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“Lower your ridiculously high standards and you might have a better trip” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Rongo Backpackers

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Rongo Backpackers
130 Waverley Street | P.O. Box 54, Karamea, New Zealand   |  
Hotel amenities
bekkitordoff
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Lower your ridiculously high standards and you might have a better trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2009

I find it interesting that the previous reviewer puts so much emphasis on the fact that there were not many guests in the hostel at that time; amazingly enough the amount of guests depends on the amount of people coming to karamea at any given time and to put down a hostel for having few guests in a not particularly busy time of year is completely ridiculous. If you want a place with hundreds of guests then I suggest you check out Auckland next time.

Anne72Leeds also claims that there "seems to be no one paid to clean". You're right, nobody IS paid to clean. The entire hostel is run by WWOOFers and anybody who had actually taken time to get to know the team instead of looking for faults in the place she might've come to understand that the business is, being relatively new, trying to find its feet and cannot afford to pay for industrial equipment to clean the place every day. Rongo does what it can with the help that comes through and for most guests that seems to be just fine. Funnily enough, very few of the guests have a problem with the rooms or bathrooms. I suggest that next time Anne looks for budget accommodation she should keep in mind the fact that, well, she's looking for budget accommodation and lower her ridiculously high standards. There are high-end motels for the likes of her.

I also suggest that Anne looks into WWOOF and what it's about before she starts making bold claims about the owner finding work for people without a visa.

Rongo is a relaxing place for people to unwind out of the way of busy cities and towns. It is run by volunteers who put their heart and soul into trying to make the place run as efficiently as possible. Fair enough, that's where there's some room for error because not all volunteers have the same standards of cleanliness, but this is not Paul's fault at all, it's just a part of WWOOF. The vast majority of people who I've seen go through Rongo (and I've spent about six months here) have been incredibly satisfied with their stay and loved the atmosphere. It is not the Hilton, and if it was there wouldn't be nearly as much character to the place. It's more than a backpacker's, it's also a budding centre of artistic excellence and part of the LivingInPeace project. When you actually bother to look at the bigger picture and see what Paul, Brian and the WWOOFers are actually trying to do, it's more difficult to pick trivial little faults with the place.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Dunsborough
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 5, 2009

A group of us came off the Heaphy Track and stayed at Rongo for four days. The backpackers was clean and tidy, warm, the staff were friendly and helpful. We had a pot-luck dinner one night with a "pirate" dress-up theme which was great fun. They show movies on Friday nights and the radio station is just brilliant. The building is full of incredible artworks and "Moo" the dog loves being taken to the beach for a walk...the Karamea region is beautiful as well, the Oparara Basin is incredible!

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 3, 2009

This hostel does not have many paying guests. The only other paying guests we saw came off the end of the Heaphy Track. You might want to stay here if you are looking for work - the owner wil help people find work without having a visa. The owner does not seem able to differentiate between paying guests and people working for him and I found him very rude.

The place was quite interesting in that it was arty and was trying to be a "hippy" place (run by the same man that owns the motel and other local businesses). The layout of the living room encouraged people to chat and we found a lot of the people staying there long-term to be very friendly.

Unfortunately there seemed to be no one paid to clean. Our bedsheets were stained and the kitchen was often dirty. The beds were old and basic. There is also no privacy in the showers.

I would only recommend this place if other budget accommodation in the area is booked out (there is another small backpackers). It is overpriced for the quality provided, would have been happier staying here if the price was more in line with cheaper budget hostels.

The local area is intersting to visit, particularly the Oparara Basin with limestone features and caves.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Rongo Backpackers

Address: 130 Waverley Street | P.O. Box 54, Karamea, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > West Coast Region > Karamea
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Karamea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
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