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Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Reborn as a bijou backpackers, this cleverly refitted old house has an enviable kitchen, comfortable lounge and a stylish landscaped yard (with pizza oven). It's a true home away from home.
The Powderhorn Chateau
Enjoying a long-standing reputation as the hub of activity during the ski season, the Powderhorn has a Swiss-chalet feel with woody interiors, slate floors and exposed rafters...
Catellis Of Taupo Motel & Conference Centre
The exterior is all hobbitish ’80s curves, sloping roofs and nipple-pink trim, but these orderly motel units have a fresh feel inside. In summer it’s worth paying the extra $5 for a garden studio.
Sportsmans Lodge Turangi
Backing on to the river, this lodge is a hidden bargain for trout-fishing folk unbothered by punctuation. All the rooms share the lounge and well-equipped kitchen. The self-contained cottage sleeps four.
The Hobbit Motorlodge
A leafy and quiet option halfway between the town and the Junction, the Hobbit has a backpacker wing, motel units and fancier suites. The bush-setting hot tub is a real bonus. There’s a children’s play area, too.
It's starting to look a little tired, but this Tudor-style motel has simple studios and larger family rooms, most with their own mineral pool. There’s a heated outdoor pool, a sauna, and a sandpit for the littlies.
Mountain View Motel
In this old, vaguely Tudor-styled motel, the no-nonsense rooms are clean, quiet and good value, with all necessary facilities, including a spa pool.
Anglers Paradise Motel
Looking like something out of Twin Peaks, this very old-fashioned motel sits in a 1-hectare leafy pocket where privacy prevails. It’s geared up for anglers, with guides happily arranged and a smokehouse on-site.
Beechtree Suites Heritage Boutique Collection
The Beechtree, and its sister motel Miro next door, offer classy rooms at reasonable rates. The design is fresh and modern, with neutral-toned decor, large windows, ground-floor patios and upstairs balconies.
Right in the middle of town, the Alpine offers 40 beds in motor-lodgey rooms and a four-bedroom townhouse next door, great for families or groups. There’s also a fairly basic backpackers wing and an in-house restaurant.
Handy for skiers, this lodge is midway between the village and the Whakapapa turn-off. The restaurant has excellent views of Ruapehu, plus there’s a bar and comfy lounge...
Judges Pool Motel Turangi
This older motel has tidy, spacious rooms with kitchenettes. All one-bedroom units have outdoor decks for relaxing beers, although the barbecue area is the best place to talk about the one that got away.
A tasty trio is on offer here: modern studio apartments in a slate-fronted block on the main drag; three self-contained, three-bedroom townhouses by the Junction; or luxury B&B rooms somewhere between the other two. All are top options.
Suncourt Hotel & Conference Centre
This rambling, lake-gazing complex encloses comfortable, well-furnished units with facilities including a spa pool and kids playground...
Silver Fern Lodge
Rooms range from 10-bed dorms to studio en suite units in this large, custom-built complex, trimmed in shiny corrugated aluminium yet still strangely lifeless, decor-wise. There’s a large communal kitchen and lounge.
Cottage Mews Motel
Few motels muster much charm, but this cute gable-roofed block, festooned with hanging flowers, manages to seem almost rustic. Some units have lake views, most have spa baths and all have a small private garden.
Hilton Lake Taupo
Occupying the historic Terraces Hotel (1889) and a recent extension, this large complex offers the expected Hilton standard of luxury in non-threatening shades of grey. It's a little out of town but is handy for the DeBretts thermal complex.
Sacred Waters Taupo
Apart from some awful mass-produced 'art', these large apartments are stylish and well-designed. Each has a contemporary kitchen and its own private thermal plunge pool, and most have wonderful lake views.
The Reef Resort Motel
Like the ducks that congregate here in winter, warming their butts in the hot springs, so too do Taupo's apartment complexes jostle for the free thermal waters on this stretch of the lake...
Oreti Village Resort
This enclave of luxury self-contained apartments might give you a hankering for ‘village’ life – which in Oreti’s case entails gazing at blissful lake views from the comfort of a rolled-arm leather couch...
Tussock Grove Boutique Hotel
Cooking on holiday? No way, mister. In a town full of motels this small hotel fills a gap for those who just want a decent midrange room, perhaps with a mountain view.
This place caters particularly to Tongariro Alpine crossers, offering accommodation and transfers, with all-inclusive packages available (two nights' accommodation, breakfasts, lunch, dinner, T-shirt and transport for $170 to $240)...