Sun-soaked Nelson is a hub for creativity. It’s known for its local art scene, with a ton of galleries and crafty boutique shopping to get involved with when you hit the streets. It’s a good place to get to know the Maori culture, too.

Nelson is also surrounded by stunning nature, including golden beaches and pristine forests, attracting people from all over for hiking and kayaking.

It’s also famous for being the actual centre of New Zealand (yes, that’s a thing).

But the thing is: you need to know what you want to do. Do you wanna be near the waterfront? Staying in a suburb close to nature? Or do you wanna party in the centre of town?

No matter what you want to do, we’ve got you covered with our selection of the best hostels in Nelson, so you can find the place that suits you best. We’ve also put them into handy categories, to make it even easier for you to decide.

So what are you waiting for? Get reading about this creative town and find somewhere to book up!

Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Nelson

Best Hostels in Nelson

12 Best Hostels in Nelson

Backpacking New Zealand and thinking about stopping over in Nelson? If you’re an art lover who also appreciates the beauty of nature, then Nelson is the right spot for you! To keep the travel costs low you can choose from one of the best hostels in the city.

Best Overall Hostel in Nelson – Bridge Backpackers

Bridge Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Bridge Backpackers is our pick for best overall hostel in Nelson
  • $$$
  • Fitness Centre
  • Cable TV
  • Laundry Facilities

Bridge Backpackers is the best overall hostel in Nelson because of, well, a number of reasons but first of all, it’s literally right across the road from a bus stop – so you won’t be having to lug your bag around town, Google Maps in hand. So that’s a plus.

Once you arrive… you’ll clock straight away that it’s a super stylish, modern hostel. THE coolest hostel in Nelson. Basically designed with millennial flashpackers in mind, it features cool art, swinging chairs, and loads of space to meet new mates and all that stuff. It doesn’t come cheap, but it IS very much the best hostel in Nelson.

Best Party Hostel in Nelson – Paradiso Backpackers

Paradiso Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Paradiso Backpackers is our pick for best party hostel in Nelson
  • $$$
  • Volleyball Court
  • Sauna
  • Free Breakfast

Are you ready to party in a cool atmosphere? Yep, this might just be the best party hostel in Nelson. Ok, so it doesn’t have a bar, but it does have a heated pool that you can lounge around with a few (store-bought) drinks. That suits us just fine.

A party hostel, pure and simple, with a great atmosphere and good vibes, there’s plenty of space at this Nelson backpackers hostel for you to spread yourself out, get chatting, get drinking, and make yourself up a lil’ squad to hit the town with when night falls. Good stuff.

Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Nelson –  The Bouncing Lamb Nelson

The Bouncing Lamb Nelson best hostels in Nelson
The Bouncing Lamb Nelson is our pick for best hostel for solo travellers in Nelson
  • $$
  • Shuttle Bus
  • Jobs Boards
  • Laundry Facilities

Bouncing Lamb? Who came up with that? Well, they say because “it’s full of energy and excitement and in awe of the world around it.” Fair enough. And if that sounds like you, then this is probably the Nelson backpackers hostel for you.

The staff are really happy and welcoming, which is always good if you’re travelling by yourself. It’s not only that that makes it the best hostel for solo travellers in Nelson, but it’s also 5 mins away by feet to the beach, and has a great mindset: they say it’s not about lists of rules on the wall, but more about the smell of BBQs and a cold beer. Yep, couldn’t agree more.

Best Hostel Cheap Hostel in Nelson YHA Nelson by Accents

YHA Nelson by Accents best hostels in Nelson
YHA Nelson by Accents is our pick for best hostel cheap hostel in Nelson
  • $
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • Musical Instruments (Like It Or Not)
  • Airport Shuttle

Ok, this place reckons it can save you a load of money by staying there. And really, it’s true. Especially long stays; it gets cheaper the longer you stay. Makes sense – IF that’s what you want to be doing at this budget hostel in Nelson, of course.

It’s a purpose-built hostel right in the centre of town, which saves you extra dollar on public transport, since you can just use your legs to get about. There’s no bar, but bringing your own booze also keeps costs down. Plus the free freshly baked bread is like heaven. So, yeah – definitely the best cheap hostel in Nelson.

Best Hostel for Couples in Nelson – INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers

INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers is our pick for best hostel for couples in Nelson
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Restaurant & Bar
  • Games Room

This boutique hostel in the centre of Nelson means being able to get around with your partner very easily – that means being able to see and try out restaurants, cafes, the nightlife, bars, galleries, markets, you name it.

