Auckland Stories and Tips

"Any Room at the Inn?" - Hostels in Auckland

In the many months I stayed in Auckland, I stayed in several hostels, most of which were pretty dire. A couple, however, were great, so don’t think that if you go to Auckland you'll end up living in the gutter! Rather than use a separate 'Accommodation Recommendation' for each hostel, it is probably more prudent to list them all together here. I shall start with the first one I stayed at and finish with the last:

Central City Backpackers 26 Lorne Street, Auckland Central, Ph: (09) 358 5685
Slap bang in the centre of the city, just off Queen Street, this hostel is perfect for those wanting a central stay. It is reasonably priced - dorms start at $18 per night - and the reception is open 24 hours a day. The hostel is broken into 3 levels, each a mini-hostel in itself, with a television and lounge room on each floor. There are also kitchens located on levels two and three, and a small dining area attached to each. The dorm rooms are quite small, most of them housing only 4 people. However the way the hostel is split into levels makes it very impersonal and quite a lonely place. Add in the fact that the upper levels are quite noisy at night, due to the activity coming in from Queen Street, and the fact that all the levels are freezing - there wasn't a heater to be seen anywhere when I stayed there! - and the appeal of the hostel fades. Staff are reasonably helpful and reasonably friendly, however at times it feels like they just can't be bothered.

Auckland International YHA 5 Turner Street, Auckland Central Ph: (09) 302 8200
Large, clean, modern, well-equipped, well stocked and - like all YHA's - extremely expensive and completely sterile. If you want a clean, comfortable stay then this is the place for you. But for me it was just a little too clean and neat, like living in an army barracks. Everything was in its place, everything was clean, and everything was spotless. And because of this, it was an uncomfortable place to stay in. The lounge area felt more like a doctor's waiting room than a communal area, the kitchen felt more like an art gallery, and the bedrooms felt like the bunkhouse for the RAF. Although there is an excellent area downstairs giving information on work, this is not the place to be if you want to meet people and, at $24 per night with a YHA card, the dorms are extremely expensive. Good for the short term, but if you want a 'hostel feel', go elsewhere.

Queen Street Backpackers 4 Fort Street, Auckland Central Ph: (09) 373 3471
Shocking. Quite simply one of the worst hostels I have ever stayed in. The rooms were dirty, the kitchens were filthy and the whole place was crawling with bugs. On my first night there I tried to make a pot of soup and spent the entire time stirring the contents of the pot with a spoon in one hand, and swiping away the cockroaches crawling over the top of the hob - and up the side of the pot - with a cloth in my other hand. The reception was dark and cold, and the laundry left rust stains on my clothes. If I hadn't paid for several nights in advance (at $18 per night for a dorm), I would have walked out altogether after only a few hours. Dreadful.

Lantana Lodge 60 St George's Bay Road, Parnell Ph: (09) 373 4546
Lantana Lodge is something of an enigma. It is situated in a really pretty suburb of Auckland, is well serviced by the bus routes, and is small enough to be really personal and extremely comfortable. Yet it isn't, and the reason why it isn't is entirely due to the owners - it is run by a mad old witch and her lab-assistant husband. Lantana Lodge could be great, if it weren't for them! There are 2 dorm rooms, each housing 7 people, 5 double/ twin rooms, one family room housing 5, and one triple room, housing 3. Dorm prices are normally $20 per night - standard for a hostel in Parnell. The kitchen is always spotlessly clean, there is a comfortable TV room with a radio, and the porch area has awnings to protect you from the wind and rain. So what do the owners do to make it so bad? They're just insane, stubborn, unfriendly and evil! They treat every guest like a piece of sh*t, they don’t give a damn about you once you've handed over your money, the hostel is freezing all the time because they only allow the heaters to be turned on for 3 hours a night (and actually padlock them shut for the rest of the day!), the bedclothes are dirty and are rarely washed, the electric wiring is unsafe and haphazard, and you're not allowed to use the public telephone for more than 5 mins at a time without getting a tap on the shoulder and told to hang up. In every sense of the word, I hated my stay there. If you take one piece of advice from me, let it be this - never, ever stay at Lantana Lodge.

Bamber House 22 View Road, Mt Eden Ph: (09) 623 4267
This place was great. Really comfortable, friendly, well situated, well thought out and fun to live at. With enough rooms to suit any need - from a single bed in a dorm to an entire 8 person mini-house separate from the hostel proper - this is the place to stay. Situated in Mt Eden, in clear view of the volcanic summit, the hostel is directly opposite the bus stop servicing the 10 minute ride to the city. Inside, the communal area is large and comfortable, with a huge TV and a great selection of videos. The kitchen is a little small, but it is clean. The staff are always helpful and friendly, and there is a swimming pool out the back. Dorms start at $18 per night, and are well worth the money - particularly the ones upstairs, which come with a door onto a large, sun-lit balcony. Well worth staying outside the city for.

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