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“Don't do it!”

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Wilderness Backpackers
Reviewed October 26, 2013

Do not make the mistake of staying here! On the night we stayed, the Haast Pass had been closed and we wanted to stay as near as possible in case it opened the next day. To market this hostel as 'clean' (as it does in the BBH guide), is about as accurate as claiming that it also offers a golf course, an airport, and a petting zoo complete with grazing unicorns. The 'large conservatory' is indeed correct but resembles the Mary Celeste as there are half a dozen games half-played still set out on the tables whilst a thick layer of dust (we reckon about 2-3 months worth at least) lies on tables, benches, sofas etc - presumably previous occupants were simply overcome by the bacteria?

At least the kitchen has some semblance of cleanliness although the microwave was covered in fat and hadn't been cleaned for a number of weeks. Pots and pans remained greasy and uncooked in dirty draws and cupboards. The bathrooms were clean enough but the toilet had a post-it note on it from a previous guest which bemoaned the cleanliness and criticised the place, which clearly hadn't been discovered during cleaning(?).

Apart from the stained duvet and blanket the bedroom was ok and at least if you are cold you can 'hire' - yes, 'hire' blankets. I've never came across a hostel that hires blankets when you're cold rather than provides them free of charge.

If you have any complaints then you can speak to Your 'host' Ollie. I can only surmise that, in this instance, 'host' is short for 'hostile'. Nearly every question or statement made to him is interpreted as onerous or irritating. To a Hong Kong family who asked about Internet provision 'we have a self-explanatory notice here and another one at the computers. Ok?''; to someone asking whether that was the backpackers kitchen 'it would seem that way'; to someone asking whether the powder goes in the main washing machine drum or a separate shute 'well, where else would it go?'.

To summarise- we didn't like it! If we came across this hostel in a less developed country then it would be acceptable but not for this price in a country which offers such a great selection of backpacking accommodation and with such friendly staff.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank TravelDan123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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33 - 39 of 50 reviews

Reviewed September 26, 2013

We stopped here on the drive between Wanaka & the glaciers, be warned Haast is really small and there is not a great deal to do, but the backpackers is a great stopover. We were one of the few people there so had the dorm room to ourselves, the room was very modern and clean as were the kitchen and bathrooms. The manager is really friendly and has great local knowledge of the area. The indoor conservatory in the centre of the hostel is quite dated, a bit quirky but altogether hard to describe, however a good spot if you fancy a game of connect 4.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ali C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

If you are looking for a place to stop between Fox Glacier and Wanaka, this is it! This place has a backpackers section and a regular hotel option. We were traveling with our son, and had a room with bathroom and separate bedroom with 4 bunks in it. Perfect for us and much cheaper than paying for two rooms! We had a kitchenette within our unit which was also nice. The room was very clean.
Ollie, the owner, was extremely nice and looked after us, took time to advise us on other things to see in New Zealand, etc.
The drive between Haast and Wanaka was amazing! Allow time for multiple photo opportunities!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Jean L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Haast is a VERY small town, so not a lot of options for food or accommodation.
We arrived late & unannounced after a long drive. It was a huge downpour for hours before we arrived, so we were very tired.
The manager could not have been friendlier & showed us a variety of rooms.
We chose the double with en-suite. The room was good for the price, the en-suite was very large & water pressure was great! TV & direct access to the front!
Kitchen facilities were adequate & the covered atrium, while not decorated recently, was a great relief from the torrential rain outside.
We used the internet directly inside the front door. We thought it a little expensive at $2 for 20mins ...but considering you are in the middle of nowhere (great views) & no mobile reception it was the best option.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank bodmor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2013

We selected this place as our overnighter between Queenstown and Hokitika and it was a pleasant place to stay. After sleeping in numerous backpacker-style accommodations with shared facilities, I decided we should "splash out" for our last two nights (here and Hoki) and have our own room with ensuite. It was pleasant too because it gave us enough room to spread out. After you've been travelling with the same person for nine (or so) nights, it's nice to be able to have a little space of your own. Despite various reviews referring to the manager as miserable, he greeted us cheerfully and showed us to the room, before having to head off to greet and accomodate other guests. We were the first of many making the journey through the Haast pass it seems. The room was nice and clean, with an outdoor area that we would have shared with our neighbour, had we actually used it. Instead we chose to make the 50 km drive up to Jackson's Bay on an (unsuccessful) hunt for the tawaki. A small kitchen at the end of the hallway provided a refridgerator and ample cutlery and bowls for our breakfast the next morning, and just opposite was a dining room/lounge, in case we felt like being social. The communual lounge in the backpackers area was a rather nifty looking atrium, although it appeared somewhat shabby - with the water features being dry. Probably because much of NZ, even the "wet west coast" is in drought. As an overnight stop, it more than fulfilled our requirements - I slept like a log (it's so quiet and dark out there in Haast) and could certainly have imagined staying there a wee bit longer, had our plans being different. Also, the shower was good with decent pressure - something else we had been sorely lacking this trip. Maybe it's the drought conditions.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Angela K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013 via mobile

It's a backpackers so don't expect the world. The kitchen was reasonably equipped and the rooms clean enough though a tad on the small side. Given that there are limited alternatives and its location this place could be a great spot to overnight when mtravelling between Wanaka and Fox Glacier. Sadly the place is run by a miserable older man who is neither particularly helpful or friendly. In good weather it is probably a better option to camp.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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1  Thank mjafri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2012

Its such a shame that the three Haast townships look so grey and ugly, this really is a beautiful and very underrated area. We stayed one night in the Wilderness backpackers, which looks like any of the other grey motels from outside. There is a motel section and a backpackers section - we were in a backpackers twin which was smallish but clean, comfy beds, and very quiet. We had a little concrete patio out the back with chairs.

The kitchen was a bit under-stocked but there were two lovely dining areas, one doubles as the entry hall and has big wooden breakfast tables and the other is an atrium with squishy old sofas, palm trees, old fashion street lights and wooden sculptures. It was really cute! Rustic I guess!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank LittleGems30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wilderness Backpackers

Address: Marks Road, Haast, New Zealand
Location: New Zealand > South Island > West Coast Region > Haast
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Haast
Price Range: $43 - $76 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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