Boutique by name and by style, the private rooms are super nice and clean, which is part of the reason why it’s our top pick for the best hostel for couples in Nelson. There’s also funky little stuff like a juke box in the hostel bar, and big leather arm chairs. Feels more ‘couples getaway’ than basic Nelson backpackers hostel.

Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Nelson – The Fellworth House

The Fellworth House best hostels in Nelson
The Fellworth House is our pick for best hostel for digital nomads in Nelson
  • $$$
  • Heritage Building
  • Self Catering Facilities
  • Free Parking

So, you’re in Nelson to do a bit of remote working, and this top Nelson hostel (more like a B&B) offers a good bit of solitude so you can hit your deadlines and check your emails in peace. Might be a bit pricey but worth it for that calmness – and it’s a 10 min walk to central.

Located inside a downright luxurious old house packed full of antique furniture, and hardwood floors, it’s not only the best hostel for digital nomads in Nelson but it’s also one of the coolest hostels in Nelson, too. If your work is about travel, then you’re gonna wanna Insta the F outta this place, for real.

Best Hostel with a Private Room in Nelson – The Palace Backpackers

The Palace Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
The Palace Backpackers is our pick for best hostel with a private room in Nelson
  • $$
  • Garden
  • Book Exchange
  • Free Food (Including Breakfast!)

Yes, this place does ostentatiously calls itself a ‘Palace’ but ‘Backpackers’ is also in there, so you know, it kinda balances itself out. Located inside a big heritage house, and filled with stuff like antique rugs and overflowing bookshelves, the private are big and old world-style.

It’s got a garden where people do BBQs and bonfires, and there are swinging hammocks too, and people play guitar here… y’know, all that backpacker-y jazz. So yeah, best hostel with a private room in Nelson, since you get a very nice room, with all the social benefits and vibes of a Nelson backpackers hostel.

Things DO go missing sometimes…

lock iconPsst! Heading to a hostel? Don’t forget to pack a padlock! It’s well worth having one so you can secure your locker and protect your stuff!

More Best Hostels in Nelson

Looking for more places? Just like the rest of New Zealands hostels, you’ll be blown away by the hospitality, staff friendliness and quality of Nelson’s hostels.

The Fountain Backpackers

The Fountain Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
The Fountain Backpackers
  • $$
  • Bicycle Hire
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Jobs Board

Small but perfectly formed (lol), this top hostel in Nelson has a warm and welcoming vibe – the sorta welcome you want after a long journey, right? It’s cosy and clean with a chill garden where you can meet people and chat about your Kiwi road trip.

The hostel arranges fun activities, like group hikes, trips to the market, stuff like that, making it easy to get to know other peeps staying here. Always a plus. So aside from being great for social people, it really does make it one of the best hostels for solo travellers in Nelson.

Downtown Accommodation Backpackers

Downtown Accommodation Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Downtown Accommodation Backpackers
  • $
  • Shuttle Bus
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Late Check-out

Claiming to offer quality backpacker accommodation, this budget hostel in Nelson also advertises itself as a decent place to stay long term. It’s a good place if you’re looking to party, since it’s located literally above a nightclub. Not so good if you’re into a good night’s sleep.

So yeah, it’s a great place to stay if you want a good night out – loads of other bars in town are very close by, making it a top party hostel in Nelson, that’s for sure. Bunk beds and private rooms make it good for both unfussy backpackers and people who NEED their OWN SPACE.

The Customs House

The Customs House best hostels in Nelson
The Customs House
  • $
  • Heritage Building
  • Bar (With Pool Table)
  • Outdoor Terrace

This budget hostel in Nelson is literally sat on the waterfront and occupies a restored 120-year-old customs house, which we think is pretty darn cool. And you will too if you like history and heritage and stuff like that.

It’s close to the beach and in walking distance to the city centre, meaning you get the best of both worlds. Soooo… it might not be the cleanest place ever, and the staff might not always be on their A-game (i.e. they’re sometimes AWOL), but the location is sick and the onsite bar is decent.

Prince Albert Backpackers

Prince Albert Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Prince Albert Backpackers
  • $$
  • Bar
  • Free Breakfast
  • Loads Of Activities

Mmmm…. So this one is like staying above a pub, basically. However, it is geared towards backpackers, as you might’ve guessed from the name. The rooms are really clean with comfy beds and there’s a kitchen you can use to rustle yourself up some grub.

