6 Best Hostels for Backpackers in Tauranga

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Last Updated: September 14, 2023

Tauranga, located in the Bay of Plenty, is the beating heart of New Zealand’s North Island beach scene. The area offers a plethora of affordable accommodations, mainly catering to backpackers. With an extensive range of hostels, motels, and homestays available, budget travellers are spoiled for choice.

Having spent eight months as a backpacker in Tauranga, I have first-hand experience in numerous lodging options and can recommend some of the best ones while advising on others to avoid.

One of the best aspects of finding a place to stay in Tauranga is the sheer abundance of choices. From dorm rooms to private accommodation, there are countless choices. The only question is which one to pick.

Whether your plans involve riding the waves in the Mount or indulging in the culinary delights of The Strand, I have compiled a list of the best affordable accommodations that Tauranga has to offer. As a fellow budget traveller, let’s delve into the six best hostels in Tauranga.

Wanderlust NZ

Wanderlust NZ Front Exterior
Source: Wanderlust NZ Management
Address:105 The Strand, Tauranga 3110, New Zealand
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Phone:+64 508 926 337
Location score:9.3
Hostel World rating:8.9
Google rating:4.6
Shared dorm starting price:NZ$46/night
Private room starting price:NZ$134/night

First on the list is Wanderlust NZ – one of Tauranga’s most recognized hostels. With a funky facade sitting right on The Strand, it’s hard to walk past without doing a double-take. The mint green building with arches and large windows seems to call you from the sidewalk, brimming with budget travellers lining the balconies.

Aside from the attractive exterior, this downtown Tauranga hostel offers modern interiors, pristine shared spaces and an all-around upscale experience (minus the hefty price tag). Filled with elegant sea-themed murals and boasting views over the Bay, Wanderlust is undoubtedly among the best cheap accommodation in Tauranga. 

If cleanliness and facilities are at the top of your priority list, Wanderlust is simply sparkling. The dorms sleep between 4 and 12 people and are fresh and welcoming. There are also plenty of private rooms for some extra peace and quiet.

While you have Tauranaga’s best restaurants just outside the front door, the kitchen is well equipped for cooking, and the common spaces allow you to enjoy your meals and the views simultaneously. 

Wanderlust NZ may be cheap, but the sunset view from their balcony is worth a million bucks.

From the Staff

What is one thing you want visitors to know about your backpackers’ hostel?
Wanderlust is Tauranga’s newest 5-star silver Qualmark awarded hostel and only waterfront accommodation, dedicated to celebrating the desire for discovery, adventure and exploring the world.
It’s more than just a place to stay. Our newly renovated historic building is the preferred stop for travellers and young adventurers wanting high quality, affordable rooms, from backpacker hostel style dorms to upmarket double ensuites. We are committed to protecting our beautiful natural environment, enhancing connections with our local communities, while delivering an amazing quality and safe experience to all our guests. A place with a great vibe and million-dollar harbour views for great value. We want everyone to come stay and make our destination part of their journey too.

Renee, Manager at Wanderlust NZ

How far in advance do guests have to book accommodations?
Guests can book up until the actual arrival day, as long as there is availability of course. It all depends on the time of the year. A typical year we are 90%+ fully booked from October to June. So if guests don’t want to miss out on a booking, it would be advised to plan ahead and secure their beds/room to avoid disappointment.

Renee, Manager at Wanderlust NZ

Mount Backpackers

Mount Backpackers, Tauranga
Source: Mount Backpackers, Tauranga
Address:87 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui 3116, New Zealand
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Phone:+64 7 575 0860
Location score:10.0
Hostel World rating:9.1
Google rating:4.2
Shared dorm starting price:NZ$30/night
Private room starting price:Shared dorms only.

One of Tauranga’s most famous hostels for affordable accommodation, Mount Backpackers is always a guaranteed good time.

Sitting on the main stretch of downtown Mount Maunganui, this hostel is steps from the best restaurants and a two-minute walk to the beach. It attracts travellers from far and wide eager to surf, hike, and meet other young people. If you’re hoping to be in the centre of all the action, this is the place to be.

The hostel is simple but does the trick, with a range of dorm rooms and a private double for those seeking more privacy. Common spaces include a shared kitchen, a modest lounge, and a large deck with a BBQ for post-beach beers.

More perks of staying here include wetsuit and surfboard rentals, high-speed WiFi, and even bikes for exploring. What more could you ask for on vacation?

Hugo & Carters Backpackers & Motel

Hugo & Carters Backpackers & Motel
Source: Hugo & Carters Backpackers & Motel
Address:39 Bell Street, Judea, Tauranga 3110, New Zealand
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Phone:+64 22 639 1469
Location score:7.5
Hostel World rating:7.4
Google rating:4.1
Shared dorm starting price:NZ$32/night
Private room starting price:NZ$92/night

Hugo & Carters is a newer hostel and motel hybrid with an industrial feel and swanky atmosphere. It’s an excellent option if you’re after a more upscale stay that won’t break the bank. They offer four and eight-bed dorms, along with a smattering of private rooms with ensuite bathrooms and chic motel units to accommodate groups of up to six travelling together.

