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New Kiwi Paka YHA lights up Waitomo


New Kiwi Paka YHA lights up Waitomo

Not all attractions in the region are underground

Accommodation options for the cost conscious traveller visiting Waitomo have just got a whole lot brighter with the opening last week of the custom-built Kiwi Paka YHA Waitomo. Global accommodation brand YHA has set up shop in the village, hoping to sway tourists to spend more time in New Zealand’s second biggest tourist destination.

According to new owners Malcolm and Treen Munro and Doug and Bev McLeay (Treen’s parents), although Waitomo attracts a huge 840,000 visitors each year, the challenge is to get them to stay over night.

“Historically tourists have only spent the day at Waitomo but there is so much to do in the area that you really need two or three days to do it justice – and if you’re doing that then you’re going to need somewhere to stay,” says Malcolm.

“Waitomo is not just about the caves. There are so many other attractions – bush walks, waterfalls, horse trekking, jet boating, rafting and the coastline here is beautiful. The Kiwi Paka YHA is 100 metres from the Waitomo Visitors Centre to help people make the most of their stay in the region.”.”

Only two minutes walk from the famous glowworm caves, the brand new Kiwi Paka YHA has been purpose built for travellers and groups. It offers lodge rooms flowing to sun-drenched decks, and eventually will also feature spacious, architecturally designed chalets.

The Munros and the McLeans have more than 20 years combined experience in hostelling and know what it takes to run a successful business – their Kiwi Paka YHA in Rotorua is a two-time tourism award winner.

YHA New Zealand Chief Executive Officer David Beattie says the development is a jewel in the YHA accommodation network.

“The establishment of the Kiwi Paka YHA Waitomo is testament to what can be achieved when socially and environmentally responsible organisations work together with the community,” says Beattie.

Built from scratch, the lodge accommodation has communal bathrooms and a combination of twin, double, and multishare rooms. In a break with tradition, bunks are not a feature at the Kiwi Paka YHA Waitomo, which has room for 60 guests. There is a spacious kitchen and dining area, a reading room and TV lounge.

The on-site Morepork Café and Pizzeria has proved so popular in its first week of operation that it is now open all day rather than just for breakfast and lunch as originally planned.

According to Treen, the family has always tried to show guests the special places in New Zealand.

“We all love the outdoors – walking, mountain biking, fishing, swimming at the beach, skiing and boats. We like to get visitors to the places not everyone visits and give them a unique taste of the adventures New Zealand has to offer.

“Since we have all travelled ourselves, we know what our guests need to make their stay a comfortable and memorable one,” says Treen.

With such a great location and fantastic facilities the Kiwi Paka YHA Waitomo proves that not all the attractions in the region are underground.

About YHA YHA was launched in New Zealand in 1932, developing over seven decades into a unique network of more than 60 hostels nationwide with around 28,000 New Zealand members. YHA has been built by the efforts of volunteers who raised funds, personally constructed and managed many of the facilities. In 2001/02 the network recorded 500,000 guest overnights, around 85 percent from international travellers. YHA New Zealand is a full member of the International Youth Hostels Federation, which uses the Hostelling International brand for its global network. Comprising over 4,500 hostels in 60 countries, this international focus allows members to enjoy the benefits and culture of a truly global organisation, whether travelling locally or overseas.

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