Howard's Mountain Lodge
Howard's Mountain Lodge

11 Best Backpacker Hostels in Tongariro National Park

© Howard’s Mountain Lodge

Where to Stay in Tongariro National Park

We get it. You’d rather save your money for hiking the Tongariro Crossing, ripping the slopes of Mt Ruapehu or tearing the mountain biking trails than spending it on luxurious nights in hotels. With that in mind, here are some of the best backpacker hostels in Tongariro National Park!

National Park Village, Whakapapa Village and Erua all have backpacker hostel accommodation with proximity to the western side of the Tongariro National Park. These are the closest places with budget accommodations to the Tongariro Crossing, Tongariro Circuit Great Walk, Fishers Track mountain biking trail, Whakapapa Ski Field and more. Meanwhile, Ohakune makes a great base for exploring the southern end of the Tongariro National Park, such as the Old Coach Road mountain bike trail, the Around the Mountain hiking track and Turoa Ski Field.

So here are, what we consider, some of the best backpacker hostels in Tongariro National Park!

1. LKNZ Lodge

In the town centre of Ohakune, LKNZ Lodge is in an ideal location for exploring Tongariro National Park’s mountain biking trails, hiking on Mt Ruapehu or skiing at Turoa. There are several modern lounge areas and kitchens, however, when you don’t feel like cooking there is an on-site cafe. Spa pools and bike hire are also available to purchase.

Check LKNZ Lodge out:

LKNZ Lodge© LKNZ Lodge

2. Plateau Lodge

A great base in National Park Village is Plateau Lodge. There are options for all kinds of budget travellers from dorm rooms to campervan power sites. Relax in the free indoor spa pool and make use of the Tongariro Crossing and Tongariro Circuit shuttle right from the door. Plus, there are all the essential facilities you would expect in a backpacker hostel.

Check Plateau Lodge out:

Plateau Lodge© Plateau Lodge

3. Skotel

An alternative base in the Tongariro National Park is Whakapapa Village. This tiny settlement at the base of Mt Ruapehu is close to the Whakapapa Ski Field, a whole range of walks and a quick shuttle away from the Tongariro Crossing. Skotel is the only backpacker accommodation in Whakapapa village but still a fantastic option with a ski chalet decor to get you in the mood for alpine exploration. Watching the sunset from Skotel is also a must.

Check Skotel out:

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4. Station Lodge

At “The Junction” end of Ohakune, Station Lodge can be found at the Ohakune Railway station. It is within walking distance to hiking tracks and bike trails. As for the hostel itself, Station Lodge is spacious yet has a homely vibe. Relax in the free spa pool or make use of the barbecue in summer (get inspiration from 5 Effortless Barbecue Meals to Cook in 15 Minutes). It might be a 15-minute walk from the town centre, but the riverside walkway into town makes it a treat or borrow one of their free town bikes to get there quicker.

Check Station Lodge out:

Station Lodge© Station Lodge

5. YHA National Park Backpackers

Hiking equipment hire, shuttle services to the Tongariro Crossing, an indoor climbing wall… YHA National Park has you all set for your time in Tongariro National Park. The backpackers, of course, has all the essentials expected in a hostel, as well as welcoming campervans to park up onsite. The YHA is easy to find just off the main highway into National Park Village. Plus, make use of the YHA discount if you are a member. For more info, check out BBH, YHA, BASE or NOMADS: What is the Best Hostel Network?

Check YHA National Park Backpackers out:

YHA National Park Backpackers© YHA National Park Backpackers

6. Howard’s Mountain Lodge

Two large kitchens, lounge area, pool table and equipment hire: Howard’s Mountain Lodge has the ideal facilities and more. This budget accommodation in National Park Village has some of the best prices in town during the New Zealand shoulder seasons.

Check Howard’s Mountain Lodge out:

Howard's Mountain Lodge© Howard's Mountain Lodge

7. Ohakune Central Backpackers

As the name suggests, Ohakune Central Backpackers is ideally located in Ohakune town close to shops and services. Other than that, the hostel has free WiFi and a spa pool. Plus, a convenient kettle and TV in every room – even the dorms.

Check Ohakune Central Backpackers out:

Ohakune Central Backpackers© Ohakune Central Backpackers

8. The Crossing Backpackers

One more location for your Tongariro National Park stay is in Erua, a short drive from National Park Village. The Crossing Backpackers might be off the beaten track, but they offer pick-ups from the National Park train station and bus stop, so even without a car, you can go and enjoy the peaceful location of Erua.

Check The Crossing Backpackers out:

The Crossing Backpackers© The Crossing Backpackers

9. Manowhenua Lodge

Manowhenua Lodge is a spacious hostel in National Park Village. Relax in the large lounge around the fireplace or play a game of pool with your travel buddies. There’s also plenty of off-street parking.

Check Manowhenua Lodge out:

Ski Haus© Ski Haus

10. The Hobbit Motorlodge

If you are in Tongariro National Park to see the famous Lord of the Rings locations then why not complete the experience by staying in The Hobbit Motorlodge. The Hobbit Motorlodge is located on the road between Ohakune town and The Junction, neither here nor there. However, there’s plenty of room options in terms of budget accommodation, as well as mountain shuttle services, a spa pool surrounded by native vegetation and Sky TV.

Check The Hobbit Motorlodge out:

The Hobbit Motorlodge© The Hobbit Motorlodge

11. Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park

Finally, another budget accommodation in Ohakune with a bit of everything is the Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park. Check out what sort of holiday park facilities to expect in Accommodation Guide to Holiday Parks in New Zealand. Their Gypsy Caravans are kitted like a backpacker dorm making it another affordable option in Ohakune.

Check Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park out:

Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park© Ohakune Top 10 Holiday Park


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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