From the big cities of Auckland and Wellington, to much smaller locations such as Picton, and the adventure paradise of Queenstown – we’ve got you covered!
This is your simple guide on travelling New Zealands hostels and on a budget.
Are these really the best hostels in New Zealand?
It’s an easy 100% yes!
Heck, we’re even going to introduce our one and only 5 star hostel in the country.
On the north island in the capital of Wellington, you’ll find the awesome Dwellington Hostel.
If you’ve landed on this page, it’s likely you’re planning a trip around the country. Much smaller than its Australian neighbor, getting around is straight forward.
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List of Destinations with the Top Hostels in New Zealand
Get your hiking boots ready and gather excitement for you’re about to discover boutique hostels in New Zealand.
The destination covered in this guide, from North to South, are:
- Takaka (Golden Bay)
Best Hostels in Paihia: Haka Lodge Bay of Islands
Paihia is a township on the coast and a gateway to the Bay of Islands. It’s a brilliant place to head if you’re keen on diving and sandy beaches. From here many day trips are available to join.
Just up the road is a horseshoe-shaped waterfall named Haruru Falls.
There really is only one hostel worth staying in here: Haka Lodge Bay of Islands.
It happens to have the best view, location and facilities, so it makes it an easy choice. The beach is also just across the road!
Choose between luxury dorms and private ensuite. Then make your way to the shared living space and grab a spot on the wrap around couch.
It’s a modern space with a wonderful fully fitted kitchen for all to take advantage of.
Best Hostels in Whangarei: The Cell Block Backpackers
Whangarei is the place to head to if you’re keen for a beautiful waterfall and a volcano – named Mount Parihaka – towering over a city. It’s not just a volcano, but a home to remains of Maori villages too.
This city in the far north of NZ offers a refurbished 1960’s police station, aptly named The Cell Block Backpackers.
It’s quite surprising how old jail cells can be cosy and relaxed if done properly!
All of the rooms are within old cell rooms. They’re small, with 2-4 beds including a female only.
Chill out on the rooftop garden and make a fuss of the sweet cat.
It’s located right in the city centre, just 300m from the main bus station.
Best Hostels in Auckland
Most likely you’ll fly in to or out of Auckland during your New Zealand adventure. It’s a big city like so many others, full of green spaces and small surroundings islands.
To make sure everyone is happy, we’ve gathered central hostels and one that is a little further from the bustling city life.
Our epic guide to the best hostels in Auckland is well worth a read. It’s full of tips, tricks and unique suggestions!
1. Haka Lodge Auckland
Stay in the thick of it (minutes from Queen Street) and enjoy this flashpackers, where luxury meets budget.
It’s a big one, with 92 beds! Yet social spaces are closed from 23:00 to support a respectable, quiet time for all.
Guess what? The bunk beds here have won awards! It’s not surprising once you see them. Lots of light, sturdy frames and a splash of colour really makes this feel like a trendy pad rather than a hostel.
There’s free tea and coffee, a huge hang out area and a large kitchen. Just ask if you’re keen to book a tour through sister company Haka Tours.
2. Oaklands Lodge
In a slow-paced Mount Eden village just 15-minutes from the centre, Oaklands Lodge is a true home-away-from-home.
This 100-year old house has been recreated in to a social, inviting place for backpackers and couples alike.
Join in a game of Mario Cart or a Sunday BBQ, and enjoy the sun from a swinging hammock in the garden.
It’s the kind of hostel where everyone takes the time to catch your eye and say hello. Friendly managers are always there to help and make your day that extra bit special.
3. The Attic Backpackers
For female solo travellers looking for a great dorm, we highly recommend The Attic Backpackers.
That’s right – enjoy a female only room and bathroom. This one is equipped with a hard dryer and straighteners. Because who says you can’t look good on a backpacking trip?
Everyone can enjoy the TV lounge, spacious deck area and handy kitchen.
Practise your piano skills and take a stroll to Queen Street to enjoy the central streets of Auckland.
Best Hostels in Taupo: Haka Lodge Taupo
More towards the centre of the North island is Taupo. This town is by a beautiful lake! Nearby is also must-visit hot springs and crystal-blue cascades reachable by foot.
Where to stay? We only recommend Haka Lodge Taupo.
Yep, you guessed it: there are a few Haka Lodge’s in New Zealand! Normally we’re not a fan of chain hostels, but these guys do it right.
You’ll find the same purple theme here, complimenting beautiful big and light spaces over a range of dorm and private rooms.
At this particular Haka there is a large lounge, sunny outdoor patio and a modern kitchen with everything you need.
It’s centrally location with a fantastic view of Lake Taupo!
Best Hostels in Ohakune: LKNZ Lodge
Translated as “the place of the careful ones” from the Maori language, Ohakune is ideal for hikers and snow-lovers. It’s also the ‘carrot capital’ which would explain the giant carrot found by the welcome sign.
