The Best Backpacker Hostels to Book in Rotorua, New Zealand

The champagne pool in Rotoruas Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Reserve
The champagne pool in Rotorua's Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Reserve | © Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip Travel Team

New Zealand’s capital of geothermal activity, Rotorua is firmly entrenched on the backpacker circuit, catering to those who come to experience geysers, mud pools, thermal springs and the surrounding lake district. Supporting this roaring tourism trade are a whole raft of backpacker-centric accommodations, many of which go that extra mile to offer something unique. Here are some of the best Rotorua hostels, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Rotorua Downtown Backpackers – BBH


a9a4a045 - Rotorua Downtown Backpackers – BBH
© Rotorua Downtown Backpackers – BBH / Expedia

Finding a reliable backpacker hostel that offers budget beds in a central location isn’t always possible, but in Rotorua, there are a number of options. Rotorua Downtown Backpackers is just a block away from the Government Gardens, where you’ll find the timber-framed Rotorua Museum and the enticingly named Sulphur Point. The hostel’s sofa-packed lounge, outdoor barbecue space and a large communal kitchen are ideal spots for meeting other guests.

The Backyard Inn

Budget Hotel, Hostel, Camping

165516906 - The Backyard Inn -
© The Backyard Inn /

Geothermal activity abounds in the environs of Rotorua, and The Backyard Inn harnesses this natural energy to heat its own outdoor swimming pool. As you might imagine, the vibe here leans towards backpacker chic, offering wooden chalet-style rooms and apartments with private bathrooms, all bathed in warm light during the evening. There’s an onsite bar and the kitchen is large enough to cook a meal for a small platoon.

Bella Vista Motel Rotorua


f0d89922 - Bella Vista Motel Rotorua
© Bella Vista Motel Rotorua / Expedia

Anybody who has their own set of wheels might want to consider one of Rotorua’s motels, which can be found throughout the town. The Bella Vista Motel, on the edge of Kuirau Park – a large space with its own hot springs and mud pools near the town centre – is particularly popular with guests for its cleanliness and comfort. The gardens consist of native plants arranged around a well-tended lawn, where there’s a barbecue and plenty of seating.

Rock Solid Backpackers


c4869e88 - Rock Solid Backpackers
© Rock Solid Backpackers / Expedia

Rock Solid is a unique backpacking accommodation where you can hang out in more ways than one: there’s a small basement cinema and a huge lounge with table tennis and a pool table and floor-to-ceiling windows along one side that overlook this hostel’s piece de resistance: a huge climbing wall of up to 20m (66ft). This is the real deal for rock climbers, with dozens of possible climbs and discounts for guests.

Aura Accommodation

Independent Hotel

fee8e0ad - Aura Accommodation
© Aura Accommodation / Expedia

The team at Aura seem to have thought of everything. Want a fresh way to get around? There’s free bike and scooter use. Want to relax? There’s a heated outdoor pool open throughout the year and a therapeutic mineral pool on site. Want to learn about local cooking techniques? Try preparing a regional recipe, cooked in their geothermal steambox. Aura is not strictly a backpacker hostel and welcomes all travellers, including families, couples and groups.

Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort

Resort, Spa Hotel

7ba8698f - Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort
©Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort / Expedia

Where better to loosen the purse strings than a hotbed of geothermal activity? When you’ve been on the backpacker trail for a long time, a regenerative antidote to the travails of the road is always a good idea. Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort, located 8km (5mi) east of Rotorua, has plush studio rooms and suites, which front an outdoor pool. There’s also a spa – for an additional fee – and direct access to the sandy lakefront.

Now you know where you’re staying in Rotorua, it’s time to fill up the itinerary. Find inspiration in Culture Trip’s guide to Rotorua. Expand your New Zealand holiday by staying in one of the best hotels in Wellington or the best apartments in Auckland. For more options, discover our guide on the top places to stay in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, and book now on Culture Trip.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Thalita Alves.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.