New Zealand has been the mainstay of backpackers for many years. Think adventure sports and camper van road trips, and this far-flung island nation springs to mind. But it’s also got white beaches and cool cities, plus in recent years it’s gotten a lot more famous thanks to those tricksy little Hobbitses.

Travel here can be cheap and adventurous. However, the distance between its main hubs is pretty vast, and the difference between the north and south island quite distinct at times. So where do you wanna hit up on your New Zealand trip? How do you split your time? And moreover, where you gonna stay?

Don’t worry. We got you. We’ve gone through the cities of the north and south islands to find the best hostels in New Zealand, to make your life MUCH easier.

So whether you want a slice of vibey nightlife, or if you want mountainous hikes and epic nature, there’ll be a town for that – and a hostel to suit you. So let’s have a look…

Quick answer: The Best Hostels in New Zealand

Best Hostels in New Zealand

Best Hostels in Auckland

Though this major city on the north shore of the north island is a hub of things to do in itself (the views from the Sky Tower being one), the surrounding area is a mash of beautiful nature that really makes this a worthwhile place to base yourself – even if you’re not a fan of cities. When it comes to Auckland’s hostels, not all of ’em are super central either, meaning you’ll be chilling in the suburbs of New Zealand’s largest city instead.

Overall Best Hostel in Auckland – The Attic Backpackers

The Attic Backpackers best hostels in Auckland
  • $$$
  • Tour Desk
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Jobs Board

Friendly, relaxing, and centrally located, The Attic Backpackers is a top hostel in Auckland. There’s a large terrace for prime chill-out time, a sociable dining area, a tour desk, a book exchange, and a kitchen. Wi-Fi is free and you can scour the jobs board for all the latest vacancies. Don’t worry about having to climb the stairs each time you go in and out—there’s an elevator. Laundry and luggage storage are available too, and there are female-only dorms as well as well as mixed dormitories. There’s an over-18 policy.

Another Great Hostel in Auckland  YHA Auckland

YHA Auckland best hostels in New Zealand
YHA Auckland is our pick for best hostel in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • ATM
  • Laundry Facilities

This is the kind of top Auckland hostel that you’re gonna want to stay at. The brand spanking new facility has got itself a big communal kitchen and common room so you can whip yourself up some food and get chatting to other guests – or why not have a BBQ on the terrace with your new hostel mates.

The staff are one of the many reasons why this is our best overall hostel in Auckland, they are super friendly and will make sure you always feel welcome and know all about the nearby restaurants and bars in town.

Best Party Hostel in Auckland – Base Backpackers Auckland

Base Backpackers Auckland best hostels in New Zealand
Base Backpackers Auckland is our pick for best party hostel in Auckland in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Pool Table
  • Bar

Two bars mean that this Auckland backpackers hostel is well prepared for a drinking filled evening, which is sorta what you want out of a party hostel, isn’t it? Another thing you want is location: being close to the bars of the city is a definite, definite plus.

The big ol’ kitchen means you can cook up some grub for yourself when you stumble back in after hitting up the town, too. The staff are super friendly and, if you hit it off with your fellow travellers, you’re gonna have the best time. So, it’s pretty much the best party hostel in Auckland. When you’re reading to take a day off from partying, check out our Auckland itinerary and follow along.

Best Hostel for Couples in Auckland Haka Lodge Auckland

Haka Lodge Auckland best hostels in New Zealand
Haka Lodge Auckland is our pick for best hostel for couples in Auckland in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Jobs Boards
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Luggage Storage

If you wanna stay in a fun hostel with your partner, but also have enough space to chill out together, this place is the best hostel for couples in Auckland. The hostel has a range of rooms that are big with really comfy beds, including the private rooms with their en-suites bathrooms.

The chilled location of this Auckland backpackers hostel, downtown to be exact, is close to a few of sights and restaurants – and if you want to head into the buzz of the city centre you can reach it on foot.

Best Hostels in Wellington

The capital city of New Zealand, on the southernmost portion of the north island, is, well, a bustling big city. Wellington’s hostels are popular and filled throughout most of year. It’s a good place to base yourself if you’re gonna catch the ferry over to the south island, but aside from that, it’s a cool city to hang around in for a few days.