Downstairs you can play foosball in the pub and have a beer with some locals. A plus is that they have cheap drinks rates for backpackers. Loads of activities going on make it a good Nelson hostel for solo travellers. Loadsa free stuff (bike hire, breakfast, etc.) make it great for sticking to your budget.

Almond House Backpackers

Almond House Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Almond House Backpackers
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bicycle Hire
  • Laundry Facilities

A recommended hostel in Nelson to stay all year round: summer season is all about BBQs in the hostel garden and swinging in the hammock with a beer (or lemonade – we don’t judge); winter’s all about reading books curled up in the cosy hostel lounge.

The friendly atmosphere makes it easy to meet other people and it’s just a 10 min walk from the centre of the city, meaning you’re not out in the sticks nor too much in party central. It’s all about balance. Oh – and they have AN ACTUAL PIZZA OVEN!

The Best Travel Backpack?!
Nomatic 30L Travel Bag

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Bag.

Read our full review!

What to Pack for your Nelson Hostel

We don’t often travel without these essentials.

Powerbank

1. Power Bank: Showing up to a new city, after a 14-hour bus ride, with a dead phone and no directions to your hostel is a half-awake, messy nightmare. Putting a good power bank in your pack is the best and easiest way to keep your important electronics charged up for those long travel and sightseeing days.

Headphone Spltter

2. Headphone Splitter: You’re the one with the Netflix account and your friend wants to watch too? But you don’t want to share headphones? And you’re good people who wouldn’t disturb your dorm mates? That’s not going to be a problem with this Headphone Splitter! Plug in two pairs of headphones at the same time, so both of you are able to listen to music or watch shows simultaneously. It comes in handy and won’t weigh you down.

Active Roots Water Bottle

3. Active Roots Water Bottle: Sturdy and durable, the Active Roots water bottle survives the roughest adventures while keeping your drink cold or hot for at least 24 hours. Vacuum-sealed and made from stainless steel, the bottle can fit 25oz, which is plenty to keep you hydrated. Super cool bonus: the bottle isn’t just super useful, it helps to reduce the single-use plastic waste –  save the planet by filling up your bottle.

best toiletry bag for one bag travel

4. Active Roots Toiletry Bag: Keep your bath-and-beauty items organized and in the right place with this water-resistant bag. With large compartments, mesh and enclosed clear sections, you can fit everything you might need inside. Hang it up or let it stand on its own – this bag is a must-have for dorm-lifers.

Travel Pillow

5. TRTL Travel Pillow: Nothing is worse than a sleep-deprived and grumpy backpacker. Do yourself a favour and get some decent rest with this comfortable TRTL travel pillow. The ergonomic design (fancy!) makes it possible to sleep upright, which can be a real struggle with normal neck pillows. Having this cool pillow makes long bus rides or flights way more enjoyable – and who knows, maybe you’ll even be looking forward to it next time. If so, leave those guys a good review.

Travel Pocket Soaps

6. Sea to Summit Travel Soap: Soap can be very useful on long travels, but it’s hard to carry around. It might get taken off you at the airport or leak in your backpack. This Sea to Summit Travel Soap is the perfect solution for every backpacker with a thought for hygiene. The dry soap is super handy, and it definitely won’t leak (there’s nothing to leak). One box contains 50 leaves of soap, making sure that you’ll be clean, even on longer adventures.

Why you should travel to Nelson

So, there it is, the best hostels in Nelson in a nutshell. And categorised for your convenience.

Isn’t that handy?

Now, whether you’re a party animal or a couple looking for a calm place to stay, we hope you can find a Nelson backpackers hostel for you.

And whether you want to stay in a suburb or in the centre of town, chances are you’ll be wanting to stay in one of Nelson’s many amazing heritage houses and buildings. One of the places on our list is literally over a century old! How cool is that?!

But if you still can’t decide… Well, we’d say you should stay at Bridge Backpackers – that’s our pick for the best overall hostel in Nelson and a very decent all-round choice.

Bridge Backpackers best hostels in Nelson

Travel Safety Tips for Nelson

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!

world nomads insurance banner

More Epic Hostels in New Zealand and Oceania

Hopefully by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Nelson.

Planning an epic trip all across New Zealand or even Oceania itself?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

For more cool hostel guides around Oceania, check out:

Over to you

By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Nelson has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure!

If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps keep the site going.