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YHA Lake Tekapo exterior entrance

New YHA hostel to pump $6.5 million into the Mackenzie Region

YHA Lake Tekapo is set to inject $6.5 million a year into the Mackenzie District when the brand new hostel opens its doors on April 17.


The 128-bed, $9 million development will help Lake Tekapo Village accommodate the booming number of tourists visiting the region.

Many visitors treat Tekapo as little more than a pit-stop on their South Island road trip, refusing to spend the night because of a lack of affordable accommodation. But the new YHA will encourage budget travellers to stay in the village and invest their money in local businesses rather than more expensive hotels elsewhere. Now taking bookings from Easter, YHA Lake Tekapo expects to deliver 35,000 overnight guests a year. Based on Tourism New Zealand’s estimate that the average visitor spends $175 each day they travel, the hostel represents an economic boost of $6.5 million a year to this small community.


YHA Lake Tekapo


“One of the enduring myths around backpackers is that they’re low-value visitors,” says YHA New Zealand Chief Executive Mark Wells. “The reality is they stay longer, spend more, and see more regions than most other travellers.” “The style of accommodation does not dictate the overall spending patterns, with many young tourists keen to experience as much as they can so they save their money for activities and longer stays as opposed to luxury accommodation.”


“The village has been struggling to meet demand for people to stay in recent years, which means many visitors simply stop off for a coffee and a photo of the church and then carry on, taking their money with them. That’s why YHA Lake Tekapo will be such a welcome addition to the Mackenzie District.”

YHA Lake Tekapo Kitchen

The $9 million redevelopment has transformed the prime lakefront location on Motuariki Lane. The previous, smaller YHA hostel operated on Simpson Lane with 33 beds from 1965 to 2018, when they closed to the public in order to host construction staff. The new YHA contains 128 beds across a range of 42 multi-share and private twin or double rooms, including 10 queen ensuites boasting uninterrupted views across the ice-blue water towards the icy peaks and glaciers of the Southern Alps in the distance.


The variety of small dorms and private ensuite rooms are ideal for groups, couples, independent travellers as well as the vital youth sector, who make up a quarter of all visitors to New Zealand. The state-of-the-art property has also delivered five jobs to local people across the hostel and the trendy new on-site burger bar, which caters to guests, day-trippers and residents alike.

4 Multishare Bed Dorm

“YHA is committed to the local community,” continues Wells. “Our mission is to encourage people to explore our beautiful country, meet locals and other international travellers, and do as many of the experiences that are on offer. In short, an experience that enriches their lives. What better place to do that than Tekapo.”

YHA Lake Tekapo

9 April 2019

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