The White Elephant is located in Motueka -- the front door to Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. The town is alive and vibrant in the summer with trampers, kayakers, and all sorts of tourists. Traditionally, the White Elephant would have been classified as a "second tier" hostel. Second tier hostels are ok, but not exciting. The owners of White Elephant have been investing heavily to bring the hostel up to the top tier.
Located in an old Victorian house, the hostel is clean and spacious. The bunk rooms are large and the bathrooms are adequate. The beds are reasonable mattresses on wooden platforms, made up with clean sheets and comfortable duvets. The kitchen area is very large and convenient. Off the kitchen is a coin-operated washer and dryer -- very inconveniently located near the back door (you must constantly move aside to let someone in or out when trying to get your laundry done). The main lounge is comfortable, but it still lacks interest. There is a television, an upright piano, several couches, and an internet terminal (also coin operated).
Instead of using the lounge, most people will be outside in the backyard. The yard looks cluttered with picnic tables, a barbecue, a couple of trailers (more hostel space), several fruit trees (notably a beautiful fig tree in the centre of the yard), and a small trampoline. I am uncertain if the trampoline could take the weight of an adult. After a few jumps, we decided it was best not to test its limits.
There plenty of room to pitch a tent in the yard, and several visitors do. However, there are also three new buildings in the yard. Each of these buildings contain two large bedrooms and private ensuites. The bedrooms are furnished with two or three single beds or a double and single bed. These rooms are outstanding by hostel standards. Signs remind visitors to take off their shoes before entering and the rooms have clean pine flooring. The ensuite has a toilet, a very small sink, and a nice size shower with plenty of hot water.
The White Elephant is a two-block walk from the main street. Restuarants, convience stores, and shops are abundant within walking distance. You can easily walk and carry groceries from the store. If you have a car, the carpark in front of the hostel is off the street and spacious.
If you plan to stay in Motueka for a night or two before or after some time at Abel Tasman, you should consider the White Elephant. It is clean, quiet, and comfortable. Pay the extra and reserve a room in one of the new buildings in the backyard -- it is worth it. If you are looking for activity and lots of night-life, you might want to check out the other hostels in town.