On my most recent road trip around the South Island of New Zealand, I was lucky enough to spend three nights back in a town where I once lived. Nelson, New Zealand is located at the top of the island, right on the water and welcomed with sun over 300 days a year. It’s also home to breweries, the best Saturday market, cafes, hikes, and great food. But what surprised me the most this time around was the amount of affordable accommodation.
Nelson has definitely become a must-do on the tourist map and more flights in-and-out of Nelson have proven this true. The sun-filled town is also close to the uber popular Abel Tasman National Park. As I was doing research for my road trip, I came across a backpackers that professed it’s love for the ‘little things’-you know, the things that make a place feel more like home. This place was The Prince Albert Backpackers & Bar.
The name rang familiar as I remembered going there quite a few times to have a pint after work and enjoying the local crowd. The month after I left, The Prince Albert was sold to a couple that turned this welcoming local’s watering hole into the best affordable accommodation in the area.
The owners, Nani and Mike took over in late 2012 and since then, have made Prince Albert not only a place to stay or eat and drink, but a place that feels like home and holiday all in one.
Mike checked us in and gave us a tour of the place, shared with us some information about their pub, hostel and Nelson, and let us settle in to our room. I thought it was great to see the owner giving tours to those who checked in. It was a nice touch and I was already beginning to understand how they practised their saying ‘it’s the little things.’
Our room was fantastic; airy with comfortable beds and bright, natural light. They have a few options for any budget, whether you want your own room, a twin share and hostel dorm rooms. The accommodation also includes a fully-functioning kitchen and laundry, a game room, picnic tables and my favourite; hammocks. The hammocks are located just outside the dorm rooms and are a wonderful welcome when you arrive. For our three days we stayed, every time we made our way outside, the hammocks were filled with relaxed backpackers enjoying a good read or listening to music. The chill vibe here was on full force.
The backpackers is also connected to a pub that offers up cheap meals every night of the week. We ended up eating out each night (I had to hit up my favourite spots while I’m in town!) so we didn’t take advantage of the meal deals, but we did see them come out of the kitchen and they looked delicious.
Remember those ‘little things’ I was talking about? Well we definitely took it upon ourselves to enjoy as many of those as we possibly could including taking out their bikes for a few hours for free. We rode them all round the town centre and out to the ocean where we walked along the water’s edge in the sunshine. On our way back we stopped off to enjoy a cider. It was the perfect day!
(Don’t worry, they give you the seat!)
The next day we roamed around Nelson, taking photos and videos of my favourite spots. It felt so great to be back in the one town I felt would be my ‘forever home.’
After hours of walking and browsing the shops, we made our way back to The Prince Albert for a few afternoon pints. When we walked in the front door we noticed a big blackboard on the left with lists of activities to do for each day of the week. I thought it was awesome to see that many of the activities we did were on their list!
The Prince Albert has one of the most inviting patios I’ve ever experienced. They had heaps of hops vines growing along the outside walls and fairy lights strung above the garden, creating a perfectly, comfortable atmosphere.
I had a walk through the building, checking out all the quirky clocks and art, really admiring what they had done with the place. I felt extremely comfortable there, walking around barefoot.
In short, Prince Albert is by far the best budget accommodation I’ve stayed at in the whole of New Zealand. It offers more amenities and freebies than any other backpackers I know and the owners work their asses off to keep it that way.
If you’re in Nelson, I’d look no further than Prince Albert Backpackers. They have everything you need to make your stay relaxing and enjoyable. The long list includes: free Wi-Fi, free bikes, free waffles for breakfast, cheap meals, HAMMOCKS, a kitchen, laundry, game room, free shuttle, and more. Like I said before, it really is the little things that make this place a cut above the rest.
To read more and book your accommodation with Prince Albert, follow this link to their website here: The Prince Albert Backpackers & Bar
About the author:
Jen Heuett is the creator of Travel + Trust & Wanderlust, an online community to educate, empower and inspire women to travel solo. Her words can also be found on Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, and Travel Hooligan, her first travel company that inspires young adults to utilize the Working Holiday Visa in Australia and New Zealand. When she’s not traveling the world, she’s enjoying the Pacific Northwest and her mom’s tacos.