Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura

651 Reviews
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Dusky Lodge & Backpackers Reviews

Dusky Lodge & Backpackers is a pretty big hostel located some minutes walk from Kaikoura's town center. With free unlimited Wi-Fi, pool, and spa, its big indoor and outdoor spaces with outstanding views to the mountain range are the perfect place for backpackers to meet up and enjoy their time in this beautiful coastal town.

The Location

The hostel is located on Beach Road (or State Highway One), where most of Kaikoura's facilities outside the town center are. It is some five minutes' walk from the center of town, and the same distance in the opposite direction from Kaikoura's main supermarket, making it a perfect compromise location. It is also next to a convenience store and several restaurants and fast-food places.

Rooms and Bathrooms

There are several different dorm rooms, from four to twelve beds, and will usually only be fully booked on high season. These dorm rooms have good-quality, sturdy wooden bunk beds with a very convenient personal shelf for the bottom ones, and, in general, enjoy good socket availability as well as Wi-Fi connection. The biggest dormitories have their own bathroom, while others have to rely on the shared bathroom on the main floor. There are both standard and en suite private rooms, well-separated from the dormitories.

Common Spaces

This hostel is all about its common spaces. The biggest room is comprised of a fully equipped kitchen with several fridges and two sinks, plus the main lounge, with sofas and a big wooden dining table. Right next to it there's the terrace with several tables, and most importantly, a mesmerizing view of the big, snowy peaks. Altogether, this area becomes the perfect hub for travelers to meet each other and enjoy their weekly pizza night.

Apart from that, the house also has some concealed, less-crowded spaces where you can do some work without being disturbed, plus two desktop computers free of charge. And, last but not least, the outside of the hostel includes a big pool and a spa completely free to use until nighttime, ideal for the warm summer days.


Dusky Lodge is the right place for young (and not-so-young) travelers to have a good time in Kaikoura. The hostel, with its friendly staff, is perfectly designed for the guests to engage with each other and will not disappoint anyone who is looking for a place to make friends for life or just spend a great evening surrounded with like-minded people.
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Dusky Lodge & Backpackers, Kaikoura
Josep Casado
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Published on 2018-12-17

Not worth it when both pool and spa are shut (august 2013)

Booked this place solely for the pool, but when we checked in we were told it was being painted, and that the spa had a broken pump. Double rooms upstairs are fine if you're the only person up there, but when the room right beside us was occupied we could hear everything they were saying, and people walking around are liable to wake you. A grumpy guy pounded on the door at exactly 10am to ask if we were going to stay another night, not the greatest customer service.


Great Sauna and Pool !!!

It's a very spacious hostel wit lots of kitchens, lounges sitting and relaxing area. The view out the back is really nice and the swimming pool, hot pool and the sauna are all included in the price and they are open until 9pm. Lots of car parks and the staff was very friendly and helpful. It was cold, but the staff turned on the heater system and lit the fire once I mentioned that was was too cold. They also offered me a spare blanket. I had a very good time there and I think they have fairly new staff there. They were cleaning all the time and the Lodge was kept very tidy. The rooms are a good size, but not much furniture in them. Good for people with lots of luggage like me. It takes a while to walk to the beach and to the town center (10-15min) although you see it from the upstairs part. That's about the downside and that it is next to the road, but only one part of the building. The rest was good! Very good backpackers accommodation with great pool area!


Terrible hostel dont go there

On first sight this place was quite good. Not to dirty (because I have seen worse). There are a lot of facilities and the location is not too bad. Unfortunately this place changed quick into the worst hostel of NZ. The owner was very grumpy and didn't want to talk to his costumers. I tried to say hello but ignored me and everyone else. Because I stayed longer I had a good view of the cleaning in the kitchen. There were only backpacker cleaners and they didn't know much about cleaning. They put all the dirty stuff aside and that was clean, but the worst was that they were stealing food from the customers. After all they were just as bad as the real staff when I figured out that I was paying more than my roommates. I asked the reception why I had to pay more even if I was staying longer. The only answer was, we don't know and I had buss off. Also when I wanted to book a fishing trip they didn't want to book the cheap one. Until I insisted that they had to book the cheap one they gave me a grumpy face and did the job. Now the worst part of the hostel and also the reason that everybody has to stay away. When I left I was covered with red itchy red stains all over my body. My doctor confirmed they were from bedbugs. They have a BEDBUG problem. So don't go to the Dusky lodge. As you can read they are aware of the problem but do nothing about it. SO DON'T GO TO THIS HOSTEL ITS TERRIBLE.


Dusky Lodge is a large hostel with an institutional feel. Its crowning glory is its pool complex, consisting of a landscaped, heated pool; a hot tub (no jets, but it's heated to 102 degrees Fahrenheit); and a sauna. The pools are clean and pleasant; we did not try the sauna, but it looks well-kept from the outside. Regrettably, the same cannot be said about the rest of the hostel.

The Location

Dusky Lodge is on Beach Road, which, at least in summer, is a busy thoroughfare, lined with fast-food places and souvenir shops. Most guests have cars; if you don't, you'll need to take a shuttle from the bus or train station. A New World Supermarket is about six blocks away, and there is a sidewalk; unfortunately, you have to cross the busy road.

The ocean is in view just across the street, but it's hard to reach; indeed, we found it impossible. Businesses block access along much of the road. When you eventually find a place to cut through, the Tranz Coastal train tracks are in the way, and beyond them is what looks like a swamp.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The dorms are six-bed rooms, with three wooden bunks apiece. The rooms are carpeted, but there's nothing in them but the bunks. Private rooms are equally underfurnished; our room had nothing in it but a double bed (admittedly comfortable) and a television on a wall shelf. Singles, doubles, and family rooms are also available.

There are at least three bathrooms on the main floor -- one unisex, one for women, and one for men. The women's room, and presumably the men's room also, have an accessible shower and toilet. The accessible toilet's seat is broken, but it is still usable.

Dorm rooms, and private rooms for that matter, are cold, especially at night. Each room has an individual heater, but it is on a timer, and it will only work from 7 to 10 at night and from 7 to 11 in the morning. For most of the daytime, the inhabitants are simply left to freeze. Staff members were willing to lend us extra blankets, but our room was still unacceptably cold.

Traffic noise is a real problem in the single and double rooms facing the highway. It does not seem to be as bad in the dorms.

Common Spaces

There are three lounges, one with television, and all with wood-burning fireplaces. Charming as this is, it is dismaying to find that these fireplaces are actually used to heat the common rooms, and even more dismaying to find that in summer no one bothers to light them.

The two kitchens have only toaster ovens, not true ovens, and while there is a refrigerator in each kitchen, there is no freezer. The refrigerator in the main kitchen, which is open twenty-four hours and convenient to the dorms, is so overcrowded that it is difficult to find your food in it.

When we were there, the main kitchen was not very clean; the secondary kitchen, being less used, was better. There always seems to be dirty dishes about in the main kitchen, despite a sign's warning that the kitchen is under camera surveillance and that those who fail to do their dishes would forfeit their key deposit.

There are three computers, and there's a good Global Gossip internet link, though it did drop once for well over an hour during our stay and the staff did not consider this a serious problem. Laundry is inexpensive, though the washing-machines will only wash on the "Colors" cycle. When we were there, the machines themselves were clean and functional, but the laundry room was grubby and poorly kept.

The hostel is a drop-off point for Magic and Kiwi Experience. Most guests stay only for a night or two. When we were there, there was very little community feeling or hostel atmosphere. People keep to themselves -- the lounges are underused.

Dusky Lodge can be called neither a quiet nor a party hostel. On three of the four nights we were there, the private-rooms wing was quiet by 10 p.m. and the dorm wing was quiet by 11. On one of the nights, however, which admittedly was a Saturday, we were kept up all night by a riotous, roaring-drunk group in the private room next to us, who shouted and romped in the halls, and, apparently, also got into the swimming pool after hours. There is, as far as we could tell, no night manager to attend to these things, and the drunks were not subdued until 5 a.m., when the police showed up.


For a group with an automobile, or for travelers on the Magic Bus or Kiwi Experience, Dusky Lodge might be a suitable choice for a night's stay, or even two -- preferably on a weeknight. The pool complex makes up for a lot, but we cannot recommend this hostel for weekends, or for extended stays.

Meredith Dixon

Dirty and unfriendly

As a seasoned backpacker, often staying in "best bang for my buck" places, this was my worst choice ever. I stayed there back in 2006 and it seems as though things have not changed. It was so cold that people were literally layering all their clothes and still shivering, the rooms stunk of rotten who-knows-what and the manger was unreasonably rude like no one that I have ever encountered anywhere else before. When I politely (I am Canadian, so I always say "please") asked if there was anything that could be done about the temperature, the manager literally turned to me and snarled "if you don't like it, then get the *insert explicit word* out -- we don't like Americans anyway." No exaggeration -- I was shocked and left stuttering. Once I found my words, I once again politely stated that I was not American, but regardless, did not appreciate being spoken to that way. I packed my bags and left. Who needs to be treated that way and chance bedbugs while at it. Spread the word wherever you go, as I soon found out along the travel circuit that I am not the only one who had an experience like this at Dusky's.


Very unfriendly staff

The women at the reception is very, very unfriendly and incompetent. I don't know why somebody like her works there, because it seems that she has no idea what she is doing there. The tv is very nice and big, but the dorms are a little bit dirty. Sorry, but this was the worst hostel during our four-months-trip around new zealand!


Good location! But dirty and unfriendly staff

I stayed two weeks at Dusky! You can walk in ten minutes to the next foodtown and into the city. The pool, spa pool, and the view over the mountains were awesome -- but the showers, toilets, rooms, and beds were dirty! The Hostel offered the guests to stay for free when they clean the hostel in the morning! The Main cleaner had to check everything later! but they didn't! The kitchen was so dirty and sticky, it was disgusting! Total -- I half enjoyed the stay because i met lots of nice people, but on the other half, no comment! At least, the staff were really unfriendly -- not helpful and I had the feeling that they are bored to work and you as a customer felt guilty when you asked something. Bad bad bad.


Stayed here for a couple of nights. The room (especially linen and shower) were dirty. Found numerous hairs (from hair and pubic region) in the bed, the duvet cover had not been cleaned, and we have both got bedbugs from the place and are still itching two weeks later. Not the first instance of bedbugs at this place from what I have heard either. The lady at reception had a terrible attitude also. Wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy.


More reviews...

Dusky Lodge & Backpackers Reviews from the Web

Dusky lodge was quiet, cleaned periodically, but wifi was spotty. Overall, was sufficient, nothing to write home about.


Yes the facilities were good great view clean and warm room .

The Staffa re really friendly would highly recommend


I've traveled alot of places in the world and in NZ too yet I've rarely encountered such a dirty, sickly smelly hostel room. Granted I was only there one day/night so I didn't have the time to check out the rest of the place (pool, game room, patio deck, etc). But the sleeping rooms and showers were, put mildly: dirty, nasty, kinda' nausea inducing. It's clearly a converted hotel & not remod'd very well, colorful grade school style paintings aside. Kitchens are very run down, old, dirty.


Was a bit annoyed that the Spa was broken and has apparently been broken for a while, so I feel there's a bit of false advertising there. Also the zip was broken too. So I can see a bit of a pattern here. But at least it was nice and warm inside, even if it didn't have everything it advertises


I wish i had more time to spend at Dusky. Overall a nice stay.


Nice place, friendly staff. Need to sort the showers out though, they're like a fire hose. Such a waste of water! Need option to adjust water flow rate.


This was our first stop on our holiday and a great way to start it! Crazy lovely staff, clean rooms and bathrooms, plus great water pressure in the shower which is always a plus. Great vibes overall. Kitchen and lounge was really nice, clean, and cosy, and featured a stunning view to have your breakfast with! Would happily stay here again.


Loved this hostel, staff were really friendly, well located and nice spa.


Nice stay




Great place, super clean. A place for my motorcycle out back. Large outdoor decking areas. A discount at the local pizza/ burger place with amazing food


Awesome hostel, felt I got more than what I expected from a very reasonable price! Spacious rooms, corridors and lots of hangout spaces in & outdoors. Kitchen is big and open, I liked that, and Especially appreciated a beautiful mural painting on one of the walls. The staff here are awesome and super friendly, they have time for you, I was so happy to find this gem on my way through Kaikora! A place you must stay, I'll certainly be back in the near future! Thanks team, happy New year!


Great stay at a well kitted-out hostel. Plenty of room in the 3 kitchens for meal prep. Could sit outside on deck for meals - though a few more tables would be good.

We had a family room with ensuite. Beds were comfy - had a great sleep.

Staff were rwally helpful and welcoming- makes a huge difference to feel welcomed : )

Teens in love with George the lab.


Ok for a night.


This hostel had everything I needed for my short stay. The check in and check out process was very easy and the staff I interacted with were very nice. The only thing that I would have changed would have been an option to have a female only dorm. As a lone female traveler on this trip it would have been an option I would have been more comfortable with, not a big deal but something that would have made my trip more comfortable.


I absolutely loved my stay at the Dusky Lodge. Everyone was so helpful and kind there! Even though it is roughly a 10-15 mins. walk to get into the city center, I would always come back because I absolutely loved the set up, the view, the facilites and the staff! I might come back in summer when they have opened a new mexican caf and reopened the pool and spa area. Due to Level 2 restrictions they were not open but that is obviously out of their controle.


Liked: heated pool and spa, three big kitchens, walking distance to city centre is doable Didn't like: room smelled a bit wet and bathroom (ensuite for 10-bed dorm) was constantly flooded


Liked: Staff very friendly and helpful. Lovely warm pot-belly fire in the kitchen. Close to major supermarket. Free breakfast! Didn't like: Slightly outside the main Kaikoura strip, but in easy walking distance.


Liked: Spacious rooms and woodfires Didn't like: Overpriced double rooms (hotels only slightly more expensive and better quality), no free wifi, location wasn't excellent


Liked: Sauna and hat spa Didn't like: 4$ WLAN per day



Dusky Lodge offers a clean homely environment with natural carved timbers throughout. A great place to relax, unwind and take in the mountain views from our deck. Facilities include 3 kitchens, 3 log fires, sauna, spa pool, heated swimming pool, poolside Thai restaurant, bikes, Internet, pool/fussball tables and video/dvd lounge. Free tea, coffee, breakfast (May to August only) and pickups available (within Kaikoura); off-street parking; walking distance to supermarket and attractions.

Location and Contact


• Situated seven minutes' walk from the town centre, close to Whalewatch, the train station and the supermarket.
• SH1 south of Kaikōura has night closures from 16 August to late November,
• 5 nights (Sunday - Thursday)
• 7:00pm - 9:00pm
• Road will be closed for 30-minute intervals from 7pm – 9pm. Following a 30-minute closure the road will re-open to allow queued traffic through, and then close again for 30 minutes. This cycle is repeated until 9pm. (Average wait time 20-25 minutes)
• 9:00pm - 9:30pm
• Road OPEN for 30 minutes
• 9:30pm – 11:30pm
• 11:30pm
• Road OPEN to clear queued traffic only. Traffic must be in the queue by 11:30pm to be let through.
• 11:35pm – 3am
• 3:00am - 3:30am
• Road OPEN for 30 minutes
• 3:30am - 7:00am
• 7:00am – 7:00pm
• Road OPEN



Address: 67 Beach Road, Kaikoura, New Zealand

Dusky Lodge & Backpackers is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Booking.com Not listed at HostelsClub


Website Dusky Lodge & Backpackers Kaikoura www.duskylodge.com
Phone Number: (03) 319-5959
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

Solo Traveller



City Tours

Lockers in Lobby

Luggage Storage


Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

BBQ Grill

Cable TV

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Entirely Non-Smoking


Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Swimming Pool

Wheelchair Accessible

Service Animals

Max. Age: All Ages

Checkout: 10:00 (10 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: Unlimited

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 7am-7pm

Size: Very Large (100+ beds)


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