Right on the doorstep of Tongariro National Park is a diverse hostel called LKNZ Lodge.
In fact, LKNZ offer some great deals for the Tangariro Crossing during summer – have a chat with the friendly staff.
From budget cabin dorms to flashpacker rooms, gorgeous accommodation for all traveller types is spread over three lodges.
The on-site cafe offers great coffee, snacks and breakfast. Each lodge also has a kitchen (4 in all), TV room and lounge.
Enjoy views of Mt Ruapehu and easy access to bars, restaurants and a supermarket within a 2-minute walk.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
Best Hostels in Wellington: The Dwellington Hostel (5 Star Hostel)
Let’s just quickly clarify that Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, not Auckland. We didn’t know this right away!
As it sits at the southernmost point of the Cook Strait, it encompasses beaches, a harbour, promenade and hills. Sounds pretty nice for a city, and it is.
As for where to stay, The Dwellington Hostel is where it’s at!
This effortlessly-cool city hostel has it all; style, epic shared spaces and rooms galore. See for yourself…
- Chef’s style kitchen w/ 5 meter redwood dining table
- Cinema room w/ Netflix & Sky Sports
- Games room
- Outdoor spaces
Rooms include twin, double, triple, family and shared dorms with 4-8 beds. There’s even a female-only dorm!
Breakfast is thrown in and a historic tennis court awaits you!
Best Hostels in Picton
Just across the strait your first stop in the South Island will be Picton. Yet another gateway, this time to the islands and inlets of stunning Marlborough Sounds.
And boy are the hostels here cool!
We couldn’t choose just one, so here’s two instead:
1. Jugglers Rest
Picton’s smallest hostel (16 beds) offers BIG comfort and an atmosphere that can’t be beaten.
Let’s jump right in and give you reasons to stay here:
- Free organic garden produce
- Log fire & heated rooms
- Workshops in circus skills (cool!)
- Slackline, unicycle & hammocks
- Book exchange & games
Honestly, you’ll probably find yourself doing nothing but chilling and chatting. Made so easy thanks to the bean bags, shady decks and lush garden.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
2. Piwaka Lodge & Backpackers
Looking for fabulous hospitality? You’ll love it at Piwaka Lodge & Backpackers with the lovely Nicci.
A homely vibe spreads around the place. The kind that makes you want to keep extending your stay.
Enjoy vintage style and cosy beds with a balance of social and private time.
It is located in the heart of Picton, a short stroll to cafes and opposite a handy supermarket.
Best Hostels in Nelson: INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers
Carry on along route 6 from Picton and soon enough you’ll reach Nelson. This is your chance to try out caving, visit Abel Tasman National Park and enjoy local arts and crafts.
Once again we have only one hostel recommendation.
Welcome to the beautiful boutique hostel known as INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers.
With gorgeous design and a handy location minutes from Nelson city, you may have a hard time choosing where to spend your time. We advise splitting it equally!
Relax with a book or board game in the lounge area, and get a BBQ going in the courtyard with old and new friends.
The Wi-fi is fast and the breakfast is free.
Friendly staff know their stuff about local activities and will happily help book your adventures.
Best Hostels in Takaka (Golden Bay): The Gazebo Backpackers
Here we have a lovely home hostel offering a smaller, quieter experience in the laid-back area of Golden Bay. Takaka itself is renowned for artists, live musicians and organic produce.
Stay at The Gazebo Backpackers if you like the sound of an open air solar shower and wandering around without your clothes on.
Yes you read that right: this hostel is clothing optional!
Lounge in one of two gardens or veg out with some Netflix. Town is reachable by foot, bike or a short car ride.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Hostelworld
Best Hostels in Punakaiki: Punakaiki Beach Hostel
Fancy visiting the Paparoa National Park? The Pancake Rocks are a tourist hot spot, along with plenty of other typically stunning New Zealand nature.
Punakaiki Beach Hostel is certainly the best place to stay in the area.
Let’s set the scene.
Wake up to views over the beach from your bed. Relax to the sounds of the sea whilst munching on homemade bread, cakes and muffins and end the day with a sunset from the verandah.
Need we say more? See you there.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
Best Hostels in Oxford: Oxford Queenette Backpackers
On route to Christchurch is the small town of Oxford. It’s the kind of place where life is slow and the opportunity to experience ‘real’ New Zealand is strong.
Check out local markets and arts and crafts, and wind down with some cycling and kayaking around the area.
There’s a reason it has been named as the “best little town in New Zealand”!
Oxford Queenette Backpackers is a small, cosy family-run backpackers hostel for the budget traveller.
It’s basic, with everything you need.
Wi-fi, kitchen, lounge, ready-made bed – it’s all there. The central location makes it a great base to get out and explore.
Best Hostels in Christchurch: All Stars Inn on Bealey
Known for its English heritage, Christchurch is a pretty city that sits on the east coast of the South Island. We recommend gliding down the Avon River on a flat-bottomed punt.
