Hostels and Budget Accommodation in the Pacific
Types of Accommodation For the purposes of this article, we'll include all of the Pacific Island nations plus Australia and New Zealand.
The Pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, contains a diverse set of countries. Australia and New Zealand are two of the most visited nations in the region and in the world for budget travelers. Here you'll find no shortage of backpackers and budget travelers. Hostels are a popular option with budget travelers, young backpackers, and students, all who are looking for the most affordable places to stay in order to maximize their budget and extend the length of their trips. Long-term travel is quite popular in Australia and New Zealand due to the low cost of travel, and the same is true for many of the Pacific islands. Hostels usually offer social and fun environments at an affordable price, making them an attractive option for accommodation.
If staying hostel isn't your style, then you'll also find plenty of budget hotels and guesthouses throughout the region. If you're traveling as a couple and plan to stay in a private room, prices in hostels and budget hotels are often about the same as they are for singles or for hostel beds. The main difference between these two options is that many hostels offer kitchens and common areas where you can hang out and meet other guests. Hostels are known for their social setting, so if you want a more quiet and private environment, then a budget hotel may be more your style. But if you're on a particularly tight budget, having access to a kitchen can significantly cut down on costs as you'll be able to cook many of your own meals.
Popular Hostel Chains
Nomads Hostels The Nomads chain of hostels covers Australia and New Zealand quite thoroughly. These hostels tend to be large and full of amenities that budget travelers want such as common rooms with games, on-site restaurants and bars, and a variety of types of rooms from dorms to privates to suites. Rooms are generally clean and comfortable, and you generally know what to expect here: fairly good quality at a reasonable price.
Base Hostels The Base hostel chain has pretty good coverage all over New Zealand and Australia, and often focuses on making sure that guests have a good time. Some of their hostels are known as "party hostels" while others are more relaxed (but still quite social). While quality is consistently good across all of their hostels (clean rooms with plenty of amenities), the social atmosphere in each hostel can be varied.
Haka Lodge Hostels The Haka Lodge chain is aiming to provide a more "upscale" and "luxurious" hostel experience. While these hostels are still hostels, the amenities tend to be a little nicer than some of the other hostels in the region. Expect to pay slightly more here, but still less than a traditional hotel. Guest reviews are positive about the luxury atmosphere of these hostels, as the facilities are very nice, modern, and clean. They also offer a good social atmosphere.
Traveling Alone Independent travel and solo backpackers are a very common sight in Australia and New Zealand. This is a popular region of the world for budget travelers, and many nations offer a pretty good means to get around for those that wish to navigate on their own. It's also not hard to meet other travelers with similar interests. If you're traveling by yourself, the most affordable accommodation option is usually a dorm in a hostel. The size of the rooms can range from just a couple of beds to dozens of bunks. The price of a bed is often lower in the larger rooms, but the noise is predictably louder. If you're hoping to meet other travelers, look for a hostel that organizes activities and tours for guests, offers plenty of common space, and has a kitchen. Meal times can be a great time to meet fellow guests, especially if the hostel provides free meals such as breakfast.
Looking for a Party Some travelers head to specific locations in Australia and New Zealand, such as the beaches of the Gold Coast from Brisbane to Cairns, specifically for surfing, sun, and of course, partying. Destinations such as Sydney, Darwin, Aukland, and Melbourne, which attract young travelers from around the world are also very popular nightlife spots. It is not hard to find hostels that cater to these crowds. These "party hostels" often have nightly bar crawls, on-site bars, and music. If you're looking for a good night's sleep, then these hostels might be best avoided, but if your goal is to hit all of the best bars and clubs, then these hostels are for you.
Dorms vs Private Rooms Plenty of hostels in Australia and New Zealand offer both dorms and private rooms. Dorms usually have bunk beds for multiple guests and a shared bathroom. In general, dorm beds are the cheapest option for solo travelers. It's also not uncommon for small groups of friends to fill a whole dorm room. Private rooms appeal more to travelers who have companions with them or those who desire a private bathroom. Some rooms have twin beds while others have double beds. Both shared and private bathrooms may be available, but private bathrooms are typically more expensive. Do note that just because you're in a private room, it doesn't always mean you'll escape the noise of a social hostel. If a quiet place is a priority for you, you might do better in a private hotel room.