Make sure you know where to stay in Wellington before you book your accommodation! Get the iconic red Wellington cable-car up to the botanic gardens, geek out over some nearby Lord of the Rings locations, and wander round the historic timber houses. You’ll love it. Oh, and it has the nickname ‘Windy Wellington’ apparently, which just kills us.

Best Overall Hostel in Wellington – The Marion

The Marion best hostels in New Zealand
The Marion is our pick for best overall hostel in Wellington in New Zealand
  • $$$
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Cable TV

This place is new and shiny. Constantly rated as the best overall hostel in New Zealand (yup, it sure is), it’s SUPER clean with a crazy good location: just a block over from Cuba Street. This Wellington backpackers hostel doesn’t feel like one at all.

Sure, it might COST a little more… but it’s well worth the money. Bunk beds come with privacy curtains, the bathrooms are immaculate, and the staff are ultra helpful. I mean, what more do you want outta the best overall hostel in Wellington?

Best Party Hostel in Wellington – Nomads Capital Backpackers

Nomads Capital Backpackers best hostels in New Zealand
Nomads Capital Backpackers is our pick for best party hostel in Wellington in New Zealand
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free Dinner
  • Bar

Well, if you’re looking for one of the coolest hostels in Wellington, this is it. If you like free food (and why the hell wouldn’t you??!) then you can stuff yourself silly every morning on pancakes, and then come back for the free dinner later on. Absolute winner.

But, aside from filling you up on food, this is also the best party hostel in Wellington: staff make sure the beer is always flowing in the hostel bar. Head out to the surrounding Downtown, which comes alive in the evening with bars and nightlife hotspots.

Best Hostel for Couples in Wellington The Dwellington

The Dwellington best hostels in New Zealand
The Dwellington is our pick for best hostel for couples in Wellington in New Zealand
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Games Room
  • Outdoor Terrace

Like staying in a home away from home, the actually geniusly named Dwellington (usually puns are drab AF but we love this one) features the actually best private rooms ever. The building itself is pretty much a heritage site, too. We’re shocked that it’s a hostel really. Amazing.

Naturally, the lavish, Airbnb-style feel of the place would suit people travelling with their partner. It’s the best hostel for couples in Wellington. There’s a tennis court (no: seriously) and a cinema room, amongst other things that give this place a truly luxurious feel.

Best Hostels in Christchurch

Named after Christ Church, Oxford, this south island city is jam packed with English heritage and amazing backpacker hostels – there’s Christchurch Cathedral in the historic Cathedral Square, plus a number of other stone buildings; it’s also pretty fun to ride the heritage tramway around town. The proximity to the Southern Alps means that, mainly if you like skiing, you’ll probably like staying in Christchurch.

Best Overall Hostel in Christchurch – Juicy Snooze Christchurch

Juicy Snooze Christchurch best hostels in New Zealand
Juicy Snooze Christchurch is our pick for best overall hostel in Christchurch in New Zealand
  • $$$
  • 24 Hour Reception
  • Foosball
  • Cafe

This place is located very close to the airport, for all those fans of hassle-free travel out there – like, you can literally walk there in 10 mins. The town is also a 25 min walk away, there’s a supermarket plus a few restaurants across the food. But juicy Snooze isn’t just convenient: it’s the best overall hostel in Christchurch.

There are various rooms to suit your budget, plenty of showers/toilets to choose from (YES, no queues) chill in the huge common room, cook yourself some food – it’s great. The interior looks a bit like Tellytubby land, like a lotta astroturf inside a big warehouse and a load of bright colours. But it’s also clean.

Best Party Hostel in Christchurch – Urbanz Christchurch

Urbanz Christchurch best hostels in New Zealand
Urbanz Christchurch is our pick for best party hostel in Christchurch in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Pool Table
  • Bar

It’s a big ol’ renovated loft which is SO close to all of the main sights of the city, which is a great shout for a Christchurch backpackers hostel. What also makes this a solid option is that it sells the cheapest beer in town at its bar. Or it says that it does, anyway.

Naturally, that’s the sorta thing that’s gonna make this our top pick for the best party hostel in Christchurch. And, duh, it is. So, yeah, have a few o’ those cheap beers, get a few pool games in, and hit the town. It’s a big hostel, too, but it’s still easy to meet other people, making it great for solo travellers as well.

