Ariki Backpackers is a hostel with a relaxed vibe in downtown New Plymouth. Even though the town doesnt have any major tourist attractions, it is a nice place to hang out for a few days, and Ariki is a good hostel.
Ariki Backpackers is the most centrally located hostel in New Plymouth. It is right across the street from the i-Site, next to the library (with free internet), and there are several restaurants and bars on the same street. Supermarkets are a ten-minute walk, and the beach and the lovely park are both a thirty-minute walk away. The hostel is easy to find, as it has a few signs outside. The entrance door is at street level, but the hostel itself is one level up.
There are a few parking spots in front of the hostel, but these are paid during daytime. Free parking is available a few blocks away. The staff can tell you where those free spots are.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The hostel offers private rooms and dorms, including a female dorm. The rooms are quite spacious and every room has an en suite shower. The beds are very unstable and squeaky. The bunk beds are also very low, so the person in the lower bunk cannot sit upright on his/her bed and its just a matter of time until you hit your head. However, the mattresses are very comfortable and the beds come with clean bed linen and you also get a towel. There are a few power plugs in every room, and in summer there are ventilators. Even with the ventilators, some rooms get very warm.
The en suite showers are good; you can regulate temperature and water pressure. There are no hooks or shelves, so you have to put everything on the sink as this is the only place that stays dry. The toilets are in the center of the hostel and they are very clean.
The best common room in summer is definitely the outdoor deck/rooftop terrace. This is a beautiful place to sit, with a view over the sea and sun almost all day. There is also a comfortable TV room with DVDs and games, but most are broken or incomplete. The reception area also has a couch and some tourist information and a book exchange.
The kitchen is fully equipped, but the fridges are quite full and some of the equipment is a bit old. However, they manage to keep the kitchen quite organized and clean, and it is big enough even when the hostel is full. There is also a laundry room for guests to use against a small fee.
The staff give good information about activities in the area and they can also book tours. Internet is available, but not for free. However, the Wi-Fi signal from the library is free and reaches the outdoor deck.
People in this hostel seem to keep to themselves a bit. There are quite a few private rooms and somehow the backpackers in this hostel dont mingle as much as in other hostels. But of course, this depends very much on the people in the hostel and can differ from day to day.
This is a hostel with a great location and lots of potential. The good mattresses cannot fully make up for the unstable beds and some minor things (like offering free Wi-Fi) could be improved to make this an amazing hostel.