The Best Accommodations in New Zealand – My Favorite Budget Accommodations

by Katja Kaven

After having stayed in 34 different accommodations during my two months in New Zealand, I’d say I have quite some experience to share with you. So, without further ado, here is a list of the best accommodations in New Zealand.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains some affiliate links to places I’ve stayed at during my time in Myanmar. If you book your stay through any of my links, I will earn a small commission. This comes with no extra cost for you. Be assured that I’ve only included accommodations I would stay at again!

Tip: If you’d like to follow along with my life after traveling, follow me on Instagram here.

1. Adventure Inn Marahau – THE best accommodation in New Zealand

Located just steps away from the beginning of the insanely beautiful Abel Tasman National Park and right next door to the Aqua Taxi station, this has been my favorite place to stay at. Greg is a former Kiwi Experience bus driver who started this hostel in his own home. I was actually one of the last people to sleep inside his house before the new-built dorms (recycled shipping containers, isn’t that so cool?) opened.

The Adventure Inn Marahau is not your average hostel. In addition to the unique dorms, I just mentioned, they have a huge backyard with BBQ facilities, a food truck, and lots of tables to socialize at. Another highlight is the movie theater. Yes, you’ve read that right – who can say they’ve stayed at a hostel with free movies on a huge screen?

The movie theater is one of the things that make the Adventure Inn Marahau one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.
What’s so special about the Adventure Inn Marahau?

But what truly makes this place special, are the people. Greg and “Meg” (Dean) make sure everyone feels right at home and are a lot of fun to be around. Bessie, the hostel’s dog, who is always up for a cuddle also contributes to the cozy and familial atmosphere.

But that’s not even all. Something I didn’t get to try during my stay (but look forward to doing so the next time, I’m staying there) are their vegan food options. Can it get any better? Top location, cool complex, awesome people and vegan food – the Adventure Inn Marahau takes the top spot on the list of my favorite accommodations in New Zealand, and deservedly so.

Edit January 2019: I just visited the Adventure Inn Marahau again and loved it even more than the first time. This time around, I also got to try their vegan options. The vegan burger is delicious and the brownies and cookies honestly are to die for!

Price: 29$ (16€) for a dorm bed

The community is another thing that makes this place one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.
The food truck and outside area.

2. Aquapackers, Anchorage Bay

This fun accommodation is located inside of the Abel Tasman National Park. 12.4 km away from the beginning of the park, it can easily be reached on a day hike. It is way more expensive than your usual accommodation as a backpacker but that’s because it is much more than just an accommodation, it is an adventure.

Staying on a boat? That has got to be one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.
On my way to the accommodation

So, what’s the special thing about Aquapackers? As the name suggests, this home for the night Is on a boat. To get on board, you have to be at the sign saying “Aquapackers” (which can easily be missed) on Anchorage beach between 4pm and 6pm and wave at the boat. Marc will then come and pick you up.

Your stay on board the Aquapackers boat will be such a fun experience. With just 22 beds that aren’t always all taken, it feels more like an excursion with friends than staying in a hostel. The dorm rooms are actually under water. How much fun is that?

Staying on a boat? That has got to be one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.
Sleeping “underwater”

Marc and Jane will do everything to make you feel at home. Dinner and breakfast handmade by Jane will be served on a buffet (with vegan options available) and everyone eats together at the same time. Since you have nowhere to go, everyone hangs out in the communal area inside or on the deck after dinner. Far away from any light pollution, the Aquapackers boat makes the perfect spot for watching the sunset and stargazing.

Price: 110$ (66€) for a dorm bed

3. Tamaki Maori Village, Rotorua – much more than just one of the best accommodations in New Zealand

Even more than the Aquapackers boat, the Tamaki Maori Village overnight stay is way more than an accommodation. That’s why it didn’t only make the list of my favorite accommodations in New Zealand, but also the one of my favorite activities with Kiwi Experience (which you can check out here).

