Auckland is the largest of New Zealand’s cities with over a quarter of the Kiwi population living in the ‘City of Sails’. So it can be overwhelming choosing the best hostels in Auckland, when there are so many hostels in the city.
Auckland, New Zealand is one of those places where it isn’t a good idea to leave it until the last minute, to book accommodation. It’s such a busy transient city, with so many flights in and out, plus lots of travellers with Working Holiday Visas choose to live and work there.
However Auckland is deceptively small for a busy city, so it gets booked up completely sometimes, especially during large events in the peak summer season.
Hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on Auckland from all over the world in the peak summer season. And Auckland is often the most popular host city choice for most concerts, festivals and events.
This means Auckland gets super busy and most of the best hostels in Auckland and other cheap accommodation will be booked up in the peak season of December to February. So ALWAYS book in advance.
Top Auckland tip: one thing I’ve learnt about Auckland, ALWAYS book your accommodation in advance – anywhere in New Zealand – but especially in Auckland; in peak season, on public holidays and when events are on.
BEST HOSTELS IN AUCKLAND NEW ZEALAND
Once I stupidly arrived into Auckland with no accommodation booked in advance. It was a weekend when both the Pasifika festival and a music concert were on. Big mistake.
I was told by the i-Site at Auckland airport that the entire city was booked up and the only option was to bus it to Hamilton, the next nearest city. Whaaattt?
I refused to admit defeat and armed with my Lonely Planet and my smartphone, I sat on the airport floor and called every hostel and hotel until I found a cancellation. I didn’t find one until 2 am. And it wasn’t cheap.
Like any busy city, Auckland’s accommodation can be expensive. But New Zealand seems to be leading the way with super expensive rates above the global average, with the average price of a hotel room now being around $185 NZD per night! Another reason why choosing to stay in the best backpacker hostels in Auckland, is a great idea and can make your time in Auckland much cheaper.
Staying in the city centre is important to some travellers particularly if your time in Auckland is limited, but if you have got a few days and you’re flexible, some of the best backpacker hostels in Auckland are found a little further out in the inner suburbs.
I have stayed in many different backpacker hostels in Auckland, some good, some not so good, some in the city centre, some in the inner suburbs, some for a long time and some if I just needed to crash for one night in the city.
So here’s my guide to the Best Hostels in Auckland, either within or close to Auckland city.
GUIDE TO THE BEST HOSTELS IN AUCKLAND
Haka Lodge is an upmarket backpackers hostel or ‘FlashPackers’, yet costs the same as a regular hostel. Located on Karanghape Rd (or K Road), Haka Lodge is near cool cafes, bars, restaurants, boutique and retro shops, public transport and near the popular vibrant suburb of Ponsonby.
100% Kiwi and New Zealand owned, Haka Lodge is purpose built, meaning everything has been created or bought to fit the hostel. They have spacious living areas, and pride themselves on their top-of-the-line facilities and modern equipment.
The bespoke design of their wooden bunk beds are always admired in traveller reviews for ticking all the boxes; actual hotel quality comfortable mattresses, privacy curtains, individual powerpoint, reading light and lockable storage under the bunk.
Taking the crown for one of the best hostels in Auckland, Haka Lodge has raving reviews on TripAdvisor and HostelWorld and has won awards for best hostel from Booking.com , TripAdvisor and Tourism Industry Awards.
*UPDATE* Ponsonby Backpackers has now moved to Attic Backpackers.
Ponsonby Backpackers is my favourite of the best backpacker hostels in Auckland. Excellent location in the popular and trendy inner suburb of Ponsonby. Located just off Ponsonby Rd, this accommodation is set in a traditional character, kiwi villa. Double rooms are sunny, comfy and clean, with shared facilities.
The Inner Link bus to the city stops right outside, there are also plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars including the famous Chapel bar, less than 2 mins walk a way. The beautiful Western park is nearby and its walkable distance to the city.
The Attic Backpackers
Super centrally located on Wellesley St just off Queen St, The Attic is known as one of the best hostels in Auckland and has won awards on Hostelworld and TripAdvisor.
Now encompassing it’s sister backpackers, Ponsonby Backpackers – The Attic Backpackers has a trendy design, spacious social areas, a sun deck area plus free unlimited WiFi.
One of the best backpacker hostels in Auckland for location, this hostel couldn’t be better for being right in the middle of it all. Supermarkets, bars, restaurants and bus stops are all less than a minute away.
Personally we found the location a little noisy at night (Queen St is rowdy at night) and we found the twin rooms a bit cold in the winter months and no heaters provided.
However I’d give it another go in the summer, the location and facilities are all really excellent.
*UPDATE* – We did stay one night at The Attic in the summer when we were getting an early morning international flight out of Auckland. We stayed in a twin room and realised that none of the rooms have air-conditioning. It was February, so very hot and the whole building was humid, making it a bit of a challenge to sleep – however high humidity is typical of Auckland in the summer.
Despite this, I’d still stay there again, because it’s a perfect location for getting the Skybus service to the airport, as there is a Skybus stop literally right outside The Attic. Even at 3am in the morning, we were able to pickup a Skybus, right outside.