The hostel oozes style with whitewashed walls, overstuffed leather sofas, wood and iron detailing, and plenty of space to spread out. In the colder months, curl up by the fireplace with a good book, and when the sun is shining, soak it up on the outdoor deck.

You’ll find a shared kitchen and dining room beside the hangout space and private parking on-site. Located in Judea, this stay is just a hop and a skip from South Tauranga and a 10-minute drive to the Mount.

Seagulls Guesthouse

Seagulls Guesthouse, Mount Maunganui
Source: Seagulls Guesthouse, Mount Maunganui
Address:12 Hinau Street, Mount Maunganui 3116, New Zealand
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Phone:+64 7 574 2099
Location score:8.0
Hostel World rating:8.0
Google rating:4.0
Shared dorm starting price:Private rooms only.
Private room starting price:NZ$125/night

Are you hoping to stay in Mount Maunganui for cheap? The Seagulls Guesthouse sits right in town, allowing guests to walk to any restaurant, cafe, or shop they desire (don’t miss out on Rice Rice Baby!). It’s also only a stone’s throw away from the beach and a 10-minute walk through town to the base of the Mount, making it the ideal place to stay if you’re looking to be outside.  

Sparkling clean with great rates, Seagulls has an old school beach house vibe with floral couches, wood panelling and a cosy sunroom. It has everything a hostel should, like a large lounge area (with a fireplace), a spacious shared kitchen and a terrace with a BBQ area… minus the over-stuffed dorm rooms. 

Choose from a double, twin, family or 3-bed shared dorm, ensuring you get the level of privacy that makes you the most comfortable. Far from a party hostel, the Seagulls Guesthouse makes for a quiet stay. There’s on-site parking if you plan to explore the area, and the friendly reception desk can help arrange local activities. 

Pacific Coach Lodge

Pacific Coach Lodge, Mount Maunganui
Source: Pacific Coach Lodge, Mount Maunganui
Address:432 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui 3116, New Zealand
Open in Google Maps
Phone:+64 7 574 9601
Location score:8.0
Hostel World rating:7.8
Google rating:4.3
Shared dorm starting price:NZ$40/night
Private room starting price:NZ$136/night

A colourful and inviting cheap accommodation in Tauranga, it’s hard to miss the Pacific Coach Lodge with the vibrant mural along an entire side of the building and the billowing ‘hostel’ flags lining the sidewalk. If there’s one thing this place has, it’s curb appeal.

Located in the centre of Mount Maunganui’s main street, you won’t need a car to go anywhere. It’s a quick walk from the beach and surrounded by the best establishments the Mount has to offer. It has a social atmosphere and is a great place to meet other young travellers or seasonal workers and enjoy some of the Bay of Plenty’s countless adventures. 

With dorm rooms ranging from four to ten beds and double and twin rooms, if you’re after some more privacy, the Pacific Coach Lodge has everything a budget traveller needs at a low price. And we mean everything. Spend time in the game room with old school arcade games, on a hammock in the colourful courtyard, or whipping up a meal in the massive open plan kitchen. The possibilities are endless. 

Seascape Villa Bed and Breakfast

Seascape Villa B&B, Tauranga
Source: Seascape Villa B&B, Tauranga
Address:179 Carlton Street, Bellevue, Tauranga 3110, New Zealand
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Phone:+64 7 576 0088
Location score:9.2
Booking.com rating:9.6
Google rating:4.8
Shared dorm starting price:Private rooms only.
Private room starting price:NZ$230/night

Tucked away in a quiet corner of the suburb Otumoetai, you’ll find the ever-charming Seascape Villa B&B. While this isn’t necessarily a hostel, we included it because of its local vibe. Those keen for a local stay far from the tourist crowds will relish in the peacefulness of this Tauranga accommodation, while only a five-minute drive from the harbour and ten minutes from the Mount.

Expect crisp linens, sweeping garden views, and five-star details, not to mention luxurious touches like plush robes, ensuite bathrooms, and plenty of treats. It’s important to note that Seascape Villa offers three queen rooms and is reserved for adults. Thus, this refreshing retreat from the typical bustling budget accommodations books up fast!

But the real draw to this charming stay is the Kiwi hospitality. The hosts are warm and welcoming and stick to true B&B fashion with a tasty breakfast spread in the morning. 

Final Thoughts

My final piece of advice? Choose a place to stay where you can interact with the locals. While social hostels can be enjoyable, there’s nothing quite like getting insider knowledge from those who know the area best. And let me tell you, the locals in Tauranga are incredibly friendly.

No matter what kind of budget accommodation you’re seeking, Tauranga has something to offer. Whether you prefer affordable private rooms or highly sociable hostels, you’ll find many options in the beautiful Bay of Plenty region.

For more information on things to do in Tauranga, read our other articles:

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