White Elephant Backpackers, Motueka

105 Reviews
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White Elephant Backpackers Reviews

White Elephant Backpackers is one of several hostels in Motueka. It makes a good starting point for exploring Abel Tasman National Park.

The Location

The hostel is located in a quiet street outside of the town center, but everything is within walking distance. The i-Site, supermarkets, and restaurants are all about fifteen minutes walk from the hostel. White Elephant is located a bit off the street and you cant see the building from the street, but there is a sign, so its still quite easy to find. There is a big private parking area in front of the hostel.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The hostel offers private rooms and dorms with three, four, or seven beds. The dorms are big and light. The bunk beds are nice and very comfortable. Bed linen is included and clean. There are no lockers available, but the doors to the rooms can be locked. The private rooms are located in separate cottages in the garden behind the house. The location of these rooms is really nice and peaceful.

Some of the smaller rooms have an en suite bathroom, but most dorms share bathrooms. The showers are very spacious and they have hot water. The bathrooms in general could be a bit cleaner, but the standard is acceptable.

Common Spaces

The beautiful house is surrounded by a lovely garden; this is the best part of the hostel. There are enough places to sit or play some outdoor games (badminton sets are provided). There is also a covered deck so you can still sit outside when the weather is not so good. Each "cottage" in the garden also has its own deck. The living room has a big TV and some couches and also a pool table. There is a log fire in winter time.

The kitchen is quite big, but very messy. This hostel is popular with long-term backpackers and the fridges are stuffed with old food. There is free fruit from the garden, which is nice. The kitchen is fully equipped but the equipment is either dirty or very old and broken. There is not enough cutlery for all guests. The kitchen gets cleaned every day, but that just doesnt seem to be enough in this hostel. Next to the kitchen is a dining room with a few tables -- it's very basic, but clean and nice.

The hostel advertises with free internet, but this is not unlimited. You get free internet for an hour per day per device. If you need more, you have to pay or go to McDonald's just down the street. The atmosphere in this hostel is quite social. The living room and outdoor area are good places for meeting people.


White Elephant is a good hostel, located in an amazing house with a garden. This hostel is nice, but only if you are not planning on cooking, because the kitchen is just too messy to enjoy preparing any meal.

Hostel building Sign at the street Reception Living room Kitchen Kitchen Dining room Outdoor deck Dorm Bathroom Garden with cottages Double room with en suite bathroom

Great hostel

We stayed two nights at this hostel, with a kayaking trip to Abel Tasman in between. They were kind enough to store our bags for us while we were away, and we had the same room in between. Our decent sized double room was off the kitchen and had a lovely terrace shaded by a kiwi plant (laden with kiwis, unfortunately not yet ripe), and a small en suite with good shower. While being close to the kitchen was convenient it did mean the room could be quite noisy. The kitchen closes at 10pm so it wasn't a problem at night, but both nights I was woken by people using the kitchen very early in the morning (pre 6am!). The kitchen is well equipped but could do with being a bit bigger for the number of people staying there. The first night was fine, but the second night was valentines night -- we tried to go out to a restaurant but it was full so got a takeaway. When we returned the kitchen was jam packed with couples trying to have a romantic steak dinner on the corner of the table! I guess it isn't so bad on other nights. This hostel is not very close to the centre so I recommend getting a bus that will drop you off there if you have heavy bags.

Age 26 | UK

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.

Lou Reinisch

We were lucky to get this place, we booked it through the i-site, and it is a real gem. We had a double room with ensuite and shared veranda. The hostel is clean and friendly enough offering a range of accommodation from dorms to doubles. I found the the place very clean which is a rare thing.

The kitchen is well equipped and large enough for several people to cook at once.

It was a great place to chill out for a night and I enjoyed relaxing in the lounge watching one of the free videos on offer.

S+D- A great relaxing place


The White Elephant Backpacker provides more than basic, yet highly affordable and homely accommodation, whether you require a double/twin room with your own bathroom or a bed in a dorm, you'll find what you need at this Motueka backpackers.
The White Elephant Backpacker's extensive gardens offer you room to stretch out, relax and unwind. Every bed (except dorm beds) comes fully made up with fresh linen, cosy duvets and woolen blankets.

Our well equipped kitchen and dining area with BBQ is open for your use all day.

Relax in the comfortable lounge with TV, piano and log fire.
Backpacker Facilities

* Holiday units with own bathrooms
* Backpacker dorms
* Tent sites
* Internet
* Wireless lan
* Fully equipped kitchen
* Barbeque
* Cosy log fire
* Heating in all rooms
* Coin operated washing machine and dryer at your disposal.
* Large gardens offering seclusion and privacy
* Off street parking
* Free storage
* We're only 400m away from the main street and centre of Motueka.
* Our casual and friendly staff are only too happy to talk to you about the many other activities in the Motueka, Tasman and Nelson regions that might be of interest such as kayaking, hang gliding, water taxis, markets and wine tastings being just a few activities that we can arrange for you.

Video of White Elephant Backpackers

Here is a video of White Elephant Backpackers. The video gives you a better understanding of what you can expect.

Location and Contact




Address: 55, Whakarewa Street, Motueka, Tasman, New Zealand

White Elephant Backpackers is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Booking.com Not listed at HostelsClub


Website White Elephant Backpackers Motueka www.whiteelephant.co.nz
Phone Number: +64 352 86208
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

+50 Traveller

Digital Nomads

Family-Friendly Hostel

Quiet Rest

Solo Traveller


Luggage Storage



Wi-Fi in Rooms

Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

BBQ Grill

Board Games

Book Collection/Exchange

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Entirely Non-Smoking

Hot Showers



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Outdoor Seating

Power Point/Sockets in Rooms


Airport Pickup


Lockers in Rooms

Wheelchair Accessible

Service Animals



Max. Age: All Ages

Min. Age with Parent (dorms): 16

Min. Age with Parent (private room): All Ages

Min. Age without Parent: 18


Checkout: 10:00 (10 AM)

Curfew: No Curfew

Lockout: No

Maximum Stay: Unlimited

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: mostly all year

Reception Hours: 8-1 and 3-8

Size: Medium (30-60 beds)


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