Slope Point Backpackers© Slope Point Accommodation
Slope Point Backpackers

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in The Catlins šŸŽ’ [2024]

© Slope Point Accommodation

Where to Find Accommodation in The Catlins for Backpackers

A Catlins road trip is a must for any backpacker who loves to get off the beaten track! With rare wildlife to see, stunning beaches and hikes to picture-perfect waterfalls, The Catlins has so much to offer. Aside from many free activities, there’s also a whole bunch of fantastic backpacker hostels in The Catlins to make for a super budget-friendly destination in New Zealand.

While staying in The Catlins, be sure to do all of these 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do in The Catlins and some of the 10 Hikes in The Catlins and Clutha District. For more things to do in The Catlins, get inspired at Catlins – Guide for Backpackers.

So here are – what we consider – some of the best backpacker hostels in The Catlins!

1. Surat Bay Lodge (Newhaven)

Surat Bay Lodge is based in New Haven, right by the sea lion mecca of Surat Bay. Relax in the beach-facing garden and borrow the free binoculars for wildlife viewing. There’s also free tea, coffee and hot chocolate, plus, free limited WiFi, which may come in handy considering there is no cell phone reception at the lodge. BBH members will also benefit from a discount. Find out more in BBH, Backpacker Group or NOMADS: What is the Best Hostel Network?

Check Surat Bay Lodge out:

Surat Bay Lodge© Surat Bay Lodge

2. Thomas’s Catlins Lodge & Camp Ground (Owaka)

For a unique stay in The Catlins, Owaka, try Thomas’s Catlins Lodge in a 100-year-old hospital building. Even some of the beds are hospital-style beds! Beds come in dorm rooms (mixed and female), as well as private single, double, twin and family rooms – some with the option of an ensuite. As well as kitchen and lounge facilities, the hostel has a games room, free WiFi and possibly a few ghosts. Campervans are also welcome in the campground with power sites.

Check Thomas’s Catlins Lodge out:

5 Best Backpacker Hostels in The Catlins šŸŽ’ [2023]© Thomas's Catlins Lodge

3. Slope Point Accommodation (Slope Point)

Near the southernmost point of New Zealand, Slope Point Accommodation (formerly the Slope Point Backpackers) is usually the first or last port of call on a Catlins road trip. The modern yet homely budget accommodation is in the middle of the owners’ farm for that true Kiwi experience. There is a range of rooms available, including shared dorms, while the communal lounge/kitchen is a good place to relax and meet other travellers.

Slope Point Backpackers© Slope Point Accommodation

4. [CLOSED] Lazy Dolphin Lodge

Situated in Curio Bay, Lazy Dolphin Lodge is in the heart of the wildlife action with common sightings of penguins, sea lions and dolphins in the area. The hostel has its own private beach access, plus all the essential facilities for your stay in The Catlins. Lazy Dolphin Lodge is split into two levels with common kitchen, bathroom and laundry facilities. Plus, if you fall short on the food situation, they have a few supplies to purchase.

5. [CLOSED] The Split Level Backpackers

This modern and tastefully decorated backpackers is located in Owaka, which is considered the central hub of The Catlins. There’s a fantastic range of accommodation available from dorms rooms to en-suite double rooms. Enjoy free Wi-Fi and the help of your friendly host who can recommend a wealth of activities in The Catlins.

More About the Catlins for Backpackers + Alternative Accommodation

That’s it for the official list of hostels in the Catlins. However, as there is such a limited selection, you might want to consider some of the alternative holiday parks and campgrounds available in the region. More details on these slightly more expensive accommodations can be found in the following guides:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Catlins – Guide for Backpackers or The Travel Guide to The Catlins 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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