High on a hill overlooking downtown Dunedin, Elm Lodge is a hike to get to, but well worth the effort. It’s only a five- to ten-minute walk to the Octagon, Dunedin’s center, but it’s a twenty- or twenty-five-minute walk back up the hill, including two hundred stairs.
The hostel’s rooms are spread between three buildings, all sharing one yard. The buildings are close enough and cozy enough to feel like one whole rather than separate units. The atmosphere of all the buildings is more like staying in someone’s home than most hostels. In fact, the back house was the owner’s home until early this year.
The beds in every room sport new mattresses and pillows for a comfortable night’s sleep -- no foam pads here. There also aren’t any bunk beds to be found, even in the dorm rooms. Use of the hot tub and barbeque are free to all guests, and if you have a laptop you can ask to plug into the hostel’s ethernet network without charge.
The home-like atmosphere also often lends the common areas -- kitchen, dining room, and TV lounge -- a social feel, although this is not generally a party hostel. Since the majority of travellers to Dunedin have just come from the full-on nightlife of Queenstown, they tend to use Elm Lodge as a place to relax and recover for a few days.