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“Off the beaten track”

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Split Level Backpacker & Accommodation
Ranked #1 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Owaka
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 March 2013

14th Feb. 13 on the 12Km drive too the Owaka in the Catlins we picked up hiker a young man working his way round NZ picking fruit went a little off route dropped him in Mosgiel had a coffee then on the way down went too the Purakaunui Falls a ten minute walk through the forest not a very big falls but tranquil it rained a little and most of the road away from the Highway are semi tarmac and gravel calling at Nugget Point and Kaka point on the way. Arriving at Split Level not on the door your room is to the right and the key was in the door double en-suite with all facilities bathroom was a wet room if you shower towards the wall it doesn't wet all the floor, only saw a member of staff once that was 10 minutes after we arrived the room was large the bed very comfortable, we drove to Jacks Point and Surat Bay. tomorrow Invercargill

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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank beenaroundgreece
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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80 - 86 of 92 reviews

Reviewed 15 February 2013

This is a lovely little hostel that we found very homely and clean. My husband and I stayed in one of the (two) studio units which I think are fairly new. The bed was very comfortable and the facilities were good. The only downsize with the room was that the bathroom floor was always wet after a shower as there was no "cubicle" as such - just a shower curtain. This was the case even when we had showers on low pressure.

There is a nice, quiet living room upstairs and a kitchen that is very well equipped. The kitchen was quite small, but I don't think the main lodge sleeps all that many people so it is probably big enough.

I thought the price we paid ($76 per night, as we are not BBH members) was very reasonable and would definately stay here again if we ever come back to the beautiful Catlins.

  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Swansea_Girl_1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2012

We were due to stay for one night in a double ensuite room at The Split Level Backpackers earlier this month (July 2012) and had called ahead two days previously to book in advance, as we knew accommodation in the Catlins can be limited at this time of year (as a lot of places close for the winter). We arrived in Owaka around 2.30pm, with the intention of quickly checking into our room and dropping a few things off, before heading out again to see a few more sights before dark. However, when we arrived, there was no one at the hostel and a note on the door with my name, asking me to call a phone number. The problem with this was that most mobile networks (including two degrees, which I and my boyfriend are on) have no mobile coverage in the Catlins. Luckily there was a phone box opposite and we were able to use a phone card to call the number as directed. When I got through to the lady she was very apologetic, but explained that she had been off work ill and that one of her members of staff had double booked our room and that although, we had been the first booking, there was no room for us after all! When I asked why the people who had been booked in second could not be the ones to be left out, she gave a complicated excuse that they were working and had already left for work when she found out about the double booking…. She was very apologetic about it, but I was pretty annoyed as despite our best efforts to book our accommodation ahead of time, we had now been left in the lurch.

She continued (on that phone) to tell me that she had booked us an alternative accommodation of the same price ($68 per night) at a nearby holiday park/campsite in one of their “tourist flats”. She tried to give me directions over the phone but as it was sounding a bit complicated she offered to come and meet us in her car, so we could follow her to the holiday park to have a look at the potential replacement accommodation which was at Pounawea, near Surat Bay. It didn’t look good from the outset, as the sign read “Christian Holiday Camp” and generally looked very run down. The “tourist flat” we had been allocated was very big with three bedrooms, a kitchen and a lounge area but it was freezing cold, looked very run down, had signs telling you that the water needed to be boiled before being drunk and the bathrooms looked like something from an old hospital ward. We would certainly never have chosen this kind of place, or have been willing to pay $68 for it (!) but we were now left with the choice of either staying here or potentially having to pay well over our budget for a motel room (if we could find one).

Not wishing to be rude to the lady from Split Level, I told her to leave us to it and we would make up our minds – there seemed little point in getting annoyed at her as it wouldn’t change the situation we were in. We swiftly decided not to stay at the holiday park, but as we had no mobile phone signal it was difficult to find somewhere else to stay as we couldn’t ring around and now being out in Pounawea there was no phone box to use. In the end, we spent over an hour driving around looking for places with availability (and vaguely within our budget). In the end we found a lovely place, which was a motel-style room attached to the house of a really friendly elderly couple (called Miss Forsythe’s Motel – see my next review!), which was over our budget at $85, but well worth it and much nicer than the miserable night we would have spent at the holiday park.

All this meant that the rest of our day had been lost as it was almost dark by the time we had sorted our accommodation for the night and we were pretty stressed out. I do appreciate that the lady at Split Level had tried to make amends for the double booking, but it was simply not good enough! If I had been the owner, I would booked us a room at the local motel in Owaka, charged us $68 and paid the difference myself to make up for the mistake. All she did was find us something of equal value, but of a much worse standard!

Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
1  Thank fryster65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2012

Due to a lot of hostel closed in the Catlins in the winter time we stayed at "Split Level" in a double room. It has a kind of run down character, but if you look closer everything is really in a good condition. The shower by the way is the best and strongest I've ever had in New Zealand! (Such a shame that the bath tub isn't working!) You have to share this and one toilet with around 10 other people, though.
The hostel is right in the middle of little town Owaka, and it's close to Surat Bay (5 minutes drive) or Nugget Point (20 minutes drive) if you want to go watch some seals or penguins.
The host was extremely nice and the whole place was really laid back and relaxed.
All in all, if you want to explore the Catlins (and maybe not want to stay in the wilderness) this is the place to go.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank kirschkiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2008

Home from Home ! A nice quiet hostel in the small service town of Owaka, The Catlins. A place with few tourists and even fewer fuel stations ! We had a small self-contained unit with our own bathroom and kitchenette. We were also able to use the TV lounge and more extensive facilities upstairs if we wanted. Great system of self-check-in and owner appeared later to collect money etc. A great find - cheap, clean and friendly. Early check-out time (09.00) but this wasn't an issue as we wanted to get off and explore anyway !

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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Thank Moose-groupie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 July 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled with friends
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Thank gaelleru
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 June 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled solo
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Thank Ana R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Split Level Backpacker & Accommodation

Address: 9 Waikawa Road, Owaka 9535, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Otago Region > Owaka
Amenities:
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Speciality Lodging in Owaka
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Split Level Backpackers is centrally located in Owaka the main service town for The Catlins. Our accommodation offers options including double, twin and backpacker accommodation. We have En-suited - self contained units for the independent traveler and rooms with shared facilities for backpackers or anyone looking for clean, warm comfortable accommodation.Large living area/lounge, fully equipped kitchen and only two minutes walk from local restaurants, supermarket, kid’s playground and medical center. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Split Level Backpacker & Accommodation Owaka, Southland Region, New Zealand

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