Best Hostel for Couples in Christchurch Kiwi Basecamp

Kiwi Basecamp best hostels in New Zealand
Kiwi Basecamp is our pick for best hostel for couples in Christchurch in New Zealand
  • $
  • Free Breakfast
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • Free Parking

Homely, relaxed, quiet, and really friendly. Yup. And if you’re the kinda person who likes freshly baked bread in the morning, then you should probably stay at this place, the best hostel for couples in Christchurch. It’s calm, not party-centric, just right for you and your partner.

Sure, sure, sure, it might be a little bit of a walk to town, but this top hostel in Christchurch also has a garden for chilling – and on top of the free bread, you also get a free pasta bake every weekday.

Best Hostels in Queenstown

Queenstown’s hostels are some of the best on the South Island. The city itself is pretty impressive too. Set on the dramatic shores of Z-shaped Lake Wakatipu, you can do classic things like bungee off the Kawarau Gorge suspension bridge (that’s SO New Zealand), skiing in the surrounding mountains, hiking. Backpacking Queenstown means you’ll have plenty to do.

They pretty much like to gear ’emselves up as the adventure capital of the world, and, well, they’re pretty much not wrong. If you like the outdoors, Queenstown’s a great place to stay.

Best Overall Hostel in Queenstown Absoloot Value Accommodation

Absoloot Value Accommodation best hostels in New Zealand
Absoloot Value Accommodation is our pick for best overall hostel in Queenstown in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Games Room
  • BBQ
  • Book Exchange

As much as the spelling of Absoloot makes us shudder, this New Zealand backpackers hostel is something of a flashpacker hangout. It’s got a PlayStation, X-Box, Wii, which is cool, but most cool is that it has a crazy kitchen with literally stunning views of the lake and mountains.

The staff are very good indeed, and definitely know what they’re talking about when it comes to tours and just generally getting out to see the local area. I mean, it’s big, it’s clean, but that view alone makes it the best overall hostel in Queenstown; it’s the kinda place you dream about going back to.

Best Party Hostel in Queenstown –  Base Queenstown

Base Queenstown best hostels in New Zealand
Base Queenstown is our pick for best party hostel in Queenstown in New Zealand
  • $
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Free Breakfast
  • Bar

This. Is. The. Place. To. Party. In. Town. Yep, it’s got a vibey party atmosphere along with fun staff who are keen to get the party going. It’s located down one of the most popular streets in Queenstown, meaning there’s bars and buzzy nightlife right on your doorstep.

They also have their own bar: Loco Cantina. This has drinks deals for guests, decent DJs, and as you might have been able to guess from the name, Mexican food. Great for getting smashed after a few tacos. So, yeah, it’s definitely the best party hostel in town. (Though it is a lil’ bit grimy).

Best Hostel for Couples in Queenstown – Adventure Queenstown Hostel

Adventure Queenstown Hostel best hostels in New Zealand
Adventure Queenstown Hostel is our pick for best hostel for couples in Queenstown in New Zealand
  • $$
  • BBQ
  • Outdoor Terrace
  • Postal Service

A cute place right in the middle of town, this recommended hostel in Queenstown is a warm and welcoming place with pretty much everything you want (or need) within walking distance. It feels personal – in a good way.

So the best hostel for couples in Queenstown also has balconies, nice for chillin’ with a drink… oh and your partner, too. It’s quite a small hostel, but you can get a decent night’s sleep here: no bars right underneath or anything like that. Great for couples, like we said.

Best Hostels in Rotorua

A place to go to soak up a bit of Maori culture, Rotorua sits on the southern shores of Lake Rotorua. Being a pretty volcanic place, there are mud pools and hot springs galore – and even some spewing geysers to gawp at. Beautiful forests nearby are pretty sick for a hike, we have to say, plus there are some amazing bike trails too.

Rotorua’s hostels are unique and charming. Wanna unwind? Wanna adventure? Wanna do both? Wanna do neither? Come here.

