I’ve stayed in fancy hotels with work but to me hostels are way better, with generous communal spaces, well equipped kitchens, often quirky features, and are usually located centrally. I’m not a fan of shared rooms however but most have private rooms available for less than a hotel room. Here are a few memorable ones from my travels around Aotearoa…
Christchurch – The Jailhouse
Get your own jail cell which is an experience, though they’re not renowned for their sound proofing with a massive echoey central area. It’s in Addington which has plenty of restaurants around but is a bit of a trek into town, made easier by hiring a bike, and is a 20 mins walk from the TranzAlpine train station.
Greymouth – Duke Hostel
To be honest staying overnight in Greymouth is a bit excessive, an hour stopover on the TranzAlpine day trip from Christchurch is enough time to see the place, but this has to be the most colourful place I’ve ever stayed in.
Queenstown – Haka Lodge
Very central (particularly given the sprawl around the lake and hillside), two kitchens with a balcony connecting them, small but tidy rooms and a labyrinth layout, which confuses me still even after three stays.
Auckand – Piha Homestay Hostel
Possibly my favourite hostel, and closest to home, being only an hour’s drive away. Feels further though, surrounded by native bush, and is two minutes walk away from the start of a great series of tracks through the Waitakere’s, highlights being the Maungaroa Lookout, Kauri Grove and Kitekite Falls tracks, before returning for a welcome shower and rest by the fireplace.
Wanaka – YHA
Slightly odd private room arrangements, shared with one other private room in little cabins, but has a lovely open common area, kept warm by a roaring fire, where you can sit and look out across the green to Lake Wanaka and the mountains. The perfect place to rest up after good day walks in the area.
Wellington – YHA
Huge and fairly basic but super central, across the road from New World, a few minutes from Te Papa and not far to Oriental Bay.
Mt Cook – YHA
Somewhat cheaper than the Hermitage but with the same ready access to stunning alpine scenery, though despite several trips the only time I’ve seen the top of Mt Cook was from the air. I’ve done a lot of tramping though and never been bitten by as many sand flies as I was overnight staying here.
Te Anau – YHA
There’s not a huge amount of choice in Te Anau so given the amount of tramping I’ve done in the area I’ve stayed there quite a few times. Does the job though and fits in with the general feel of the town, feels like going back in time twenty years from the development of Queenstown and Wanaka. Not for everyone but I do quite like the feel of being pretty much at the end of the world.
Tekapo – Lake Tekapo Backpackers
Very homely place, complete with funky outdoor furniture, not far from the almost unbelievably blue Lake Tekapo, best seen from the top of Mount John.