I booked a single room at Tauranga Central Backpackers which cost me $20. They also have doubles and dorms available for different rates. The room and bedding was clean and came with a heater for the cold weather. The owner was very helpful and let me see the room before I paid up.
I think that the building might have been retail space before it was made into a backpackers and so it lacks some of the charm and feeling that smaller backpackers have. There is internet access for $2 per half an hour, which is excellent value. The machines are new and fast. There is a space for watching television in the recreational area along with a pool table and table tennis. The kitchen was large and reasonably well appointed. It did lack a kettle, which was a little annoying. I didn't use any of the cooking facilities except to boil water, so can't really comment on them.
My main problem with this backpackers is the noise. I paid for the room not realising that just round the corner is a club which plays very loud music until the small hours of the morning; usually 5am but on the night I stayed, it only went on until 2am. The loud noise made sleeping pretty much impossible, which I found very irritating indeed. Ironicly, there were signs up in the backpackers asking residents to be quiet after 10:30pm but considering the noise that was coming from the club it doesn't make much difference. Apparently, the club is only open on certain nights of the week (during the winter anyway) and so this is not a problem if you stay mid-week.
If you want to see some of the Tauranga nightlife, or just fancy a nice meal then this backpackers is well-located for all the city amenities.
I would recommend this place if you are 1) a big clubber on the weekend who plans to stay out until after the club closes or 2) looking for a cheap, clean place to stay mid-week when it's quiet.
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