Dorset House Backpackers is located in a quiet, residential part of Christchurch, across the street from North Hagley Park. From the airport, it's easy to reach; the city bus from the airport stops only two and a half blocks away. From the bus station, it's harder -- you really need a taxi. There are six parking spaces behind the hostel.
Rooms and Bathrooms
We stayed in a private room, but the dorm room down the hall had non-bunked twin beds. All rooms can be locked, and outside doors are secured by a keypad. Most rooms are in the main house, but four are in an accessible outbuilding in the yard. This outbuilding has a semi-accessible toilet and shower -- space for a wheelchair, but no grab bars or transfer bench.
Dorset House normally has a large lounge that is well spoken of, but it was closed due to earthquake damage when we visited. Their kitchen, located upstairs, is adequately equipped, though it can get crowded. You get 100 MB of Wi-Fi for free for each night of rental, and more can be purchased quite inexpensively.
An outside deck and a seating area in the back garden are provided for smokers; except for the kitchen, these were the only common areas available when we were there. We understand, however, that the lounge has already been repaired. Long-term luggage storage is offered for people hiking on long-distance tramps or going on multi-day excursions from Christchurch; bikes and ski equipment can also be stored there.
Dorset House was crowded when we were there. Guests are mostly young but we met a few older people, including one New Zealander who stays there whenever she comes to Christchurch to visit friends. It is a suitable base for those looking for residential peace and quiet, while still being near enough to the center of town to make sightseeing practical without a car.