13 Most Unique Backpacker Hostels in New Zealand
The weirdest places you’ll ever stay.
Staying in a hostel in New Zealand doesn’t just have to be about finding a bed for the night. Some backpacker hostels are a unique experience in itself, whether it’s a unique theme giving the place character or a renovated historic building. Stay in a tombstone-themed room or even out on the Abel Tasman water.
Some of the quirkiest accommodation, however, can be found off the beaten track. These lodges usually offer adventurous activities and are also home to native New Zealand wildlife. They are a great way of experiencing the Kiwi lifestyle and the great outdoors while still having the comfort of a proper bed (or bunk) that we backpackers have grown to love.
All the better, the accommodation listed below is in the range of a backpacker budget of NZ20-40 per night.
1. River Valley Lodge
Part of New Zealand’s charm is discovering hidden gems, such as River Valley Lodge. Its bunkrooms with the mattresses pushed together are nicknamed ‘the spooning rooms’. And the method of getting across the river is an extreme activity in itself! River Valley also provides outstanding white water rafting.
Location: Taihape, North Island
Check River Valley Lodge out!
2. Blue Duck Station
Not only is Blue Duck a fun and quirky place to stay with an array of activities, but it also focuses on the conservation of New Zealand’s rare species such as kiwi, weta and, of course, the blue duck/whio. The backpacker accommodation is either the Whio Lodge or the River Quarters.
Location: Whanganui, North Island
Check Blue Duck Station out!
3. Gunn’s Camp
If visiting Milford Sound or tramping in the dramatic landscape of Fiordland National Park, make sure to stay in this eccentric camp full of history and solitude. Leave the rest of the world behind with no cell coverage. You stay in comfortable cabins and have access to the gas cookers, hot showers and lounge with a wood burner. There is electricity, but this starts at 7am then goes off at 10pm!
Location: Fiordland National Park, South Island
Check Gunn’s Camp out!
4. Jailhouse Accommodation
Ever wanted to spend the night behind bars like some hardened criminal? Well, you can in Addington Prison, which is now renovated into a backpacker hostel.
Location: Christchurch, South Island
Check Jaihouse Accommodation out!
5. Onuku Farm Hostel
Need a place to stay while you take a trip to swim or kayak with dolphins? Onuku is a traditional New Zealand farm offering budget accommodation with camping grounds, cabins and the communal area is in a farmhouse! Remember to say hi the woolly residence here.
Location: Akaroa, South Island
Check Onuku Farm Hostel out!
6. Bazil’s Hostel
Bazil’s has a cool vintage feel to it, yet it is oozing with comfort. There are hammocks to lazy around in, a lounge with a log burner and beanbags, and another lounge with grandma chairs. The most unique thing about Bazil’s Hostel is the kitchen you actually want to cook in!
Location: Westport, South Island
Check Bazil’s Hostel out!
7. Tombstone Backpackers
“Rest in peace” at the Tombstone Backpackers. If you hadn’t guessed, this hostel has a spooky theme, which is apparent as you enter the hostel through a coffin-shaped door. A unique place to stay if you’re exploring the magnificent Marlborough Sounds or need to catch a ferry to the North Island. Plus, breakfast is free! (Freshly baked scones… Mmm…)
Location: Marlborough, South Island
Check Tombstone Backpackers out!
8. The Bug Backpackers
It’s a backpacker hostel with a VW Beetle obsession starting with the green Beetle as its mascot… Other than that, The Bug Backpackers is a super comfortable and clean hostel.
Location: Nelson, South Island
Check The Bug Backpackers out!
What’s not to love about a floating backpacker hostel? Unless you get seasick… Enjoy a BBQ and BYO on the waters of the Abel Tasman National Park.
Location: Abel Tasman National Park, South Island
Check Aquapackers out!
If you are still waiting on that acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, then there is an alternative in New Zealand! (FYI, this is just the view from Hogwartz… You won’t be sleeping in the church).
Location: Dunedin, South Island
Check Hogwartz out!
11. Waipara Sleepers
Since backpackers love to travel, take the travel theme further by staying in a 1940s train carriage. Plus the hostel is also home to a lovely art gallery to give it an even bigger appeal.
Location: North Canterbury, South Island
Check Waipara Sleepers out!
12. Noah’s Ark Backpackers
The backpackers went in 2 by 2, hurrah, hurrah! Or 5 to 8, or 4, depending on which dormitory they are in… Noah’s Ark Backpackers obviously has an animal theme for each room.
Location: Greymouth, South Island
Check Noah’s Ark Backpackers out!
13. Te Nikau Retreat
When they say a “retreat” they mean it, as Te Nikau is located in the West Coast bush – a unique and adventurous location for a backpacker lodge in New Zealand!
Location: Punakaiki, South Island
Check Te Nikau Retreat out!
Want more quirky places to stay?
For those with a bigger budget, there are Hobbit holes and giant boots to sleep in on the North Island and the South Island. You may also want to check out these 22 BIG Things in New Zealand for strange sculptures in Kiwi towns.
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