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:
- New Plymouth
- Takaka (Golden Bay)
- Franz Josef
- Lake Tekapo
- Te Anau
- Stewart Island
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 Coromandel: Tatahi Backpackers
In a little place called Hahei on the Coromandel peninsula is Tatahi Backpackers.
It’s in one of the best locations close to the CBD, and just 5-minutes from the beach on foot.
Boasting free bikes, a cosy lounge and a garden, we know you’re going to love it here.
There’s a mix of mixed dorms and private rooms with gorgeous wooden design and big windows that flood the room with light.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
Best Hostels in Tauranga: ArtHouse Accommodation
Modern, artistic and creative, ArtHouse Accommodation Boutique Backpackers in situated in the heart of the city.
These guys believe in getting high on life, so there is strictly no alcohol or drugs allowed on site.
Instead, enjoy a relaxed time in the communal spaces which include a cosy living room, big kitchen and computer area.
It’s an easy 2-minute walk to The Strand, restaurants, beautiful scenery and grocery shops. Easy peasy.
Best Hostels in Rotorua: Funky Green Voyager
Funky Green Voyager Backpackers will make your stay in Rotorua extra special because of the…
- Big backyard with lush grass
- Eco-friendly credentials
- Log fire in the lounge
- Outdoor BBQ area
There are shared dorms, double privates and family rooms – something for everyone. The brightly coloured linen adds a funky feel.
Wifi is free, the vibes are chill and it’s just 15-minutes to the city centre on foot.
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 New Plymouth: Ducks & Drakes
Think of Ducks & Drakes Boutique Motel & Backpackers as more of a house share than a hostel.
This once private hotel from the 1920s is now a colourful, vibrant and fun place to stay.
And guess what? These guys have a sauna!
There’s also a sunroom, kitchen and long dining table that’s ideal for socialising over some food.
Brit does a great job of setting the tone of the place. Make sure you ask about a shuttle to the famous Mount Taranaki.
Best Hostels in Napier: Toad Hall Backpackers
How about homemade cake and live music next door at the weekend?
You best book your stay with Toad Hall Backpackers, in that case. We deem it the best hostel in Napier.
There’s a really great selection of rooms including mixed dorms, double, twin and triple privates. No matter which you choose they are all super homely.
Enjoy the cute rooftop space and BBQ facilities with new friends.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Booking.com
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 Whanganui: 42b College House
42b College House is the best located hostel in Whanganui.
If you’re looking for a no-frills, easy-going and comfortable place, stay here.
It’s a great choice for backpackers and small families. Those on a road trip around the island can park on-site for free.
Much fun can be had thanks to the:
- Free breakfast
- Great garden w/ BBQ area
- Pool table, table tennis, piano
- Board games
To top it off the staff are highly involved and really go out of their way to make you feel at home.
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): 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 Gazebo Golden Bay 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.
You’ll be staying in the home of owner Paul and his dog Raichel. It’s kept super cosy with a maximum of 8-10 guests at a time.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Hostelworld
Best Hostels in Kaikoura
If you’re heading to Kaikoura you’re probably going to enjoy the wildlife. It’s possible to get close to seal colonies, swim with dolphins and head out on a whale excursion. Not to mention the stunning coastline and mountains.
There are two hostel worth mentioning in Kaikoura:
1. Dusky Lodge & Backpackers
Did someone say salt water hot pool and fresh water spa?! Just two of the great amenities that Dusky Lodge & Backpackers boast.
The best bakery in town is right next door, and it’s just a 5-minute walk to town from here.
This is the largest hostel in Kaikoura, so they have included 3 kitchens so make sure there is not a rush. Make sure you also enjoy the BBQ!
Mixed dorms, doubles, twins, family rooms – it’s all included here.
2. Albatross Backpacker Inn
Next up on our recommendation list is Albatross Backpacker Inn.
This eco-friendly hostel goes one step further in creating a special space for travellers from around the world.
Just a few inclusions worth mentioning are:
- Free pancake Sundays
- Colourful lounge w/ instruments, board games, books
- Hammocks & bean bags
- Herb & veggie garden
The staff are made up of travellers that know details matter. That’s why there is free tea & coffee, a tour desk and a cute cat to cuddle.
Compare prices and read reviews at: Hostelworld
Best Hostels in Westport: Trip Inn Hostel (YHA)
At the end of walking the Heaphy Track, you may consider a night in Westport on route to the west coast or Arthur’s Pass.
If so, we can’t recommend Trip Inn Hostel enough. We stayed here and loved it.
Friendly staff, relaxing spaces, big garden. All of that and the option to stay in your tent if you wish! In fact, there is also a cute caravan option.
It’s set in a quiet street very close to the town and i-Site.
Plus there are some cute hostel pets that love a good scratch behind the ears!
Best Hostels in Greymouth: Global Village Travellers Lodge
Ok seriously, Global Village Travellers Lodge will have you changing your mind if you were thinking of missing out a visit to Greymouth.
Let’s show you why:
- Free use to bicycles, kayaks, fishing rods, tennis rackets
- Private hot spa, sauna and fitness room
- Special deal for multi night stays
- Lounge with a log fire
Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Each bed comes with a personal light, little shelf and plug socket to charge your phone.
The supermarket is just around the corner and the nearest beach is a 15-minute walk away.
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 Franz Josef: Glow Worm Accommodation
What better way than warming up after a glacier trip by a log fire and in a hot bubbly spa pool.
Welcome to Glow Worm Accommodation!
In the center of Franz Josef you can find a range of backpacker dorms and private ensuite rooms.
Enjoy a free breakfast in the morning, free homemade soup in the evening and free use of the spa pool all day long. Oh yeah.
The cosy kitchen-lounge area is full of games for social nights, too.
Best Hostels in Lake Tekapo: YHA Lake Tekapo
If you’re going to visit Lake Tekapo, you may as well sleep right on its shorefront.
That’s why we’ve included YHA Lake Tekapo as our #1 hostel recommendation. You can actually see the lake from their private rooms!
However, if you’re saving money by booking a dorm, you can still enjoy the view from the common area.
Good to know: the maximum stay is 7 nights & the hostel is child-friendly
The best bit? There’s an onsite burger bar. Yum!
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.
Best Hostels in Te Anau: Lakefront Backpackers
Te Anau is the gateway to the fabulous fjordlands of New Zealand and Milford Sound, and we suggest the best place to stay is Te Anau Lakefront Backpackers.
Notice something unusual about the photo below? That’s right, no bunk beds!
It’s the perfect space to wind down and regain your energy after exciting adventures.
Make use of the laundry facilities, free Wifi, movie room and close proximity to the shops.
AND! There is an option to stay in a super cool glamping tent in the garden.
Best Hostels in Dunedin: Hogwartz Backpackers and Studios
None of the impressively spacious rooms at Hogwartz Backpackers and Studios have more than 6-beds, and zero bunks!
It’s also possible to book private rooms including a superior queen double and family room.
In our opinion, it’s ideal for chilling out and enjoying some peace and quiet. The layour is simple and has everything you need. The staff are friendly.
Best Hostels in Stewart Island: Stewart Island Backpackers
The lovely couple at Stewart Island Backpackers are excited to welcome you to their home, which is evident by their hospitality.
It’s a typical backpacker hostel with emphasis on bringing people together in a relaxed and no-frills setting.
Luckily for you, there are no bunk beds on site and a maximum of 4-beds per room. Cosy!
There’s a nice lounge area stacked full with DVDs, games, books and a music system.
In the garden it’s possible to pitch up your tent on one of their flat sites.
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