Best Overall Hostel in Rotorua – Funky Green

Funky Green best hostels in New Zealand
Funky Green is our pick for best overall hostel in Rotorua in New Zealand
  • $$
  • BBQ
  • Book Exchange
  • Laundry Facilities

This top hostel in Rotorua has a great central location; it’s right near the inner city SkyBus. It’s not funky (that’s subjective), but it IS green. They’re big on recycling, eco-issues, have a garden – full of greenery, and the building is green. Lives up to half its name, at least.

They have BBQs in the summer, log fires in the winter, the rooms are spacious, it usually attracts people who are nice to have a chat with, and the staff are travellers themselves, so we guess they know how to create an atmosphere that helps make it the best overall hostel in Rotorua.

Best Party Hostel in Rotorua – Crash Palace

Crash Palace best hostels in New Zealand
Crash Palace is our pick for best party hostel in Rotorua in New Zealand
  • $
  • Bar
  • Pool Table
  • Free Parking

Crash Palace. Yep, you read it right. And as you might expect, it’s a budget hostel in Rotorua. If you wanna crash out after a night of drinking, this is the place. That and the bar – and the hot-tub (great with a beer in hand) – makes it the best party hostel in Rotorua.

Decor-wise… well, it’s the kinda place that has KoOkY aRtWoRk all over the walls, like or loathe it. But this probably has something to do with their support local creative youth products, which is nice actually. So close to the pubs and bars in town, making it easy to go out for a few more drinkies.

Best Hostel for Couples in Rotorua Spa Lodge

Spa Lodge best hostels in New Zealand
Spa Lodge is our pick for best hostel for couples in Rotorua in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Hot-tub
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Outdoor Terrace

This locally run Rotorua backpackers hostel is a great little spot for couples since its not right in the middle of the city, so you can spend some chill time with your partner in the courtyard, enjoying a dip in the geothermically heated pool (we’ve just called it a hot-tub above but you get what we mean).

The best hostel for couples in Rotorua, they also have private rooms. They’re somewhat basic but it still means privacy, eh? There’s a kitchen so you can make some meals together. Bonus: staff are WELL nice and will help you with onward travel. Great if you’re on a road trip – parking is also free.

Best Hostels in Dunedin

This less-touristed (than Queenstown) city on the south island’s Otago Peninsula has a load of beautiful Victorian and Edwardian architecture, some decent cycling trails and some really cool wildlife including albatrosses and penguins. It’s proud of its Scottish heritage, too (hence the name) – you may even get to try some haggis. Boasting New Zealand’s oldest university, its student population means a choice of cheap bars and eateries.

Best Overall Hostel in Dunedin Hogwartz Backpackers and Studios

Hogwartz Backpackers and Studios best hostels in New Zealand
Hogwartz Backpackers and Studios is our pick for best overall hostel in Dunedin in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Deck
  • Laundry Service
  • Free Parking

You’re probably thinking, ‘Has this place got anything to do with actual Hogwarts?’ The answer is no. But it IS a big old house, and staying in the dorm might (MIGHT) make you feel like you’re kipping in the Gryffindor dormitory. Or any other Harry Potter house of your choice.

Located at the top of a hill, there are some pretty darn tootin’ views across the city harbour and mountains. Staff make a vibey atmosphere at this place and – as a cherry on top – there’s free parking. I mean, for the building alone this is the best overall hostel in Dunedin.

Best Party Hostel in Dunedin – On Top Backpackers

On Top Backpackers best hostels in New Zealand
On Top Backpackers is our pick for best party hostel in Dunedin in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Bar
  • Pool Table
  • Outdoor Terrace

There are 19 pool tables at this Dunedin backpackers hostel. Now, that is a BOLD claim. And moreover, that’s not a bar – that’s a pool hall. Semantics aside, there’s free brekkie at this place. And that is a godsend to wake to with a horrid hangover.

On Top Backpackers, the best party hostel in Dunedin, is a fun place to hang out. You can grab a beer at the hostel’s bar, make some new mates, and choose one of the many pool tables for a friendly game. Or alternate tables per game. Plus it’s smack bang in the middle of Dunedin city.

Best Hostel for Couples in Dunedin – Central Backpackers Dunedin

Central Backpackers Dunedin best hostels in New Zealand
Central Backpackers Dunedin is our pick for best hostel for couples in Dunedin in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Games Room
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Laundry Facilities

The best thing about Central Backpackers is its central location. Duh. It’s easy to step out the this budget hostel in Dunedin and find somewhere nice for dinner, plus explore the city sights, which include 6 Escape The Room places. SIX. Why?