Either that or grab a bike and cycle the river banks and within the green expanse of Hagley Park and impressive botanic gardens.
Not far from the city centre is All Stars Inn on Bealey.
You’ll notice modern touches that will make you smile, such as double-bed dorms and a TV and fridge in each room.
It’s next door to a popular ale house which offers yummy food – all guests are offered a great deal to keep costs low.
Some rooms have tremendous views, and everyone can make use of the huge garden area. Win-win!
It’s a 25-minute stroll to the city centre from here.
Best Hostels in Oamaru: Oamaru Backpackers
Further along the east coast you may find yourself in Oamaru. Why?
Well for one thing, it is home to two blue penguin colonies! That and a host of handsome stone buildings and hip cafes.
One of the best attractions in our opinion has to be Oamaru Backpackers.
The selection of rooms each has their own name. The shared dorm is known as the penguin colony, how cute! Each bunk has a privacy curtain.
Whether you’re a solo traveller, couple or a small group os friends, you’ll feel at home here.
Make use of the:
- Beautiful garden space
- Homely lounge areas
- Complimentary breakfast
- Unlimited Wi-fi
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
Best Hostels in Queenstown
Get your daily dose of adrenaline at the adventure capital of the world; Queenstown!
Bungy jumping, vibrant bars, jet boating, mountains and glacial lake – there is so much to get excited for.
Whilst you’re deciding whether or not to jump out of a plane, we’ve done all the hard work in finding great hostels in the area.
Yet I’m afraid you’ll still have to choose between four – yes four! – fun hostels. Sorry, not sorry.
The best hostels in Queenstown are:
Our more in-depth guide to the best hostels in Queenstown is here.
1. Sir Cedrics Tahuna Pod Hostel
Did someone say pod-style hostel with double-bed dorms?! Sustainable materials, privacy curtains and unique design really make this hostel stand out from the crowd.
Prise yourself our of bed and you won’t be disappointed.
Pass the time over a yummy (free) breakfast and, on a good day, out on the BBQ/balcony area.
Extra: each night there is homemade soup on offer.
There is a cool Ice Bar in Queensland, and it so happens you’ll get free entry if you stay at Sir Cedrics.
2. Haka Lodge Queenstown
It’s Haka time again!
This upmarket hostel chain has continued its legacy to Queenstown, with hotel-style rooms and custom built bunks.
It’s more of a house share than a hostel, with an emphasis on recycling and conscious food waste composting.
Walk just one block and you’ll find yourself in the centre of town. Perfect.
3. Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Our second from last option is by far the most sociable thanks to organised activities 5 nights a week.
Alongside trivia evenings and movie nights, there’s endless tea and coffee and awesome balcony spaces.
We love the dorm rooms as they’e not too big. Expect just 4-6 beds, with an extra 5-bed female dorm. Store your stuff under the bed and draw the curtain for some privacy.
It also happens to be the most central accommodation in Queensland!
4. JUCY Snooze Queenstown
How do pod beds and a rooftop bar and cafe sound to you… pretty good, right?
In the heart of Queenstown is this rather vibrant accommodation ideal for nearly all traveller types, from solo travellers to couples.
Each pod is like a mini house, with:
- Charging station
- Privacy blind
- King-size bed
- Fan & Wi-fi
Cook a meal in the handy kitchenette and enjoy all of the adrenaline fuelled activities right on your doorstep. Knowledgeable and helpful staff are at hand 24/7.
All Best Hostels in New Zealand on a Map
Below we have put ALL of the best hostels in New Zealand mentioned in this article on a map.
That’s because we want to make your planning as hassle free and straight forward as possible!
We’ve marked them as follows:
- 5 Star Hostels: Black with White Star
- Design Hostels: Blue
- Backpacker-Type Hostel: Orange
- Other recommendations: Purple
(View full sized map here)
More Hostels in Oceania
There are many, many awesome hostels in Oceania to be discovered and enjoyed, including out-of-this-world 5 star hostels.
Easy: find all of the best hostels in Oceania here.
We’ve gone one step further and created these awesome guides to nearby destinations to New Zealand:
- 34 best hostels in Australia including
- best hostels in Sydney
- best hostels in Brisbane
- best hostels in Melbourne
- Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse in Tasmania
- best hostels in Cairns
- best hostels in Alice Springs
- best hostels in Airlie Beach
By now you should have the answer to your question where to stay in New Zealand. Which of the best hostels in New Zealand have you fallen in love with? Let us know!
These are a set of two incredibly beautiful islands!
This guide is your shortcut to your hostel-picks, saving you lots of time in your accommodation research.
And for sure, it gives you the security of a top-hostel choice without any bad surprises.
Then please please leave a comment below. We would be thrilled to hear from you and to help a fellow backpacker.
Have fun & Safe travels!
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Your Smart Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries