Rainbow Lodge Backpackers is located fifteen minutes away from Taupo i-Site, which also is a bus stop for intercity connections. It is five minutes away from Pak'n'Save, one of the cheapest New Zealand supermarkets. It is also five minutes' walk from the Great Lake. There is no free Wi-Fi, however they provide cheap bike rental, free luggage storage, and discounted bookings for activities in Taupo.
The hostel is placed on the outside of the city centre; however, as Taupo is small, it is still a short walk to all city spots from the hostel. When arriving in Taupo, go to the i-Site and ask for directions to get to the hostel. If you have a lot of luggage with you (or are just feeling lazy), you can also call the hostel and ask for a free pickup from the bus station. The hostel is placed in a residential area, very pretty and peaceful. It is quite an old wooden building, however it does have its charm.
Rooms and Bathrooms
The rooms are medium to small size and are well kept. There are big windows in the rooms, letting in a lot of sunlight. There are not too many sockets, so charging devices can be a problem. Every bed has its own night lamp, which is very convenient. There are no lockers in the rooms. The rooms are warm, with the heating turned on automatically every night, and you can ask the reception to turn it on during the day if you feel too cold.
Toilets, however, are not heated at all and so spending even one minute there can be quite challenging during the colder days. There are not too many showers, so it can get busy at times. There are hangers in the showers, soap dispensers, racks for toiletries, and floor towels. The hostel also boasts a free sauna, which you can access any time of the day.
The kitchen and lounge area are very spacious. There are enough cook tops even for busy times and many pans and pots. There is also a good range of free spices, which is great. Free tea and coffee is available from the reception, so make sure you get it before it closes at 10 p.m. There are big tables and benches where you can eat your food and there are also sofas to chill. There is even a piano so if you feel like it, you can give it a go. A TV room and computers are also available in a separate building -- you can ask the reception for free DVDs and chill in there.
The atmosphere in the hostel is great, there are loads of other backpackers and every evening there is something happening that the staff will let you know about. They even have two cute dogs in the reception, so it all just feels like being in a cosy home.
Rainbow Lodge is a clean, well-kept hostel with a good location. It has few flaws -- like the paid-for Wi-Fi and cold toilets -- however, it is a good spot if you are looking for something cosy and friendly. They probably have the cheapest bike rental in the entire town, which is great if you're up for a bike trek around Taupo. Also, you can book a cheap Maori carvings cruise and other activities with them and get some advice on what to do every night.