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“Rongo - never going back!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Rongo Backpackers

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Rongo Backpackers
Christchurch, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Rongo - never going back!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 29, 2011

Rongo was the worst backpackers I have ever stayed in. We came off the heaphy track after 4 days of walking to get a cold shower with no privacy in the shower area. The dorm rooms were dark and dingy, the place didn't feel clean and the owner was incredibly obnoxious. The huts while we were tramping were a much better standard than those encountered at Rongo. Karamea is a lovely part of the country, but I would definitely recommend staying at the other backpackers in town if you ever travel in this area, or for half the price you can stay in the local domain where at least you can get a hot shower.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Kirsten W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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49 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
76 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2011

This is a wonderful backpackers and an 'experience' as much as a nights accomodation. It certainly may not appeal to everyone but the philosophy behind the place is what makes it special. The are a number of Woofers working here who mainly work on a permaculture farm the owner has about 5 mins walk for the hostel. People are encouraged to have a look and learn about the special principles of this type of agriculture. While I was there one of the Woofers had a birthday and we all pitched in to cook a massive meal for everyone staying using organic veges grown in the garden. Its just that kind of place where you leave with heart warming experiences. I cant say much more other than go! Karamea is one of my favourite places in NZ and this backpackers just tops it off!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ngrrk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meissen, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2010

friendly staff, tidy rooms, hippie + art, ecofriendly, organic stuff

Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank FalkF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
50 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 8, 2010

3rd visit to Rongo and the current wwoofers all very friendly and helpful, as are the managers. Dust in some corners but cleanliness is perfectly adequate, not the health hazard you might believe from some reviews! Bed in the purple double is very comfortable and while bathroom design is a little unusual, people respect each other's privacy, and you can always lock the whole thing off for 10 minutes for a shower.

4th night free policy is designed to get you to stay longer, and worth it as Karamea is a twisty two hours from Westport, and you need at least a day for the Heaphy Walk and a day for the wonderful Oparara basin! Staying four nights makes it a bargain, staying less makes it expensive - 'go figure' as they say. Kitchen is also good and garden beautifully kept. Downsides are the tatty and musty furniture in the lounge and the heavy footsteps of most people along the wooden floors, which shake the entire place - it is possible to walk lightly but you wouldn't believe it!

we also hit a pot luck meal, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and love the mellow sounds of the radio station.

so a definite yes.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank fr0mtheb0rders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bekkitordoff
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank bekkitordoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dunsborough
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank WarrigulB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Level Contributor
19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Anne72Leeds
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Rongo Backpackers

Property: 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 6 Specialty Lodging in Karamea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 10
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