Whangarei is a lot bigger than what we thought it would be. It has a cute city centre, and alot of surrounding suburban areas. It also has a small waterfront area. It is midway between Auckland and the Bay of Islands and a good place to lodge while exploring the surrounding areas.
The city of Whangarei in itself isn't a big attraction and for a lot of people just a refueling and stocking up spot on their way to the Bay of Islands or even further up north. It kind of has a weird traffic layout with a lot of one-ways, no turns and such, so getting lost here is almost a standard procedure for drivers. The city is also the drug and crime capital of New Zealand, with gang violence and car theft being a constant occurrence. Add to that a less than attractive cityscape and you will understand why tourism isn't a big deal here. There are a few sights within the city but what most travelers come for is in its surroundings -- lovely walking tracks, unexplored cave systems, and some attractions for bird lovers. Apart from sights, this town offers guests of Whangarei hostels all the amenities one of its size usually offers -- supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, shops, hospital. There is also quite an extensive bar scene. Beware of bar fights though.
The Whangarei hostel selection is understandably minimal, due to the above mentioned reasons. There isn't really anything in the town centre. Budget options are scattered in all directions away from town with the closest and most longstanding one being the YHA, which is nestled in the hills across the river. Most people with wheels prefer one of the quieter budget stays a few kilometers from town. In contrast to the city itself, all hostels are small, well kept, affordable, and hardly give reason for complaints.
Hi, I'm gagalichen,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Whangarei hostels. Welcome.