5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Oamaru 🎒 [2024]


Where to Find Backpacker Accommodation in Oamaru

Where should your base be for seeing the little blue penguins, checking out the historic Victorian precinct, going to Steampunk HQ and more? There are plenty of backpacker hostels in Oamaru to save you money on the more important things like awesome activities in Oamaru – find out exactly what you could be getting up to in Oamaru & Waitaki – Guide for Backpackers. Whether you are exploring the Waitaki Valley, spotting wildlife on the shores of Oamaru or even taking part in one of the many events happening in town, you’ll want a fun and affordable stay in Oamaru. With that in mind here are, what we consider, some of the best backpacker hostels in Oamaru!

1. Oamaru Backpackers

This small yet characterful hostel in Oamaru is tastefully decorated to make you feel like a flashpacker. Each dorm bed at the Oamaru Backpackers has a curtain (like the pod hostel concept), while there’s also a selection of private rooms available. There’s also a cosy lounge area with large windows overlooking the Victorian Precinct and out to the ocean. Relax in the garden where you can help yourself to some fresh herbs and veggies to spruce up something awesome in the kitchen (with a dishwasher!)

Check Oamaru Backpackers out:

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2. Empire Hotel Backpackers

In the heart of Oamaru’s vibrant township, the Empire Hotel Backpackers is a piece of history renovated for budget travellers. Play a game of pool in the cool and quirky basement or relax in the multiple lounge areas with that Oamaru historic vibe it’s famous for. WiFi is available and the hostel is just a stone’s throw away from all your essential shops and services. As for rooms, choose from mixed and female dorms and private single, double, twin and family rooms. Speaking of family rooms, if you’re interested in that you might also be interested in the 10 Best Family Accommodations in Oamaru.

Check Empire Hotel Backpackers out:©

3. Swaggers Backpackers

Not only is this hostel the closest to the Oamaru little blue penguin colonies, but it’s also your home away from home. This cosy boutique backpackers with just a couple of dorm rooms is hosted by Agra who will familiarise you with all the awesome things to do in Oamaru. There’s a warm and friendly vibe at the Swaggers Backpackers, where making new friends comes easily.

Check Swaggers Backpackers out:

© Swaggers Backpackers

4. Oamaru TOP 10 Holiday Park

Now that we have exhausted the list of official backpacker hostels in Oamaru, here are some alternative accommodations for backpackers. Oamaru TOP 10 Holiday Park mixes holiday fun with cheap accommodation with facilities like a mini golf course. There are accommodation options to suit a range of needs and budgets, from homely self-contained motel units with separate bedrooms to basic cabins and camping sites, the latter two being the best options for backpackers. What’s more, you will be able to use the park’s communal bathroom and kitchen facilities just like in a hostel. Find out more about New Zealand holiday parks in our Accommodation Guide to Holiday Parks in New Zealand.

Check Oamaru TOP 10 Holiday Park out:

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Oamaru© Oamaru TOP 10 Holiday Park

5. Kurow Holiday Park

Ok, so this isn’t exactly in Oamaru, but if you are looking for somewhere to stay outside of the township or while exploring the Waitaki Valley, Kurow Holiday Park is a great option for backpackers. Beyond campervan sites and tent sites, Kurow Holiday Park also offers backpacker dorm rooms in their lodge. However, you need to hire bedding if you don’t have your own. For more accommodation alternatives like this, also check out the 10 Best Budget Accommodations in Oamaru.

Kurow Holiday Park© Kurow Holiday Park

[CLOSED] Red Kettle Oamaru

Located just by the Busy Beach Reserve, YHA Oamaru is just a short walk from town. This hostel has all the essentials needed for an enjoyable budget stay in Oamaru. Relax in the garden and grab a few fresh herbs to use with your dinner, or curl up next to the fireplace and watch a movie. YHA members also get the benefit of a discount. Find out more in BBH, Backpacker Group or Nomads: What is the Best Hostel Network?

More About Oamaru for Backpackers

That’s it for our list of the best backpacker hostels in Oamaru, but it’s by no means the end of our expert travel advice! Check out these articles for more inspiration for your trip:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in our Oamaru & Waitaki – Guide for Backpackers and The Travel Guide to Oamaru on a Budget.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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