I always believe that everything happens for a reason, and most often with the best intentions. An unexpected change in my accommodation arrangement had led me to in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and best backpacker hostels I have ever stayed in New Zealand and in my life! 😀
Te Kohanga Lodge in Hastings, Hawkes Bay looks like a scene from Beauty and the Beast or The Secret Garden with its beautiful garden roses and cherry blossom trees, spacious courtyard, picturesque water fountain and English-style buildings. I never thought I would stay in such a beautiful place, but I did and I could not be happier.
An Unexpected Twist into a Fairytale Setting
Through my research, I found out that there are several backpacker hostels in Hastings such as A1 Backpackers, AJ’s Backpackers Lodge and The Rotten Apple to name a few. However, most of them have negative ratings and reviews. Despite that, I decided to stay at The Rotten Apple solely, I repeat solely for its strategic location in Hastings city centre, a stone’s throw away from Hastings bus shelter (opposite Subway on Russell St).
Before I arrived in Hastings, Hawkes Bay, I actually made an inquiry and room reservation at The Rotten Apple over the phone with a girl named Kaya/Gaya. However, when I arrived at the backpacker hostel, I was told that the hostel was fully booked and was turned away. 🙁
I had no other options but to look for another place to stay and Jenny and I ended up walking to AJ’s Backpackers. Unfortunately, the backpacker hostel was fully booked too. Argh! Thankfully, we were directed to an unknown backpackers hostel/lodge by the name of Te Kohanga Lodge where I found an unbelievable fairytale-like setting.
PSA: For your own good, kindly avoid staying at The Rotten Apple. Almost every person I met who have stayed there gave negative reviews and unfavourable comments about the property ranging from rowdy/party atmosphere, to cleanliness and security (break-ins/robberies/petty theft) issues. I am glad that I did not end up staying there in the first place and found a better place instead. 😀
Te Kohanga Lodge – The Most Beautiful & the Best Backpackers Hostel in Hastings
It was love at first sight! Jenny and I were blown away by the sheer sight of the extremely beautiful lodge and its impressive garden. Walking through the gate, the rose garden and into the building was like taking a step into a fairytale; like a magical scene from Beauty and the Beast or The Secret Garden. 😀
We were greeted by Liz, the lovely owner of Te Kohanga Lodge in Hastings, Hawkes Bay who was expecting our arrival and was immediately shown to our dormitory room located on the upper floor. After that, we were given a tour around the property and Liz briefly explained the rules and conditions of our stay.
Te Kohanga Lodge in Hastings offers male, female and mixed dormitory rooms during the backpacker season (from November to January), whereas single or double rooms are available upon request at an affordable price. Kindly note that visitors are strictly not allowed onto the property for security and safety reasons which is a good thing.
Bed in 4-Bed Female Dormitory Room
The 4-bed female dormitory room at Te Kohanga Lodge, Hastings was not large or small – it was just nice for four people. Each guest is given a single bunk bed (on a first-come-first-serve basis) and a cupboard in the room to store his/her belongings. Every room has a huge window (upper floor) or sliding door (ground floor) to allow natural light and fresh air in. Each room also has a television and its own fridge, food cabinet and even cooking area, pots, plates, cups and cutlery to use in the communal kitchen/dining area.
The rent was NZD125 a week per person inclusive of unlimited Wi-Fi, laundry, electricity and water. Single or double room is priced from NZD160 a week. It is a reasonable price to pay for a comfortable place to stay near the Hastings city centre which is about a 15-20 minute walk away, close to PAK’nSAVE, Countdown, i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, fast food eateries, dairies, Asian stores, petrol stations, etc. 😉
Two German girls, Julika and Felicitas were staying in the room with Jenny and I and they were good roommates – friendly, clean and considerate. We were lucky to have met really nice and awesome people at the lodge who were honest, responsible and considerate of others with the exception of a rude Korean girl named Mi Soong or sounds something like that who stayed temporarily in our room.
She had the audacity to put her stinking shoes on top of my rice cooker (which is a taboo in my culture!), touched and moved my stuff when I was away for about a week in East Cape. 😠 In another separate incident, a male friend of mine happen to walk into the room and stumbled upon her and her European partner making out on a bed placed on the floor, in would you believe it…the male dormitory room!! That makes me wonder if they did the same thing in the female dormitory room? Hmm….
Home Sweet Home in Hastings, Hawkes Bay
Overall, I really enjoyed my stay at Te Kohanga Lodge in Hastings, Hawkes Bay. Neither Jenny nor I encountered any major problems throughout our stay at the lodge. We had the freedom to do our own things as long as it does not disturb the peace or annoy the rest of the occupants at the hostel/lodge.
Liz is a nice, friendly and helpful person. She offers assistance in finding jobs for her guests such as apple packing, blueberry picking, grape pruning, etc. As long as the guests staying at the lodge adhere to the rules and staying conditions, she will not get on their backs. 😛
Our memorable moment would be meeting people from New Zealand and all over the world – Germany, Argentina, Chile, France, Czech Republic, France, Malaysia, not forgetting Samoa, Vanuatu, etc. It is also the place where I unexpectedly met someone special. 💖🍫🌹 I will share that story in another blog post. 🙂
Up next: Applying for a job as a blueberry picker at Gourmet Blueberries Limited