Where to Stay in National Park and Whakapapa for Backpackers
If you want to explore the Tongariro National Park, why not stay in the heart of it? National Park Village is a small township in proximity to mountain bike trails, hiking tracks and ski fields, while Whakapapa Village is right at the base of Mt Ruapehu and New Zealand’s largest ski field. What’s more, staying here on a budget is easy with the offering of backpacker hostels in National Park Village and Whakapapa.
National Park and Whakapapa Village are excellent bases for taking on the famous Tongariro Crossing. Transport services are available for a short drive to and from the crossing, as well as the Tongariro Circuit Great Walk. Wise up on the Crossing with our Guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
1. Manowhenua Lodge (National Park Village)
In the heart of National Park Village, Manowhenua Lodge is a newly renovated backpacker hostel with large communal areas and a wide variety of room layouts for singles, couples, groups and “Whanau Hui”. All the essentials are there for a comfortable budget-friendly stay in National Park Village, including a spacious communal kitchen (and yes, there is enough space in the fridge)! Enjoy a game of pool or table tennis, exchange stories around the fireplace or crank up the barbecue on the attractive outdoor deck. What’s more, you can easily combine your stay with the Tongariro Crossing thanks to your local hosts also running National Park Shuttles. Check out their generous shuttle and accommodation packages over at manowhenualodge.co.nz.
2. Skotel Alpine Resort (Whakapapa Village)
To get closer to the action of Mt Ruapehu, whether it’s for hitting the slopes or doing the mountain hiking trails, stay in Skotel Alpine Resort. Not only is Skotel a hotel with its own restaurant, but it also has budget backpacker accommodation, including dorms and private rooms, and a small but well-equipped kitchen for guests. Enjoy an evening in the spa pool and watch the sunset from New Zealand’s highest village.
Check Skotel Alpine Resort out:
- Skotel Alpine Resort on Booking.com
- Skotel Alpine Resort on HostelWorld
- Skotel Alpine Resort on Trip.com
- Skotel Alpine Resort on Expedia
3. National Park Backpackers (National Park Village)
Everything you could want for your stay in National Park is right here. Shuttle services with equipment hire for the Tongariro Crossing operate straight from reception. Plus, if the weather is bad, National Park Backpackers also has a climbing wall to challenge yourself. As for the accommodation itself, the hostel has all the essentials needed for a budget backpacker, from kitchen facilities to laundry. Rooms types include private double, twin and triple rooms with or without an ensuite, and shared mixed and female dorm rooms. Campers are also welcome.
Check National Park Backpackers out:
- National Park Backpackers on Booking.com
- National Park Backpackers on HostelWorld
- National Park Backpackers on Trip.com
4. Howard’s Mountain Lodge (National Park Village)
With some of the cheapest dorm room prices during the shoulder seasons, Howard’s Mountain Lodge is well worth considering. The budget accommodation in National Park Village has two communal kitchens and lounge facilities, as well as hiking equipment rental and bookings for the nearby activities. You can also keep entertained with the pool table. As for rooms, choose from private double, twin, triple and family rooms (with or without an ensuite), as well as dorm rooms and even a holiday home for up to 10 guests.
Check Howard’s Mountain Lodge out:
- Howard’s Mountain Lodge on Booking.com
- Howard’s Mountain Lodge on HostelWorld
- Howard’s Mountain Lodge on Trip.com
- Howard’s Mountain Lodge on Expedia
5. The Crossing Lodge (Erua)
For somewhere a bit more off the beaten track, try The Crossing Backpackers in Erua, five minutes south of National Park Village. The quirky hostel with interesting tree trunk decor has plenty to keep you entertained from the pool table to the spa pool to the hostel pets. What’s more, the lodge offers free bus or train pick-up from National Park Village. There is a wide range of rooms available, including your all-essential dorm rooms and private double, twin, triple and family rooms with some options for ensuite bathrooms. Otherwise, make use of the hostel’s shared facilities.
Check The Crossing Lodge out:
6. Plateau Lodge (National Park Village)
[Update: Backpacker dorms are no longer available at Plateau Lodge].
Although this accommodation no longer provides dorm rooms for backpackers in National Park Village, Plateau Lodge could be a great option for a private room at a reasonable price. Operating its own transport service to and from the Tongariro Crossing and Tongariro Circuit, the lodge is a great base for exploring Tongariro National Park. After a big hike, relax in their free private indoor spa pool and make use of your expected backpacker facilities like kitchen, laundry and lounge.
Check Plateau Lodge out:
- Plateau Lodge on Booking.com
- Plateau Lodge on HostelWorld
- Plateau Lodge on Trip.com
- Plateau Lodge on Expedia
7. Whakapapa Holiday Park (Whakapapa Village)
[Update: Backpacker dorms are no longer available at Whakapapa Holiday Park].
Stay in the heart of Whakapapa Village in the Whakapapa Holiday Park. This Department of Conservation-run holiday park has all the basic facilities for a budget stay in the Tongariro National Park. Although the holiday park no longer offers backpacker dorms, they still have powered sites and tent sites, basic cabins sleeping two to six people, and self-contained units. Note that you will need to hire bedding for a small fee if you don’t have your own.
Check Whakapapa Holiday Park out:
More Hostels in National Park and Whakapapa Village
That’s it for our list of the best hostels in National Park Village and Whakapapa Village, but it’s by no means the end of our advice! Check out more guides to help you plan the perfect trip to Tongariro:
- 11 Best Backpacker Hostels in Tongariro National Park
- 13 Walks Around National Park Village & Whakapapa Village
- 10 Tongariro National Park Must-Dos
And if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in the Ruapehu – Guide for Backpackers.