cheap long-term accommodation in auckland
cheap long-term accommodation in auckland

10 Great Hostels in the North Island

© Haka Lodge

What are the Must-stays on the North Island?

Hostels are a great way to save money for the things that really matter on your trip around New Zealand. From the super social hostels to hostels that you will want to leave as soon as you can, every hostel will provide a different experience. Nevertheless, there are a few hostels that are a cut above the rest that you simply can’t miss when backpacking in New Zealand. Our list of great hostels in North Island features some of the top-rated hostels in the country.

We think that you should make your hostel stay a real experience and a true part of your trip, so it’s worth picking them carefully. We have spent months testing most hostels (but admittedly not all so bear this in mind when thinking “why isn’t so-and-so hostel on this list?!”) in the country to come up with our recommendations of best hostels on the North Island.

Here are some hostels that we consider unmissable when cruising through the North Island of beautiful New Zealand. When you head south, don’t miss our 10 Great Hostels in the South Island selection!

1. Raglan Backpackers

Owned by two devoted surfers, Raglan Backpackers is well… a surfers dream. Pushing hard on the social aspect of backpacking there is free Internet available but only on computers labelled Porn Corner. You’ve got to chat with each other, should it be during make your own pizza night (sharing mandatory) or in the spa pool in the middle of the garden. Surf gear and “the surf car” are available for you to make the most of in the world-class waves of the area. Check out these other 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Raglan.

Check Raglan Backpackers out:


2. River Valley Lodge

One of the most unique hostels in New Zealand, River Valley Lodge is much more than a hostel. White water rafting, hikes, and a gold mining era-inspired river crossing are only the beginning. This (very well) hidden gem in the heart of the Manawatu-Wanganui region is absolutely worth discovering.

Check River Valley Lodge out:©

3. Crash Palace

Crash Palace’s motto should be “We’ll make sure you have a good time!” with activities almost every night in a great-looking hostel. Super colourful with New Zealand art all over the walls, it just screams fun! No wonder it is one of our favourite hostels in Rotorua.

Pro Tip: the most famous hostel in Rotorua is best when waking up on a Sunday with free pancake breakfast. Yum!

Check Crash Palace out:©

4. Taupo Urban Retreat

Taupo Urban Retreat is the ultimate social hostel, with a huge communal area and tons of stuff to do, from books, movies, a pool table and even a bar! Yep, the hostel has a bar in its communal area. How cool is that!? It is not surprising that Taupo Urban Retreat tops our favourite hostels in Taupo.

Check Taupo Urban Retreat out:©

5. Mousetrap Backpackers

Located in the heart of beautiful Paihia, Mousetrap Backpackers is your home away from home. It’s a great option for your stay in the Bay of Islands with cosy lounges, balconies and gardens. Check out more great hostels on our list of 8 Best Backpacker Hostels in Paihia.

Check Mousetrap Backpackers out:©

6. Haka Lodge Auckland

The superb pod (or capsule) hostel is a great take on the original capsule hostel concept from Japan. It offers the best of both worlds, a social space to meet travellers and privacy at night. Haka Lodge Auckland is new, fresh and fun. We have it on top of our favourite hostel list in New Zealand’s largest city.

Check Haka Lodge Auckland out:

Haka Lodge© Haka Lodge

7. Pacific Coast Lodge

Pacific Coast Lodge is not a central hostel by any means. Located in the suburb of Mt Maunganui, it is just out of the busy city or Tauranga, yet it is one of our favourite hostels in Tauranga. Like many other hostels on this list, one of the things we love the most about Pacific Coast Lodge is its social take on backpacking. From potluck dinner nights to game nights, you’re bound to meet some cool people!

Check Pacific Coast Lodge here!©

8. Criterion Art Deco Backpackers

What about staying in a hotel for once? What about a historic hotel? And what about staying in the most photographed buildings in the city?! Well, our favourite hostel in Napier/Hastings is just that: a converted historic hostel that is simply stunning. Plus, to keep the hotel feel, they still serve free continental breakfast. How’s that for the price of a hostel night?

Check Criterion Art Deco Backpackers out:©

9. Ducks & Drakes

New Plymouth has a lot to offer to backpackers from surf to museums to street art and awesome locals. Our favourite hostel in town is Duck & Drakes, which is sort of an art gallery in itself. The colourful hostel even hosts live gigs from time to time. Plus, we love the big communal areas that are great to make new friends and cook together.

Check Ducks & Drakes out:

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10. Hone Heke

Named after a great North Island warrior, Hone Heke is a true flashpacker in Kerikeri. Lodged in between native trees and singing birds, the hostel screams paradise. It is hard to describe how great it feels to check-in this great open backpackers. From the get-go, you know that you will lose track of time. See more 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Kerikeri.

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Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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