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“Christmas in Paradise”
Review of Rongo Backpackers

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Rongo Backpackers
Dunedin, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Christmas in Paradise”
Reviewed 31 December 2012

I just spent a wonderful Christmas at Rongo with Paul, Sanae and Co. I went to check it out because my daughter spent time there on the Wwoof scheme a few years ago and really loved the place. I was made to feel really welcome. The Wwoofers were very friendly and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble.

Rongo is a whole experience. It is about art and music and permaculture. It has its own radio station and you can have a go at being a DJ. There is a vegetable garden you can pick your food from. I've read the previous comments and yes the kitchen gets a bit messy at times but the Wwoofers check it out regularly and clean it up. The showers are an interesting arrangement but people respect your privacy. The water was warm enough for a decent shower and more efficient than some showers I've come across in other places I've stayed. I love the fact that they are using rainwater and solar power; that they use recycled material where possible. We need to be looking at sustainable resources.

The sheets and towels were clean and the bed really comfortable. I stayed in the Green Room for a week and had the best sleep I have had since I arrived in NZ last January. I definitely want to go back there again.

  • Stayed December 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Frances T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul M, Owner at Rongo Backpackers, responded to this review, 16 May 2013
WOW, thanks for such a comprehensive report of your stay with us Frances! It was a pleasure to meet you and thank you so much for your kind words and for recommending Rongo to other travellers.

I hope you can come and stay with us next Christmas/New Year as you were model guest!

Regards from Sunny Karamea,

Paul.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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51 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Angeles, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2012

Rongo is a hidden gem in Karamea. Comfortable, cozy, warm, artistic, stimulating. There's always something going on over there, whether it's a radio dj show, a campfire, music-making, art-making, farming, etc etc. My partner and I arrived at Rongo with the intent to make a short documentary about Paul's (the owner) larger project -- the Living in Peace project. We found a whole crew of really inspired people living and working on their dreams. This place is very special and for anyone interesting in finding out more about the project just check out: https://vimeo.com/43035300

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank elise_london_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 May 2012

We were looking for really any accommodation in Karamea over Easter because we have been very late with our bookings. So we contacted the owner of Rongo backpackers initially for renting one of his holiday homes. They were booked out but he offered us a double room in Rongo backpackers. This was not a given because we were travelling with a little 10 month old boy and we were a bit worried to disturb others with the noises of our little one.

Anyways, we loved it there. It is not a standard backpacker just to provide you accommodation. This place has character. I spend hours just reading and looking at all the quirky things hanging off the walls. We travelled a lot around New Zealand but we will definitely go back to Karamea and we will stay at Rongo's again if possible.

Rongo's backpacker has a very nice backyard area where you can sit and chill out, good music is playing all day long. I have never seen a vegie garden like the one at Rongo's and you are free to help yourself. The kitchen area is nicely connected but still separated from the common area to hang out and eat. Our bed was really nice and firm - comfy to sleep in. The showers are heated by solar power devices and the water provided depends on the rain but it didn't rain in Karamea for two weeks when we arrived and the showers were still working. So the showers are not very hot but surly warm enough to enjoy it. You can easily walk to the shops in Karamea from the backpacker.

Half the people staying there are Woofers and all of them seem to love it over there. They added a nice vibe to the whole place. The owner Paul is a nice fella as well.

I can just highly recommend it if you are looking for something slightly different. The world needs more places like this.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank TinoKos77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nelson, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 March 2012

Hi Paul and Sanae

Wonderful to meet you both and spend time with you either side of our Heaphy adventure, thank you for hospitality, friendship and the loaned books and DVD!

I think the concept of what you're setting out to do both here and at the Karamea Farm Baches is fantastic and with Dave now newly in charge of your permaculture farm, you're able to be even more committed to carving out something unique and different.

Interesting to read the reviews here and see that others are on board with your outlook and commitment to sustainable living and community.

cheers

Teri

Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank TeriSawers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Christchurch, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 December 2011

Rongo was the worst backpackers I have ever stayed in. We came off the heaphy track after 4 days of walking to get a cold shower with no privacy in the shower area. The dorm rooms were dark and dingy, the place didn't feel clean and the owner was incredibly obnoxious. The huts while we were tramping were a much better standard than those encountered at Rongo. Karamea is a lovely part of the country, but I would definitely recommend staying at the other backpackers in town if you ever travel in this area, or for half the price you can stay in the local domain where at least you can get a hot shower.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
7 Thank Kirsten W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2011

This is a wonderful backpackers and an 'experience' as much as a nights accomodation. It certainly may not appeal to everyone but the philosophy behind the place is what makes it special. The are a number of Woofers working here who mainly work on a permaculture farm the owner has about 5 mins walk for the hostel. People are encouraged to have a look and learn about the special principles of this type of agriculture. While I was there one of the Woofers had a birthday and we all pitched in to cook a massive meal for everyone staying using organic veges grown in the garden. Its just that kind of place where you leave with heart warming experiences. I cant say much more other than go! Karamea is one of my favourite places in NZ and this backpackers just tops it off!

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ngrrk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Meissen, Germany
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 April 2010

friendly staff, tidy rooms, hippie + art, ecofriendly, organic stuff

Stayed April 2010, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank FalkF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Rongo Backpackers

Property: Rongo Backpackers
Address: 130 Waverley Street | P.O. Box 54, Karamea, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > West Coast Region > Karamea
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Karamea
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 10

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