildings converted into a pub and small hotel. BUT the attitude of the family who have run the place for years, and the parties they have thrown for Kiwi Experience passengers are LEGENDARY. This was a must-do for any Kiwi Experience tripper and the fact that they no longer go there is a travesty 4*

Crossing South Crater, Tongariro Crossing

Crossing South Crater, Tongariro Crossing

YHA, Franz Josef (2 nights) – Very nice and homely, this was a lovely stay during the chilly winter days of waiting to get up the glacier 4*

Mountain View, Wanaka (1 night) – I really liked this place. The staff were friendly, the hostel was cosy and our double room was ideal 4*

Nomad’s Queenstown (4 nights) – For a place that describes itself as the best hostel in NZ, this was a letdown. Yes, it has big, spacious facilities, a snowboard/ski store, some free meals and vouchers, but the basics let it down. The dorms were hot and sweaty and when they double booked us it took a while before they sorted it all out 2*

YMCA, Christchurch (2 nights) – All you could ask for from a city centre hostel; I even managed to complete a 1 hour job interview by Skype in their TV lounge with their Wifi 4*JP


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