With very little accommodation options in Waitomo we went with the Kiwi Experience reservation at the Kiwi Paka hostel. This little place is just down the road from the Black Water Rafting Co. and has its own café and bar. The rooms are mostly twins with the biggest dorm being a four bed.
Atmosphere and Staff
We seemed to have the place to ourselves as it was mid-winter and very quiet. Still the place seemed friendly and very relaxed. The staff were helpful enough although they were not the happiest of people. We were often left waiting at reception as no one was on the desk to answer your enquiry. On two occasions we ended up coming back later to get the answer we were looking for.
The kitchen was huge, bright and very clean – it certainly showed the hostel was not very busy. The only real let down with the kitchen was the lack of utensils and the fact there was NO sharp knives. Cultlery and plates was available for hire from the reception desk for a $10 deposit (return upon handing the hired items back). The dining area was lovely, nice big wooden tables and chairs with lots of light. There was also an outside seating area which seemed to be a great sun trap.
The showers were my only complaint as the one I used (female on the lower level) was useless! To get the water hot the pressure dropped so it was barely a dribble coming out. Not so great when you are trying to warm up from the black water rafting. Apparently the other showers worked fine, so I guess I just got unlucky.
Overall the hostel was a cute little place with nice rooms and a lovely bright communal area. The bar seemed very popular in the evening, or maybe that was just the rugby game which attracted the crowd. Apart from that it was very quiet but being mid-winter this was to be expected. At $30 per a night it was not the cheapest nights sleep despite this and the unfriendly staff I would recommend a stay here for the cute rooms and bright communal dining area.