As there were no dormitories, just double or twin rooms, guests had their own space too, apart from the kitchen and lounge area
and if we’d had longer to get the feel of it, instead of arriving late at night and being gone by 9 am, it must feel like living in a big multi bedroomed house (as many people commented in the guestbook.
Our room was quite bright, to say the least, with a flower border just below the ceiling line, making the roof seem a lot lower than it was. There was a garish picture on the wall.
Where the walls in the Backpackers weren’t brightly painted, they were liberally and brightly peppered with tourism advertising and posters, and lists of things to do in Kaikoura.
Not just the lounge wall, but both sides of the passageway to all of the bedrooms (3 on each side, each one different, but each one bright).
Unique Quality: The pillows and doonas on the bed were quite comfortable and nice, and the beds felt fine too.
In the lounge there was a large older tv, newish video player and plenty of videos to watch.
The kitchen, lounge and dining was all one room, which made getting to know the other guests easier. We picked up some good tips from some Irish and British travellers, which would later stand us in good stead when we were looking for good places to stay.
The Irish, surprisingly, were aged in their 50's - nice to see some of the older travellers at a backpackers too. Perhaps attracted there by the 'no dorm' set up.
Price was very competitive too, at only $47 for our twin room.
This was our first encounter with a definite theme hostel, named after the Witch in Spike Milligan’s book “Bad Jelly”
The owner seemed rather alternative too (especially the more we looked around the backpackers and found witch motifs in some of the oddest places - near light switches, gaudy pictures in rooms, etc).
I think she was trying for a funky look, but it turned out more like a case of bright, mismatched paint to me. That's just my personal preference, I guess. I love bright colours, but not several clashing colours in the same room.
For example, most of the doors in the place were painted bright green: the bathroom walls were lime green, door bright green, and large decorative wooden mirror painted in deep bright purple, with wooden vanity ledge and 2 sinks. )
Bathroom facilities wise it lacked a bit though – only 2 toilets between 6 bedrooms (later these numbers would prove to be fairly standard for backpackers that size in NZ) but the 2 showers were inside the toilet cubicles, (doors didn't lock when we were there so beware) just flat on the floor, with vivid shower curtains. Walls had a few holes, needed a better paint job.
Unique Quality: And what's a witch without cats? There were 2 of them here, who were friendly, liked a knee to settle on - permanently - and roamed at will through the rooms.
(a few people made notes in the guest book to the effect that they wanted to kidnap them!) Only one wrote that he had had an allergic reaction.
Many commented favourably on the décor (maybe they found her idea of funky charming) and said they found the place very welcoming and felt at home there – I think that was a much more important thing than the lack of great décor, as the facilities were good – good stove, fridge (though completely painted with sunflowers and psychadelic), baskets for each room to keep their food in, utensils supplied – everything thought of, plus a phone for guests to use and numbers of all the local tour operators listed on it – the owner had gone to a lot of trouble to be organised.
Outside, there was a covered Jacuzzi,
a couple of hammocks to relax in the back garden (a nice little garden, almost semi tropical) and a table with chairs on the veranda – every chair a different colour but that didn’t surprise me to see by now.
The owner (who lived upstairs, with no downstairs access apart from a staircase outside) baked a loaf of fresh bread each day free for the guests, and this was one of the most mentioned and appreciated items in her guest book.
The sign outside was quirky too - perched on the very top was a mobile figure of a witch on a broomstick, and when the wind blew, her legs cycled on the broom! Rather kooky...
146 Esplanade,, Kaikoura
45 - 47 Churchill St, Kaikoura
92-94 The Esplanade, Kaikoura
16 Avoca Street, Kaikoura
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