If you’re planning on visiting New Zealand, you’re aware that accommodations are on the high side. It’s quite pricey for what you get. Since we had a full month in New Zealand during our year of travel, finding places of value was essential for us. That meant looking at hostels that had private rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
We read good reviews about the YHA brand and decided to stay at YHA Wanaka. Not only is the location great, the room and the price we paid made it a budget-friendly stay for us.
If you are considering staying at this hostel, keep reading to get an idea of what it’s like to stay here.
About YHA Wanaka New Zealand
This hostel is a short walk from Lake Wanaka with stunning mountains as backdrops. Another factor that drew us into this hostel was the fact that it is part of the YHA brand. This hostel is also a short drive away from many attractions in Wanaka and is close to a grocery store as well.
Another aspect of this hostel is that there are rooms with ensuite bathrooms at reasonable rates. Since there is a large communal kitchen, we saved money by cooking most of our meals.
First impressions of YHA Wanaka New Zealand
After coming from a modern and beautiful hostel in YHA Queenstown, I was surprised at the stark contrast at this hostel. It felt and looked very old and out-of-date. Nonetheless, it was clean with a functional common area, and that was good enough for me.
This demographic at this hostel proved that hostels aren’t just for young backpackers. There were families with young children along with older couples. I saw many large multi-generational families at this hostel as well.
The room at YHA Wanaka New Zealand
There are many rooms types of rooms to choose from at this hostel. They range from private rooms with ensuite bathrooms (and some had small kitchens!) to dorm rooms. I can see the appeal for families at this hostel because many of the rooms have ensuite bathrooms. Here’s a chart to make it easier for you to compare
|Bed Type||Rooms with private ensuite bathroom?|
We stayed in a double room with a private bathroom and a lakeview.
It’s a bit more expensive than other double private ensuite because of the view. I didn’t the view was worth the extra price, but that’s just me. I’m pretty sure we booked it because there weren’t any other rooms left.
On that note, if you are sure you want to visit Wanaka, book your accommodations in advance! The town is small, and accommodation availability is scarce! I overheard a man checking in, only to realize that he is checking in a day too early! Unfortunately, the hostel was completely booked that day. I’m sure his family struggled to find a place for the night.
Like the rest of the hostel, the room is very old
Or to put a positive spin on it, it had a charming cabin feel, at a costly price tag. Note, everything is expensive in New Zealand so that comment is not directed to this hostel. The shower was old, and a bit dark and the lock on our room door was flimsy. The hostel must have felt the same way about the crummy lock on the door because they left a doorstep for us in our room.
Another inconvenience to our room was that we had no kettle! That’s a must for me because I like to boil my water and drink it warm. Having to get water from the kitchen was a bit of an inconvenience. Fortunately, the hostel is small, and the kitchen is close enough for me to grab water at night.
One concern about the hostel is that anyone can walk into the hostel. In fact, I’m pretty sure someone tried to come in and use the hostel’s Wi-Fi.
A peaceful sleep
The great thing about our room is that it gets very quiet at night. In fact, it was very quiet by 9 pm on our first night, and I started to wonder if everyone is sleeping at the hostel. I got curious and walked into the communal area only to see a handful of other guests chatting and playing pool. When closed, the main door between the common areas and the rooms does a good job at blocking sound.
I was happy to get a well rested sleep after staying at the YHA Queenstown hostel where I could hear every door slam.
The service at YHA Wanaka New Zealand
I have no complaints about the service at this hostel as they were helpful. The staff was good at suggesting itinerary ideas since we didn’t have a plan when we arrived at Wanaka.
They were also super duper helpful when G chipped his tooth in Wanaka. It was a very stressful moment because Wanaka has only three dental clinics in the town. Another problem was that he chipped his tooth on a Friday afternoon. Sadly, most dental clinics close early on Fridays and the weekends! Talk about stress! Fortunately, we had World Nomads travel insurance who took good care of us.
The receptionist let me borrow the hostel phone and gave me a list of numbers to call around the city. Fortunately, he was able to find a clinic that had a last-minute cancellation.
I saw another moment where the staff showed their empathy and care. As I mentioned earlier, a guest tried checking in, only to realize that his reservation was for the following day. Since the hostel was completely booked, the staff member offered to call other places in the area for him.
The location of YHA Wanaka New Zealand
The biggest selling point of this hostel is the location. It honestly is within a ten-minute walking distance to Lake Wanaka. You can also walk to the beach, grocery and liquor store all within that same time frame.
The kitchen at YHA Wanaka New Zealand
The kitchen gets very busy during dinnertime and is hard to get things done if you’re waiting on certain appliances to cook with, like the stove. But there’s still a lot of utensils and enough space for everyone to move around.
The dining area and seating area at YHA Wanaka New Zealand
The common area is all lumped into one big room. There is a pool table with lots of seating area for people to relax and chill.
There is also a media room and tv room which people don’t seem to use much of at night.
At first glance, this hostel gives a not so great impression since it’s a old and outdated. However, I felt that it met my needs as a budget traveler (or flashpacker) during my trip to New Zealand.
If you are on a budget travel and you’re looking for a clean place to stay that’s within a convenient location, this hostel is definitely worth considering.
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