Our top pick for the best hostel for couples in Dunedin has modern decor, private rooms, and – if you’re a social couple – you could chill in the communal lounge. There are guitars. Maybe you could duet.

Best Hostels in Nelson

On the eastern shores of Tasman Bay sits Nelson – not the bully, nor the admiral, but the oldest town on New Zealand’s south island. Brimming with golden beaches, a pretty cool music scene, a thriving artistic hub, staying in Nelson is all crafts markets and seasonal festivals, with a load of outdoor activities thrown in – it is New Zealand, after all.

Nelson offers some amazing backpacker accommodations that won’t just keep the costs low, they’ll also promise you a comfy bed and a safe place to rest your head.

Best Overall Hostel in Nelson Bridge Backpackers

Bridge Backpackers best hostels in New Zealand
Bridge Backpackers is our pick for best overall hostel in Nelson in New Zealand
  • $$$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Fitness Centre
  • Cable TV

Stylish design, whitewashed walls, punky pictures and a stainless steel kitchen mean it’s one of the coolest hostels in Nelson. I mean, they serve up free waffles in the morning. Plus there’s a tiny weeny gym so you can work it all off afterwards.

We really like the hangout areas complete with astroturf and swing seats – our kinda hangouts. The female dorms are particularly cool, featuring straighteners, make-up remover, and all sorts of other lotions and potions to use. Feels private, but with a warm sociable atmosphere: that’s why it’s the best overall hostel in Nelson.

Best Party Hostel in Nelson – Paridiso Backpackers

Paridiso Backpackers best hostels in New Zealand
Paridiso Backpackers is our pick for best party hostel in Nelson in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Swimming Pool
  • Free Breakfast
  • Beach Volleyball Court

The fact that this recommended hostel in Nelson is basically set in a very, very nice Edwardian house makes it very, very cool. It also means that parts of it, especially the kitchen, feel pretty homely and welcoming.

It’s less than 1k to the nightlife buzz of the city, which alone makes it the best party hostel in Nelson (we’d say), but you can also grab a beer and chill by the pool and stuff like that. It’s easy to make friends with people, making it a real travellers retreat; the kinda place you’ll have proper ‘travelling memories’ of.

Best Hostel for Couples in Nelson – Tasman Bay

Tasman Bay best hostels in New Zealand
Tasman Bay is our pick for best hostel for couples in Nelson in New Zealand
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Common Room
  • Free Bicycle Hire

Warm, welcoming, family-run – this purpose built Nelson backpackers hostel has a big selection of private rooms, which makes it good if you’re looking for a more hotel-y stay. There are dorms, too, of course. But, as you can see, we’ve picked this as the best hostel for couples in Nelson.

That’s because it’s oh-so whimsical: you can swing in a hammock among the lemon trees of the garden, or pedal around town on the free bikes with your partner. It’s also very clean. Oh, and as a bonus, they serve up free food, including chocolate pudding and ice cream.

What to Pack for your New Zealand Hostel

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

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

Why you should travel to New Zealand

That’s it folks. All the best hostels in New Zealand, all neatly planned out for you.

We want you to have the best time while backpacking New Zealand, and all these hostels are just perfect for that.

What all of them have are some of the friendliest and most helpful staff you’ll ever meet!!

And when it comes to getting out and doing stuff? Well, you know New Zealand is the place to be for that. Whether it’s checking out The Remarkables at Queenstown, or the islands off Auckland, there’s a ton of stuff to do. When it comes to how to afford the trip, we recommend making a budget, and planning for the unexpected.

If you can’t decide where to stay? It’s logical to start in Auckland, the biggest city, and then work your way south – and the best overall hostel in Auckland is YHA Auckland, so you should check it out.

YHA Auckland best hostels in New Zealand

Get ready to have the best time ever!

Travel Safety Tips for New Zealand

And don’t forget Travel Insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of Travel Insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite 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 New Zealand.

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 New Zealand has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure! make sure you know exactly where you want to stay in New Zealand before you book your hostel. You don’t want to end up far away from the hotspots you want to explore!

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

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