Bamber House in Mt Eden, used to be another of my favourite backpacker hostels in Auckland. This spacious traditional, kiwi character villa is set in the sunny, leafy suburb of Mt Eden.
There are double rooms in the main villa plus cabins with en-suite double/single rooms have been built at the back of the property. Facilities are basic but always clean, WiFi is free, plenty of social and quiet areas, there are gardens out front plus a resident cat, staff are really helpful and the Outer Link bus stops across the street by the tennis courts.
*UPDATE* – When I returned here in 2018, I found out the owners are selling Bamber House soon and as a result I feel standards have slipped.
My main annoyance was that the WiFi signal doesn’t reach the cabins and when I asked about this, the staff confirmed the owners won’t be investing in better WiFi or anything else, because they’re selling it and investing more into Oakland’s Lodge instead – their other accommodation business.
Oaklands Lodge is a cosy, spacious kiwi villa turned hostel, also in the peaceful suburb of Mount Eden and is located only 2 kms from Eden Park Stadium. It’s also only around 25 mins drive from the airport.
Oaklands is in an old villa, so not ultra-modern but has charming character and lots of space. It has a cute sun terrace and spacious garden with a barbeque. The hostel is clean, with well equipped facilities and has free Wifi throughout the hostel.
Oaklands Lodge is in an outer suburb, so it has a much more peaceful and homely vibe to it. Plus the Mt Eden volcano is literally down the road and it’s a beautiful hike up there that gets you sweet views over the whole of Auckland.
Hot on the list of the best hostels in Auckland, Verandahs Lodge in Ponsonby is so popular, it’s nearly always booked out. They’ve taken the typical commercial backpackers accommodation you normally find and have made it more like ‘home’.
It’s made up of two restored colonial-style villas and features a mixture of double, double en-suite, twin, single and shared rooms. Travellers get comfy beds, blackout curtains and a peaceful night’s sleep with no late check-ins allowed.
Verandahs practice and encourage environmentally friendly living by using filtered water, solar hot water, energy-efficient sensor lighting and by up-cycling building materials whenever they can.
JUCY Snooze Auckland
JUCY Snooze Hotels are the accommodation sector of JUCY – best known for their innovative and eye-catching green and purple camper-vans. Situated 10 mins walk from Auckland’s waterfront, JUCY Snooze Auckland offer a hostel style wing and hotel en-suite rooms.
On-site there are shared bathrooms and kitchen spaces, a coffee shop, a travel bookings desk and laundry service. There is only 30 mins a day of free WiFi though so have a hunt for free WiFi in a nearby cafe.
The Brown Kiwi
The Brown Kiwi was the first place I ever stayed at in Auckland – I ended up living here for 4 months! Living in a busy, cramped hostel for so long is definitely a challenge and I wouldn’t recommend it, but it’s just the way things happened for me at the time. And I made some amazing friends here so it was all worth it in the end.
The Brown Kiwi is small and the facilities are not quite enough when the hostel is packed full of people but it’s character makes up for it. It has mostly dorms and a couple of double rooms, with shared facilities, parking and a great garden space to chill-out in.
Plus the location is perfect, in the buzz of Ponsonby and walkable distance into Auckland city.
YHA Auckland International
YHA Auckland International is one of two YHA hostels in the city and this place is the only 5 Star Qualmark rated hostel in Auckland. They offer double, twin, en-suite rooms and dorm rooms plus spacious and modern facilities.
For a hostel, I thought the amount of space was brilliant, it was huge and never felt cramped. The kitchen and dining area are huge, there’s a TV room with SKY, a media room, 24 hr reception, free WiFi and a travel desk.
We loved the affordable lockers for storage here, you can fit your backpack and day-pack in one and they’re payable by the hour.
*TIP*: We came back and used the lockers the next day too when we had an evening flight, to avoid carrying our stuff around the city all day.
Nomads is a typical chain backpackers. It’s very busy, noisy and full of people – all the time. Although on the plus side, it has hundreds of rooms, so you can almost always get an available booking here.
I normally don’t stay in large chain hostels unless I’m desperate, which I was when I stayed here for two nights. The winning factor for me was the location of this place, right off Queen St.
And it turns out they have a pretty sweet rooftop terrace which made the stay here SO much nicer.
Expect noise and queues for everything because of the massive factor. And although the WiFi is free, you have to go into the adjoining Nomads travel agency next door to use it for free, to get WiFi within the Nomads building – you have to pay for it.
Queen St Backpackers
I stayed at Queen Street Backpackers twice when Auckland was super busy and booked out and I just needed a place to crash. Cheap accommodation in Auckland is hard to find, and this place is definitely budget friendly.
It’s in a great location, right in the middle of everything on Queen Street (the building entrance is actually just off Queen St on the pedestrian part of Fort St). However it’s a little in need of renovation and mostly managed by long-term guests.
The WiFi is amazing and completely free, they have a small bar inside with very cheap beers, pool tables, 24 hr reception, free breakfast every morning and the Queen Street location is just too easy.
Be forewarned, it’s next to a sports bar AND on Queen Street, so go here to be social or party – not to get a peaceful nights sleep!
That concludes our Best Backpacker Hostels in Auckland, New Zealand post. We hope you find it helpful when you choose and book your next accommodation in Auckland.
Happy & safe travels 🙂
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