The resort town of Wanaka is located on New Zealand’s south island and is set on the stunning shores of the lake of the same name. Lake Wanaka. Like so much of New Zealand, outdoor activity is the order of the day here.

The gateway to Aspiring National Park, complete with glaciers, alpine lakes and forests, you can ski, hike and even kayak on the lake here. There’s so much to do. And then top it all off with some beers next to the fire at your hostel.

But where are the hostels in town? Aren’t they quite expensive, with Wanaka being the resort town that it is?

Well, no. We’ve actually done the hard work for you and made a handy list of the best hostels in Wanaka so you can easily find the hostel to suit you.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the best Wanaka backpackers hostels below!

Quick answer: The Best Hostels in Wanaka

The famous Wanaka Tree!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

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Best Hostels in Wanaka

If you’re choosing to stop over in Wanaka during your backpacking New Zealand trip, you’re in for a real treat. Enjoy the beautiful lake, high-quality accommodations, the great hospitality – all of this while keeping the costs low.

There are many things to do in the city, so choose wisely when it comes to where to stay in Wanaka. You don’t want to end up miles away from the attractions you want to explore, simply because you haven’t done your research!

Wanaka Bakpaka – Best Overall Hostel in Wanaka

Bakpaka is our pick for best overall hostel in Wanaka
Bakpaka is our pick for best overall hostel in Wanaka

Strong alliteration game going on here with the name. But that’s not why this is the best overall hostel in Wanaka. Nope. This place has INCREDIBLE views across the lake. Like, truly they are stunning.

The view from the living area is amazing, which makes something mundane like eating a bowl of cereal like something from some wanderlust Insta post. Seriously, it’s cool. Other than that, this top hostel in Wanaka features a homely atmosphere and is a great place to just… hang out.

Flying Kiwi – Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Wanaka

Flying Kiwi best hostels in Wanaka
Flying Kiwi is our pick for best hostel for solo travellers in Wanaka

Right, so, this top hostel in Wanaka is a cosy place to relax near the lake. The owner is super helpful and has really cultivated a nice place to socialise with fellow travellers – but it never gets too raucous here, so don’t expect a mad party time.

The best hostel for solo travellers in Wanaka, it’s affordable and laid-back and there’s a BBQ in the garden which is always a good shout if you wanna meet other people. Free tea and coffee is also very handy. Plus it’s ultra affordable.

Mountain View Backpackers – Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Wanaka

Mountain View Backpackers best hostels in Wanaka
Mountain View Backpackers is our pick for best hostel for digital nomads in Wanaka

You might be able to tell that this recommended hostel in Wanaka has mountain views. You’d be right if you guessed that. It’s also on the shores of the lake, which is pretty idyllic.

The warm open fire is great for when it gets chilly here, with a few tables and stuff dotted around it so you can sit with your laptop and get some work done. It’s like a slice of paradise, so of course – with that work space included – this is the best hostel for digital nomads in Wanaka.

Base Backpackers – Best Party Hostel in Wanaka

Base Backpackers best hostels in Wanaka
Base Backpackers is our pick for best party hostel in Wanaka

So this Wanaka backpackers hostel is great for a few sunset drinks on the balcony overlooking the mountains. It’s also a great place for meeting some likeminded travellers and heading out to the local bars. Or you can just stay in at the hostel’s own bar. Dinner’s served here, too.

If you’re looking for the best party hostel in Wanaka, this is probably it. Not exactly the most metal crunk central place you’ve ever visited (i.e. you’ll get to sleep here), but there are karaoke nights, quiz nights and everyone’s favourite: drinks deals. Now how can that not be good?

YHA Wanaka Purple Cow – Best Cheap Hostel in Wanaka

YHA Wanaka Purple Cow best hostels in Wanaka
YHA Wanaka Purple Cow is our pick for best cheap hostel in Wanaka

It’s a branch of YHA, so you will have to be a member to stay here as cheaply as YHA members. But still – this is the best cheap hostel in Wanaka. It’s big, basic, but certainly not dirty. Big ol’ stainless steel kitchen for guests to use helps keeps costs down further.

And if you fancy making friends at this budget hostel in Wanaka you’ll find it pretty easy to do thanks to the warm and welcoming atmosphere, plus the big lounge with lake views is always a good icebreaker. Just talk about the view or something.

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
Aether Backpack

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

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

View on Osprey View on REI

Lake Hawea Hostel – Best Hostel for Couples in Wanaka

Lake Hawea Hostel best hostels in Wanaka
Lake Hawea Hostel is our pick for best hostel for couples in Wanaka

This place is so cute. It’s a seriously lovely place to take a break and do some romantic stargazing with your partner. It’s not exactly lavish,  but it does make for a quiet stay. And all importantly it’s CLEAN. (And cheap).

