Dorset House Backpackers, Christchurch

City Center
607 Reviews
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Dorset House Backpackers Reviews

Homey, comfortable, well equipped

Stayed for two separate nights when in transit to other parts of South Island NZ. Was pleasantly surprised when arriving in the room -- something I would more likely have rated as a hotel room. The beds were clean and comfortable, as was the bathroom that was only a few meters from the door in the hall. The living room and kitchen were both well-equipped (free pool table!) and it was all maintained. Complimentary wifi vouchers were a bonus and the internet was fast and easily accessible. From what I saw, prices were reasonable should one need to purchase internet there. Only complaint would be that at night it wasn't exactly clear where to go for good food on foot, although that is more a reflection of Christchurch as a city and our lack of planning. Overall, very happy with Dorset House -- great value.

Age 19 | Australia

Lovely and comfortable

Had a lovely couple of nights stay here -- clean and single beds instead of bunk beds which was a bonus! Not too far away from anything (Christchurch is quite spread out though) and all in all a comfortable stay, would go back.

Age 21 | England

Quiet place

Not your average hostel. There were older people, younger people as well as young families. There were no en suites throughout the hostel, which looks more like a B&B, without the breakfast. Wifi is extra and expensive. Bed is squeaky. Reception is there from 8-6. Arrangements can be made for late arrival. Far walk from center of town.

Age 58 | United States

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.

Common Spaces

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.

Meredith Dixon

Great hostel, no bunks. Small but well-equipped kitchen. Nice outdoor areas. 15mins to city centre but close to park. Reception closes at 6pm -- it sells items such as toothpaste and also has scales for weighing luggage for the plane!


This is more like a grand country manor than a backpackers. Sarah is a fantastic host who will help you with anything. The rooms are great, no bunks! I was really sad to leave as i could have spent weeks there hanging out with all the other friendly travelers! By far the best hostel i have been to, if you are staying in Christchurch then Dorset House is a must.

Ross Corbett,

Lovely comfortable hostel. Had booked a single room -- got given a double, with my own TV. Felt like a hotel (apart from not being en-suite). Nice and handy for the centre (fifteen-minute walk to Cathedral Square), friendly staff and lovely living room/TV room with pool table.


Loved it here. Stayed here on three separate occasions. The staff were lovely and very helpfyl. Excellent facilities. Lovely rooms, no bunk beds. Definitely stay there again.


More reviews...


We have been described as a "lovely 135 year-old weatherboard home with a grown-up atmosphere". (Lonely Planet). Steeped in history and situated next to beautiful Hagley Park, Dorset House Christchurch Backpacker Hostel is relaxing, spacious and elegant, and is well-equipped with all that a budget traveller could need.

Recently refurbished, without losing its essential character, Dorset House is a unique and peaceful environment from which to enjoy all that Christchurch has to offer. Set among beautiful gardens, Dorset House is still steeped in the character of the early Christchurch pioneers. Built in 1871 as the home for the wealthy timber merchant, J B Way, it once featured 27 rooms and three Italian marble fireplaces. It has been lovingly maintained, and is a slice of Christchurch's past that we are proud to share with our guests.

Our rooms are comfortable, freshly cleaned, and bathed in afternoon sun. All rooms are within 3-7 metres of a bathroom. Dorset House has recently been upgraded and redecorated to cater for travellers who wish to experience up-market facilities at budget prices. There are no bunk beds here – all beds are fully made with fresh linen. Extra blankets and electric blankets are fitted onto every bed to keep you warm in the colder months. We have a sunny, spotlessly clean kitchen available for guest use, and there's a full laundry here too.

The lounge - otherwise known as the ‘Old Chapel' - is a very large room with plenty of comfortable couches and is a great space for relaxing and talking. Facilities include a free pool table, various board games and jigsaws, TV, DVD player (a selection of DVDs are available) Cable TV, a variety of books for exchange and a stereo. There are computers for guest use - offering internet access, word processing, spreadsheets, printing, SKYPE, USB ports and CD burning functions. WiFi is available if you have your own laptop.

Dorset House offers a full travel and information desk – just ask at reception and let us organise your tours, day trips and onward travel. There's no charge for this, and if you're not sure where to go or what to do – ask our staff, they're locals and can clue you in on some hidden gems.

From Dorset House, it's just a 15-minute stroll to Cathedral Square, the centre of Christchurch; or walk along beside the river to reach other city attractions such as the Botanic Gardens, museum, the popular Arts Centre, local art galleries, busy weekend markets and art-house cinemas.

Continental breakfast packs can be purchased at reception, and we are just two-minutes from some great cafes, bars and restaurants on Victoria St. There's plenty of options here, and fabulous coffee too (we may even point you to our favourite bakery!). Public transport is close too – just five minutes walk to the airport bus service, or eight minutes to the free shopper's bus service that runs throughout the central city all day.

Late check-ins can be organised, and free luggage storage is available. We have a custom-built lock-up to keep your bike or skis safe, and free off-street car-parking is available behind the House.

Dorset House is ideally situated to provide a comfortable stay for budget travellers. We hope to see you here soon!

Please note: Dorset House regretfully cannot cater for children less than ten years of age.

Video of Dorset House Backpackers

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Location and Contact




Address: 1 Dorset Street, City Center, Christchurch, New Zealand

Dorset House Backpackers is listed on the following booking sites:

Hostelworld Not listed at Not listed at HostelsClub


Website Dorset House Backpackers Christchurch
Phone Number: 03 366 8268
To add or correct information for this listing, please use the Listing Correction Form.

Facilities and Amenities

+50 Traveller

Quiet Rest

Solo Traveller


Luggage Storage


Safe Deposit Box

Wi-Fi in Lobby/Commons

Wi-Fi in Rooms

Airport Pickup ($19.00)


Book Collection/Exchange

Clothes Dryer

Concierge/Info Desk

Credit Card Payments

Entirely Non-Smoking


Hair Dryers

Hot Showers

Jobs/Work Available



Lounge Area

Movie Library/Rental

Outdoor Seating

Pool Table

Power Point/Sockets in Rooms



Lockers in Rooms

Wheelchair Accessible

Service Animals


Genders: Males & Females

Max. Age: All Ages

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: 1 month

Minimum Stay: 1 night

Open Dates: All Year

Reception Hours: 9.00am-5.00pm (late check-in available on request)


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