9 Great Backpacker Bars in New Zealand© NZPocketGuide.com
9 Great Backpacker Bars in New Zealand

5 Best Backpacker Bars in New Zealand [2024]

© NZPocketGuide.com

The Best Bars in New Zealand for Backpackers

Got some spare time to fill in an evening? Backpacker bars are a great way to meet like-minded people from all over the world. They are a good place to start when arriving in a new town or city in New Zealand. Obviously, these bars know that people travelling around New Zealand appreciate having fun without spending too much, so there are daily specials and discounts on food and drink. So what are the backpacker bars in New Zealand?

We’ve compiled this list of backpacker bars in New Zealand’s most popular cities! However, remember that New Zealand is very strict with only serving alcohol to those with a valid ID, so find out more in What ID is Valid for Buying Alcohol in New Zealand?

Usually, a backpacker bar has a partnership with a hostel meaning those staying in the hostel will get extra discounts, so you might want to bare that in mind when choosing your hostel.

1. Blend Bar (Wellington)

Party and meet other awesome backpackers in the capital at the bar of Nomads Capital Backpackers. The on-site Blend Bar, open to hostel guests and visitors alike, is the place to be for tempting nightly food deals and fun events like beer pong, quizzes and bar crawls. There’s something happening every night of the week, so give them a go next time you’re visiting Wellington! While you’re in “Welly”, be sure to also check out the 25 Best Things to Do in Wellington and find a place to stay in the 7 Best Backpacker Hostels in Wellington.

Location: 118/120 Wakefield Street, Te Aro, Wellington, North Island.

8 Best Backpacker Bars in New Zealand [2023]© Unsplash

2. Cassette Nine (Auckland)

A go-to for both backpackers and locals in Auckland, Cassette Nine has withstood the test of time thanks to its awesomeness (seriously, look how many backpacker bars have closed in Auckland recently at the bottom of this list!) Famous for its teapot cocktails and jam-packed weekly events schedule, there’s always something going on at Cassette Nine. You’ll find an eclectic bunch here and that is why this bar has been on the itinerary of many backpacker bar crawls over the years. Find out more about Auckland’s bar scene in The Guide to Auckland Nightlife.

Location: 9 Vulcan Lane, Auckland, North Island.

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3. Monsoon Bar (Franz Josef)

Have a drink by the fire after an icy day of glacier exploring at Franz Josef‘s ultimate place to hang out, the Monsoon Bar. Part of the Rainforest Retreat backpackers and holiday park, look out for signs on the noticeboards for special deals happening in the bar, such as all-you-can-eat pizza nights! While this is by no means a party bar, Monsoon is still an awesome place to meet fellow world travellers. Team this bar visit with the 25 Best Things to Do in Franz Josef and find a place to stay in the 5 Best Backpacker Hostels in Franz Josef.

Location: 46 Cron Street, Franz Josef Glacier, South Island.

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4. The Prince Albert (Nelson)

Nelson is renowned for having some of the best backpacker hostels in the country – seriously, check them out at 9 Best Backpacker Hostels in Nelson. One of the said hostels, The Price Albert Backpackers, has its very own bar and restaurant downstairs, offering a laidback and easy-to-reach spot to have a couple of drinks with fellow travellers and locals. The bar is open from 11am till late every day!

Location: 113 Nile Street, Nelson, South Island.

8 Best Backpacker Bars in New Zealand [2023]© Unsplash

5. Poolhouse Cafe & Bar (Dunedin)

Named due to its position “on top” of The Poolhouse Cafe & Bar, On Top Backpackers not only has its own bar but is centrally located a stone’s throw from Dunedin’s lively nightlife. While not exactly a “party bar”, the on-site Poolhouse Cafe & Bar comes alive every evening from 4pm, giving backpackers something else to do other than dance the night away elsewhere. Play a game of pool or billiards after doing some of the 20 Best Things to Do in Dunedin. For more places to stay in Dunedin, check out the 6 Best Backpacker Hostels in Dunedin.

Location: 12 Filleul Street, Central Dunedin, Dunedin, South Island.

8 Best Backpacker Bars in New Zealand [2023]© Unsplash

[TEMPORARILY CLOSED] Tejano Catina (Taupo)

Next door to Based by the Lake, Tejano Cantina has late-night party nights, fancy dress and more. You’ll not want to miss this on your itinerary of backpacker bars in New Zealand. Plus, they have some of the cheapest eats in Taupo.

Location: 7 Tuwharetoa Street, Taupo, North Island.

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[CLOSED] Lava Bar

Food and drink specials every night of the week! There is always something happening at Lava Bar. Make sure you try the Lava Jars! Find the bar just across the road from the geothermal Kuirau Park.

Location: Rotorua, North Island

[CLOSED] Basement Bar

Basement Bar is the bar for backpackers in the capital, complete with pool table, drinks specials and the starting bar on weekly bar crawls. Find out more in our Guide to Wellington Nightlife.

Location: Wellington, North Island

[CLOSED] Habana Joe’s

Despite what the image suggests, Habana Joe’s is usually the last destination for late-night partying – open until 4am. Find it on Darby Street.

Location: Auckland, North Island

[CLOSED] The Camel

The Camel Bar, by the Fat Camel Hostel, has discounted drinks and food. It is also the start of the Frenzi Bar Crawl, which you can find out more about in Guide to Auckland Nightlife.

Location: Auckland, North Island

[CLOSED] Hello Sunshine

Whether you are staying in Base Auckland [Update: Base Auckland is now closed] or not, we recommend scouting out this small backpacker bar situated on a balcony with a view of the Sky Tower. It’s where the pre-party action happens, open from 4pm to 10pm.

Location: Auckland, North Island

[CLOSED] Loco Cantina

Due to the discounts for those staying in the Nomads and Base hostels, Loco Cantina is a go-to bar for backpackers in Queenstown. With nightly entertainment and reasonably-priced Mexican treats, you’ll struggle to get bored in Loco. Find some more awesome Queenstown bars on our list.

Location: Queenstown, South Island

More About Backpacker Bars in New Zealand

That’s it for our list of the best backpacker bars in New Zealand. As you can see from the limited choice, you might want to spread your search for awesome bars and clubs to the generic “nightlife” of New Zealand’s largest cities. Start your journey with these guides:

Finally, inspire yourself with more things to do when the sun goes down using our 15 Things to Do in New Zealand at Night.


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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