So much more than just one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.
The beds in the Whare Moe

Really comfortable beds in a traditional Whare Moe (sleeping house), hot tubs, and amazing dinner and breakfast included – what more could you ask for? If you want to read more in-depth about what to expect from the whole experience, check out my blog post on the Tamaki Maori Village overnight stay here.

Price: 185$ (111€) with Kiwi Experience, otherwise 250$ (151€)

So much more than just one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.
Including hot tubs at night!

4. Bunkers Backpackers, Stewart Island

This hostel is located in a little house on Stewart Island. It doesn’t get more familial than this! The house has a nice and cozy kitchen/living room area where there’s always someone to hang out with. Spacious dorm rooms, a garden, and the awesome location just a few minutes away from the arriving ferry (and very close to church hill where you can see wild kiwis!) make this one of the best accommodations in New Zealand.

But again, the people make the experience. Ryan is an amazing host, helping you out with questions and hanging out with the other guests. His daily homemade bread is amazing as well!

Price: 35$ (21€) for a dorm bed

5. Rainforest Retreat, Franz Josef – easily made the list of the best accommodations in New Zealand

The Rainforest Retreat in Franz Josef is one of the hostels I went to with Kiwi Experience. Apart from nice dorm rooms, their bathrooms are a lot better than what you’re used to from other hostels (the showers are a dream and they provide hair dryers and straighteners). Additionally, they have a very spacious, modern kitchen and a giant hot tub which is free for guests.

Nothing more than an accommodation this time, but still one of the best accommodations in New Zealand
The view from our dorm room.

Connected to Rainforest Retreat, is the Monsoon Bar where, apart from getting a vegan burger, you can spend a fun night out and even request your favorite music on their app.

Price: 35$ (21€) for a dorm bed

Other Accommodations in New Zealand I liked

Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park

This holiday park is like a little, beautiful village. They have an outside area with barbeques and a nice, spacious kitchen. It is the only holiday park I went to with Kiwi Experience.
Price: 32$ (19€) for a dorm bed

Also among the best accommodations in New Zealand
Beach Hostel Punakaiki

Cute little hostel, again with a very familial feel to it. You can actually see the beach from the kitchen area. There are a lot of nice walks around.
Price: 35$ (21€) for a dorm bed

River Valley Lodge

River Valley Lodge is located in the middle of nowhere without any cell service or wifi for guests. But you won’t miss that at all when you’re hanging out in the cozy communal area with a fireplace, enjoying absolutely amazing (also vegan) food.
Price: dorm bed from 30$ (18€)

YHA Wellington

Most of the accommodations I listed have a familial feeling to them. On the contrary, this one is more like a hotel. I am a fan of the YHAs anyway, as they really are quality budget accommodations. Most of them are modern, very clean, and you get very stable bunk beds usually with their own light and power outlet. A lot of YHAs also have lockers in the room with plugs inside. So, you can charge your devices while you’re out and about without having to worry. Additionally, it automatically makes the room less messy.

Overall, the YHA in Wellington is just very nice, in my opinion, with two kitchens, a movie room, other communal areas, and even a laundry room with nice water views (if that’s something that’s important to you haha).

Price: dorm bed starting from 33$ (20€), 10% discount with membership card

I hope this blog post was helpful for planning your trip to New Zealand! As always, feel free to reach out with any questions you might have. Furthermore, make sure to tell me how you’ve liked these places if you’ve been.

Tip: If you’d like to follow along with my life after traveling, follow me on Instagram here.

Check out:

For more tips for your trip to New Zealand, make sure to take a look at these blog posts! Tamaki Maori Village Overnight Stay – Worth the Money?The Best Activities with Kiwi ExperienceThings to do in TaupoKiwi Experience – where to stay longer (how to spend 2 months in New Zealand)Free things to do in WellingtonThe best walks in New ZealandVegan on Kiwi Experience.

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