Howard's Mountain Lodge
Howard's Mountain Lodge

7 Best Backpacker Hostels in National Park Village & Whakapapa

© Howard’s Mountain Lodge

Where to Stay in National Park and Whakapapa on a Backpacker Budget

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 Guide to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

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

1. YHA National Park Backpackers

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, YHA National Park Backpackers also has a climbing hall to challenge yourself. As for the accommodation itself, the hostel has all the essentials needed for a budget backpacker, from kitchen facilities to laundry. Campers are also welcome.

Check YHA National Park Backpackers out:

YHA National Park Backpackers© YHA National Park Backpackers

2. Plateau Lodge

Another excellent budget accommodation option in National Park Village is Plateau Lodge. Operating their own transport service to and from the Tongariro Crossing and Tongariro Circuit, Plateau Lodge is a great base for exploring Tongariro National Park. After a big hike, relax in their free private indoor spa pool, as well as making use of your expected backpacker facilities like kitchen, laundry and lounge. Campers can also book a powered site.

Check Plateau Lodge out:

Plateau Lodge© Plateau Lodge

3. Skotel

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. Not only is Skotel a hotel with its own restaurant, but it also has budget backpacker accommodation and a small but well-equipped kitchen for guests. Enjoy an evening in the spa pool and watching the sunset from New Zealand’s highest village.

Check Skotel out:

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4. Howard’s Mountain Lodge

With some of the cheapest dorm room prices during the shoulder seasons, Howard’s Mountain Lodge is well worth considering. The budget accommodation 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.

Check Howard’s Mountain Lodge out:

Howard's Mountain Lodge© Howard's Mountain Lodge

5. Manowhenua Lodge

In the heart of National Park Village, Manowhenua Lodge is a backpacker hostel with large communal areas so there’s space for everyone. Enjoy a game of pool or exchange stories with fellow travellers around the fireplace. All the essentials are there for a comfortable budget-friendly stay in National Park Village.

Check Manowhenua Lodge out:

Ski Haus© Ski Haus

6. The Crossing Backpackers

For somewhere a bit more off the beaten track, try The Crossing Backpackers in Erua. 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. The backpackers offers free bus or train pick-up from National Park Village.

Check The Crossing Backpackers out:

The Crossing Backpackers© The Crossing Backpackers

7. 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. Not only does the holiday park have powered sites and tent sites, but there are also backpacker dorm rooms and self-contained units. Note that you will need to hire bedding for a small fee if you don’t have your own. Kitchen utensils are also available to loan from reception.

Check Whakapapa Holiday Park out:

Whakapapa Holiday Park© Whakapapa 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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