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

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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.

Where to Stay in New Zealand on a Budget

Bridge Backpackers – Best Overall Hostel in Nelson

Bridge Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Bridge Backpackers is our pick for best overall hostel in Nelson

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.

YHA Nelson by Accents – Best Cheap Hostel in Nelson

YHA Nelson by Accents best hostels in Nelson
YHA Nelson by Accents is our pick for best hostel cheap hostel in Nelson

Ok, this place reckons it can save you a loads 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.

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Aether Backpack

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Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

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

The Palace Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
The Palace Backpackers is our pick for best hostel with a private room in Nelson

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.

Paradiso Backpackers – Best Party Hostel in Nelson

Paradiso Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Paradiso Backpackers is our pick for best party hostel in Nelson

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.

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

The Bouncing Lamb Nelson best hostels in Nelson
The Bouncing Lamb Nelson is our pick for best hostel for solo travellers in Nelson

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.

INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers – Best Hostel for Couples in Nelson

INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers is our pick for best hostel for couples in Nelson

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.

The Fellworth House – Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Nelson

The Fellworth House best hostels in Nelson
The Fellworth House is our pick for best hostel for digital nomads in Nelson

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.

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

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 Customs House

The Customs House best hostels in Nelson
The Customs House

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

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.

The Fountain Backpackers

The Fountain Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
The Fountain Backpackers

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

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.

Almond House Backpackers

Almond House Backpackers best hostels in Nelson
Almond House Backpackers

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!

What to Pack for your Nelson Hostel

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out our definitive Hostel Packing list for our top packing tips!

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

FAQ about Hostels in Nelson

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Nelson.

How much does a hostel cost in Nelson?

The average price of hostels in Nelson starts from $17 – $24+ per night. Of course, the private rooms are on the higher end of the scale than the dorm beds.

What are the best hostels in Nelson for couples?

Check out these ideal hostels for couples in Nelson:
INNBetween Lodge & Backpackers
YHA Nelson
Tasman Bay Backpackers

What is the best hostel in Nelson near the airport?

The Custom House is an 11-minute drive from the Nelson Airport. It’s also close to the beach and a walking distance from the city centre.

Travel Safety Tips for Nelson

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

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!

Looking for more info on travelling to Nelson and New Zealand?