The hostel lounge also has an open fire, which is something that just screams the best hostel for couples in Wanaka. For us anyway. Oh, and the cheap wine, beer and food is great for having an impromptu dinner date overlooking the lake. Free shuttle service is handy.

Matterhorn South – Best Hostel with a Private Room in Wanaka

Matterhorn South best hostels in Wanaka
Matterhorn South is our pick for best hostel with a private room in Wanaka

Located in a pretty awesome place, this top hostel in Wanaka is surrounded by the stunning scenery of the area. All the rooms are clean and cosy and there are sundecks here to soak up some rays. When it’s not cold obviously.

Our top choice for the best hostel with a private room in Wanaka, private rooms here are simply decorated but come with en-suite bathrooms. You’ll be very happy returning there after a long active day in the wilderness.

Best Budget Hotels in Wanaka

Don’t fancy staying in a dorm room with other backpackers on your trip to New Zealand? Or maybe you’ve stayed in, y’know, one dorm room too many with one problem roommate too many. Maybe. But either way, we’ve decided to give you a choice of a few of the best budget hotels in Wanaka so you can experience this amazing place with a little more… privacy.

Aspiring Lodge Motel

Aspiring Lodge Motel best hostels in Wanaka
Aspiring Lodge Motel

Aspiring? To what? We don’t know but this is a good option as one of the budget motels in Wanaka. Set right along the roadside, it’s a great place for people on a roadtrip to just drive up, check in and chill out.

You can enjoy the sick panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, then you can head out into the evening of Wanaka itself: cafes and restaurants are right on your doorstep. However, you can also keep costs low thanks to small kitchenettes in the rooms here. Handy.

West Meadows of Wanaka

West Meadows of Wanaka best hostels in Wanaka
West Meadows of Wanaka

This place is pretty cool because it sounds more like a Lord of the Rings location than a budget hotel in Wanaka. But actually, these places are like studios or apartments. Not that exciting, but you get everything you might need here.

The staff here are professional and make sure you know everything there is to know about the local area. And the views of the lake from this hotel… well… they’re amazing. Amazing we say! You can admire it all from your own private balcony.

Wanaka Hotel

Wanaka Hotel best hostels in Wanaka
Wanaka Hotel

Simple name, but a really nice place to stay. Yep, this budget hotel in Wanaka actually offers up some grub in its onsite restaurant and cafe, which actually gives it a bit of a backpacker vibe. Probably (or maybe) because of all the backpackers staying here.

Located in the middle of town and surrounded by snow capped mountains, you can get yourself your own private room with a garden view and an en-suite bathroom for a pretty reasonable price. Really.

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!

What to Pack for your Wanaka 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!

The hike up Roy’s Peak is what it’s all about!
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

Why you should travel to Wanaka

So there you have it – the best hostels in Wanaka!

And WOW! Some of these cool hostels really do have some of the most amazing views we’ve ever seen! Mountains and lake views are easy to come by at any of these amazing hostels. Just like at the rest of New Zealand’s great hostels, you can expect amazing hospitality, friendly staff and a comfy bed, no matter which hostel you decide to stay at!

Plus, just in case you don’t feel like bedding down in a dorm for the millionth time, we included a few budget hotels in Wanaka to give you the option of extra privacy.

So if you’re on a road trip, you can just pull in and book yourself into one of these awesome places to stay in Wanaka!

But if you can’t decide where to stay (and we don’t blame you) don’t worry: we’d recommend Wanaka Bakpaka – easily the best overall hostel in Wanaka.

So get your ski lessons in and get ready to snap pic after pic of awesome sunsets. Wanaka, here you come!

FAQ about Hostels in Wanaka

Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Wanaka.

How much does a hostel cost in Wanaka?

The average price of hostels in Wanaka starts from $21 – $25+ 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 Wanaka for couples?

YHA Wanaka is an ideal hostel for couples in Wanaka. Its location is great, and the private rooms have private bathrooms.

What is the best hostel in Wanaka near the airport?

The airport is quite far from the city center, so it is better to find the best place in a great location. Check out these hostels, just a 10-minute drive from the airport.
Wanaka Backpackers Bothy
Mountain View Backpackers Wanaka

Travel Safety Tips for Wanaka

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.

The views around Wanaka are epic
Image: Nic Hilditch-Short

More Epic Hostels in New Zealand and Oceania

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

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 Wanaka 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 Wanaka and New Zealand?