South Island Hostels

Best Hostels New Zealand South Island

Best Hostels New Zealand South Island

Best Hostels New Zealand South Island

When searching online for good hostels in the South Island of New Zealand you will be presented with zillions of offers and tipps. This can be quite overwhelming. To help you make a decision we have put a list together with what we think are the best hostels for backpackers in the South Island when it comes to price and quality. There is a big difference in location, comfort and price per person/per night that you have to consider. We know backpackers are often on a budget and sometimes there seems to be no other option than a cheap campsite. There is, however, a lot of hostel companies around New Zealand – we recommend those belonging to the YHA or BBH network as being the most trustworthy. Only those who offer a certain standard will be added to the network.



Inter-island ferries that connect North and South Island go back and forth between Wellington and Picton via the Cook Strait. The town is the usual starting point for holidays into the Marlborough Sounds.

Tombstone Backpackers

The Villa


Marlborough Sounds

An extensive network of waterways and peninsulas covering 4000km². The Sounds are home to the rare Rough-faced Shag, also known as the New Zealand King Cormorant.

Hopewell Lodge



Is meant to be the geographic centre of New Zealand. Nelson is also the country’s second oldest city. It was proclaimed a city by royal charter in 1858.

The Bug

Almond House Backpackers


Golden Bay/Abel Tasman National Park

Dutch explorer Abel Tasman anchored in this bay just north of Nelson in 1642. He was the first European to ever set eyes on New Zealand. It’s a popular tourist destination due to its fine weather. The bay once was a resting area for migrating whales and dolphins.You will find more information on New Zealand’s national parks in this article.

The Innlet in Golden Bay

Eden’s Edge Backpacker Lodge

Kanuka Ridge Abel Tasman Backpacker Lodge



Roughly 70km southeast of Nelson this city is in the centre of one of New Zealand’s most important wine regions. It also enjoys one of the country’s sunniest climates with hot, dry summers. The area offers a range of activities from swimming with dolphins to kayaking, scenig boat cruises and bush walks.

Blenheim Backpackers and Motorcamp



A small township on the west coast just north of Westport that has adopted the endangered Hector’s Dolphin as a town iconic. It is involved in projects by DOC (Department of Conservation) in order to save the dolphins that can be regularly seen off the coast of Hector.

The Old Slaughterhouse



The town on the west coast is close to the prominent headland of Cape Foulwind that overlooks the Tasman Sea and is home to a fur seal breeding colony. Another popular tourist destination are the Oparara Basin Arches, a network of limestone tunnels.

YHA Westport



A small township between Westport and Greymouth on the edge of Paparoa National Park. The region is famous for the so-called Pancake Rocks, a heavily coroded limestone area with vertical blowholes.

Te Nikau Retreat



On the mouth of the river Grey, hence the name of the town which is the largest in the West Coast region. In clear weather Mount Cook can be clearly seen offering spectacular views. Greenstone carving is a major local industry.

Noah’s Ark Backpackers


Franz Josef

Situated on the west coast its main attraction nearby is the Franz Josef Glacier.

Sir Cedrics Glow Worm Cottages


Mount Cook/Lake Tekapo

Aoraki or Mount Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain (3754m) located in the Southern Alps.

Tailor Made Backpackers

Mount Cook Backpacker Lodge



Lake Wanaka stretches 192 km² and is New Zealand’s fourth biggest lake. The town itself is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

Wanaka Bakpaka Backpacker



It’s the centre of adventure tourism packed with activites from skiing or jetboating to bungeejumping, mountainbiking and hiking. The city itself is rather small but buzzing with life thanks to numerous cafes, bars and restaurants.

The Black Sheep Backpackers


Milford Sound

Being 15km long Milford Sound is the most popular tourist attraction in New Zealand and is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fjord has also been judged the world’s top travel destination in an international survey (the 2008 Travelers’ Choice Destinations Awards by TripAdvisor.

Milford Sound Lodge


Te Anau

A small township on the edge of the Fjordland National Park and major stop for any tour into the fjords. Te Anau is located on the shore of Lake Te Anau which spans over 344 km² and makes it the largest lake of the South Island.

YHA Te Anau



It’s the country’s southernmost and westernmost city and also one of the southernmost cities in the world. Many streets in Invercargill are named after British and Scottish rivers.

Southern Comfort


Catlins/Curio Bay

Sometimes referred to as The Caitlins Coast this region lies in the southeast between Balclutha and Invercargill. It includes the South Island’s most southern point, Slope Point, and also houses a yellow-eyed penguin colony as well as a 180 million year old petrefied forest.

Curio Bay Backpackers



New Zealand’s 8th biggest city according to population and fourth most important cultural centre after Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Once upon a time Dunedin was the biggest and also richest city in the country. It housed New Zealand’s first university and was birthplace of the country’s first newspaper.

Hogwartz Backpackers



120km north of Dunedin the area houses some interesting archaeological sites dating back to early Maori culture. There’s also a blue penguin colony that lives in the harbour near the historic precinct.

Old Bones Backpacker Lodge



Lake Tekapo spreads over 83 km² which makes it the biggest lake in the Canterbury region. Daily shuttle services link the town to Christchurch and Queenstown.

YHA Tekapo



Unfortunately Christchurch gained a lot of international reputation due to its massive earthquakes and floods. The neogothic Christ Church Anglican Cathedral used to be the centre of the city. It had a metal spire seeing as the previous stone construction had repeatedly been destroyed in earthquakes. After the last big quake in February 2011 the cathedral was damaged so badly that the city council decided to have it torn down.

Around the World Backpackers

Haka Lodge



The name of the city translates into “meal of crayfish”. Originally a centre for the whaling industry Kaikoura today has an abundance of marine life. Tourists often come here to watch whales and swim with dolphins or visit the southern fur seal colony at the eastern edge of town. The city has also adopted an Environmental and Social Sustainability Policy and has achieved international recognition for its commitment. Every year since 2001 Kaikoura has been EarthCheck certified (formerly Green Globe).

Albatross Backpacker Inn

Dolphin Lodge Backpackers


Thank you to the team of Neuseeland für Deutsche and Work Travel NZ for assisting me in compiling this list.


Looking for hostels in the North Island? Just follow this link.

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