An Honest Review of New Zealand Hostels (North Island)

I spent 4 weeks travelling around New Zealand, starting in Auckland and ending in Christchurch. Some hostels were great, a few were very much less-than-great so hopefully you will find my experiences useful! Here is my round-up of the accommodation I stayed in on the North Island. South Island accommodation review coming soon!


Haka Lodge – I wanted somewhere comfortable and private to try my best to tackle jetlag before starting my Kiwi Experience tour. I chose a double room which was well-decorated and adequately sized – it had a tv and full length mirror which were nice touches and it made for a great first night in NZ! I was pretty exhausted on my first night so I didn’t see much of the communal areas but I can say that the Reception staff were very friendly, which was lovely to have after a 40 hour journey..!

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach Holiday Park – ‘Glamping’! Ok, that might be stretching it a bit but, this was a great campsite and just a short stroll to the attraction of Hot Water Beach. There were good facilities at the site – large communal seating areas and numerous kitchens for different areas of the campsite. The tent itself was fine, obviously nothing spectacular but a fun experience nonetheless!



Hotel Kiwi Paka – This was a cool little site, with the legendary Curley’s pub a stone’s throw away 🙂 The room itself was quite spacious but basic and there were some nice outside areas to sit and chill before activities! The kitchen was basic but well-stocked so no complaints there.


Tamaki Maori Village – AMAZING!!! What an experience this was. The village accommodation was beautifully ornate traditional huts, and it was so interesting to hear about the history of the Maori people and their culture. The facilities at the village were fantastic – there is an on-site bar, three hot tubs and a fire pit! The overnight stay at the Tamaki Maori Village really was a highlight of my trip and I can’t recommend it highly enough.


Urban Retreat – The rooms here were extremely small, I was in a 4-bed room and when each of our bags were in the room, there really was no floorspace left so I don’t think I would stay here again based on my 3 nights here. I also saw a couple of the other rooms and although the 6/8-bed dorms were bigger, they were also very cramped when all of the bags were in the rooms so people could only really sit on their beds as there was such a lack of space in the rooms. However, it is worth noting that the social areas were great here; an on-site bar and pool tables which could convert into beer pong were great for the evenings!

River Valley

River Valley Lodge – This was definitely a very unique night, spent in what is affectionately known as the ‘orgy pit’..! There are private and smaller dorm rooms available however the cheapest and arguably more fun option is probably the ‘orgy pit’ – like a normal bunk but with a long extended mattress so that a row of about 20+ people are technically sharing! The rest of the Lodge was very much ‘back-to-basics’ as there is no wifi/mobile connection, limited running water which is sourced from the valley and use of their organic vegetables which are grown on-site. It feels like being at a technology detox retreat – certainly not a bad thing! It was actually lovely to spend the night playing cards and chatting by the open fire instead of checking Instagram all night! I opted to have a roast dinner which was provided by workers at the Lodge so I didn’t use the kitchen facilities myself, however I have since read that it is very small and something which some people appear dissatisfied with – worth considering if you are planning on spending more than one night at the River Valley Lodge.


Base – For the ladies out there, I would definitely recommend paying out a few extra dollars and staying on the female-only Sanctuary floor. After a few weeks spent in regular hostels, this felt like such a luxury! There weren’t drastic differences between this and a standard dorm but the room seemed a little bigger and the staff definitely went the extra mile when cleaning this floor – and the small extras such as complimentary towels and toiletries gave it more of a ‘homely’ feel! It was much needed after a few weeks in regular hostel dorms. Base Wellington also has a good basement bar which is reasonably priced and we enjoyed going there for pre-drinks before experiencing the great Wellington nightlife!

That wraps up my North Island accommodation review, let me know you think in the comments below or tweet me @evierosetravels. Visit back soon for my South Island accommodation review!

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