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“Homely atmosphere”

Sparky's Backpackers
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Sparky's Backpackers
Bakkeveen, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
“Homely atmosphere”
Reviewed 12 April 2013

I had a great time staying at Sparky's Backpackers. The owner/manager does his utmost best running the place and taking care of his guests. The kitchen is too small when all guests (when fully booked) start cooking at the same time and it has only one table with four seats. Nevertheless ideal meet and chat with other travelers. I slept two nights in Burt Monro's Love Shack - the local hero is theme of this room- with no bathroom. This means going through the backyard to the main house with chilly nights not so much tempting. I found the nicely decorated Egyptian dorm room more comfortable. Both bath rooms in the building are decent. The hotspa (which I did not experience unfortunately) in the backyard is Sparky's best USP.
The hostel is a bit out of the town centre and 20 minutes walk from i-site, museum and bus departure point. Countdown, Pak'n Save and Liquor store are almost next door.
There is no longer a public bus going east along the coast. Traveling to Dunedin via The Catlins you need to have your own transport.

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled solo
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MariekeL874
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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39 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
New Zealand
Level Contributor
33 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 March 2013

Staying at Sparky's felt a little like living with your landlord. Sparky himself might be quite a character - and he has certainly tried to capture a quirky and appealing look to his small lodging facility, but in some regards he has not entirely succeeded. It is colourful and feels fun, but it is also very cluttered for a start - with little ornaments and trinkets on shelves and cups hanging from hooks on the wall labelled "for display only". Why? The cup is cracked - why keep it? The kitchen is tiny and cramped - with only enough seating for four around the table - which is almost in the doorway. Although the lounge was of reasonable size, the owner of the place was watching television in there, and it felt rude to interrupt him. Indeed, the layout of the place meant to get from front door to the rooms you had to walk through lounge and kitchen, side stepping and edging around people or furniture. Luckily the room itself - a double - was nicely laid out, complete with desk, a little shelf and even a couple of paperback books. Also, being right next door to the bathroom meant you could be first in queue for the shower! Of which only one of the two were operational at the time. The place was clean, and had an eccentric, colourful charm, but I found the large amount of signs rather off-putting "please keep showers under six minutes", and similar. It felt rather like "Big brother' was watching me at every turn and if I stayed in the shower for seven minutes or forgot to turn the lights off when I left the room I would be scolded like a child. The place is decent enough - but I found the general atmosphere to be a little uncomfortable. Came with towels and soap.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Angela K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jasper, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2013

We stayed at Sparky's for two nights. We were in the semi-detached shed-like room in the backyard. He calls it the "Burt Munro Love Shack". After a while we were relieved that our room was separate from the rest of the house. And when we checked in he said we could gain access through the gate to the backyard instead of going through the whole house. Though the house may look big from the outside, it is extremely claustrophobic on the inside. There is so much clutter everywhere. The living room looks okay but we never hung out there because we had a small TV in our room. The kitchen was just terrible. I'm not sure how many people this place actually sleeps, but the kitchen table only seats 4 people. You are constantly climbing over people in trying to make food. Luckily we planned ahead and only had to use the toaster and microwave. I couldn't imagine having to cook a full meal on the stove in there. We opted to sit outside at the picnic table one night, but there's only a motion sensor light out there so it kept clicking off on us. It didn't take long for the driveway to fill up with piles of skids and pieces of wood, blocking our way to the gate. My other complaint is about the hot tub. Sure, it's a great addition to the backpackers and I bet some people are really happy to have it there. However, if he intends to keep renting out the room in the backyard, he needs to close the hot tub at a decent hour. There were a bunch of people in the tub making a great deal of noise at 11:30pm. We had to go outside and ask them to be a little more quiet. It took them a little while to eventually go inside. Sparky needs to focus more on guest comfort than on being "hip and with it". Some guests might find it amusing but those of us who need some rest before continuing travel do not.

All in all the place is way too cluttered. There are papers and posters taped to the walls everywhere, trinkets collecting dust on every surface. There are a rack of cups in the kitchen that ways "display only". If it is not there to be used, it shouldn't be there at all. It's only taking up room that could be used by the pile of people he's got crammed in there. Sparky doesn't give his guests the benefit of the doubt. All the showers are labelled with a 5 minute limit. Appliances are covered in black marker instructing how to use them. I think it's safe to say in this day and age that a grown adult would know how to work a stove and where to put the garbage.

My final complaint is for Sparky himself. After telling him where we had previously worked, he proceeded to badmouth our employer. When he was finished, he told us to tell her what a great time we had at his backpackers and that she should recommend that people stay there. Believe me, she'll hear about our experience there.

Good points: comfy bed, parking spaces.

Room Tip: Avoid "Burt Munro Love Shack" if you want to get to bed at a decent hour.
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  • Stayed February 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank maryrosejack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers are raving about these Invercargill hotels

Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 February 2013

Running a backpacker's in its own house is not a bad idea, but Sparky does it all wrong.

Despite the potential of the house deco (very alternative and interesting), Sparky forgot the base : hospitality !

Sparky, despite his cool Hippie look, is very stressed, very friendly and demonstrates many obsessive behaviours, in particular in regard to cutting the electricity bill. Not a bad intention at first, but so badly implemented as it turns out to be at the guest basic comfort expense !

Sparky switches half the kitchen lights off while you are still in there, double checks if you use the kettle not too long (same thing with showers) and summon you to use the toaster at half power only...
Still I do not get it, as lightning is less than 5% of house consumption, while his way overheated jacuzzi must account for 20%!!!

Very grumpy & unfriendly atmosphere with many unhappy backpackers. Will never go there again and strongly recommend to avoid the place !

  • Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Loic B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Here
Level Contributor
49 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2013

beds and clothes are clean and comfortable, sparky is a nice guy, price is reasonable. wifi works and bathrooms are ok, so 4 Stars, and a recommendation. but dont expect a hotel, its just a backpacker hostel for peaople on a budget

Stayed December 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank MouStefan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 February 2013 via mobile

Stayed in Sparkys for one night but wish it was more. Sparky (the owner) just went out of his way to make us feel welcome. Beds were comfortable, there was towels in the bathroom along with shampoo, toothpaste etc. But the best thing was the spa out the back and the adorable rabbits (in huts) in the back. This place was what a hostel should be - warm, welcoming, a little bit quirky and a great place to meet interesting people.

Stayed February 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank Worldweary2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Taiwan
Level Contributor
16 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 January 2013

We were recommend by other traveler to stay in this place, even it's "backpackers", the whole atmosphere is more like a B & B, there is not only beds, you can find the kitchen is fully equipped, coffee, tea, cereal are all free. This place is cozy and chilled out. The TV room is very warm, not only they have a lovely fire place, but also the owner treated you more than a "paid guest", you felt you had been taking good cared.
And free WIFI, traveled for one week in NZ so far, internet are charged everywhere, it's slow and expensive, However, you find free internet here, and it's fast, not time or volume limited. Amazing! Obviously the internet is how important to me. :)
You get more than what you paid! on top of that, here is not expensive at all! Highly recommend!

Room Tip: There is a Hot tub at the backyard, you must try it!
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank PennieLiang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sparky's Backpackers

Property: Sparky's Backpackers
Address: 271 Tay Street, Invercargill 9810, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > South Island > Southland Region > Invercargill
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Invercargill
Number of rooms: 3
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Sparky's Backpackers Invercargill, New Zealand - South Island

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