Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery
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Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery

The bolt which is coming off on the toilet/shower room.
Traveller (26)
Steam Punk Share Room with 4 single beds.
Room & Suite (22)
Smoker's lounge
Dining (4)

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About

3.5
#4 of 5 hostels in Oamaru
3.4 of 5 bubbles
Location
3.7 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
3.6 of 5 bubbles
Service
3.8 of 5 bubbles
Value
Chill-A-While featured on Getaway Australia as Oamaru's creative destination for artists and musicians and is highly recommended by Lonely Planet.Lonely Planet reviewUnleash your creative spirit at this funky and colourful hostel in a restored two-story Victorian residence. Guests are encouraged to draw and paint, or create sweet soul music on the hostel's guitars, pianos, didgeridoo and African drums. With all that creative energy, there's definitely a laid back social vibe, and Chillawhile is one of NZ's best and most unique hostels.Off street parking, secured bike shelter and bike hire, ZENBU WiFi. Age Restricted Dorms, Heated Rooms, Atomic Shuttle Bus Service drop off and pick up at Chillawhile.Official Check in 4pm-9pm, Late check out 11.30am - late self check ins are possible for our private rooms advance payment is required, free luggage storage for guests arriving early by bus.Age restricted dormitory rooms 18 years to 38 yearsHostel age restricted 50 years and underNo age restrictions for families staying in our family room
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Property amenities
Free parking
Non-smoking hotel
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
Budget

Location

1 Frome Street, Oamaru 9400 New Zealand
47Reviews0Q+A5Room tips

Reviews
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Detailed Reviews
Knute88 wrote a review Mar 2014
Potsdam, Germany50 contributions64 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
There was a lot of art around, you could paint and a lot of instruments were laying around. But the kitchens were small and poorly equipped. There was one toilet, a shower and a bathroom with both so that waiting became normal. The beds are uncomfortable and the staff not really service orientated. All in all I was happy to only stay for two nights and wouldn't go back.
Read more
Date of stay: March 2014
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
2.0 of 5 bubblesService
1.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Nt_Angel wrote a review Sept 2012
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia67 contributions30 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Yes I like this warm hostel and the receptionist too. She is very friendly, show us around the hostel and offer herself to help us on our big luggages as we stayed upstair. A homely style kitchens, bathroom and toilet. There're only 1 toilet and 1 shower upstair and 2 small kitchens.
It was freezing cold in the bathroom as no heater inside.
I like some of the design in this hostel like pulling to open the light instead of pressing and yes the room too. We stayed in a 4 share, but the room is spacious and all is single beds (not bunk beds!). No key given as they are using passcode.
Enjoy the stay!
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Date of stay: September 2012
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Julie R wrote a review Feb 2014
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada5 contributions3 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
The Chillawhile was our introduction to backpackers' accommodation in NZ. It's a friendly spot filled with travellers from all around the world. My youngest son had a great time painting in the front reception area and listening to the visiting musicians play everything from didgeridoos to accordions. The room we shared had four bed of differing quality, and a good view from two sides. The kitchen facilities were fine, though another toilet would have been nice! All of the guests and staff were very friendly.
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Date of stay: February 2014
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
3.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
Room Tip: Room #8, the family room, is huge and quite comfortable.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
PamRossonWye wrote a review Mar 2017
Ross on Wye89 contributions104 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
I booked this hostel over the phone and specifically asked about the reference too 'over 50 age restriction' (?!) I was told this referred to dorm rooms only
This hostel exactly resembles poor student digs of old. All the facilities really need updating and it was amongst the most expensive hostels we stayed in in New Zealand. I really wouldn't recommend it for anyone over 30!
The guy on reception was pretty friendly but one kitchen was messy and the other tiny. Only one loo downstairs and that was in the same room as two showers?!It's also a long long walk to the main hub of Omauru.

I just wish the person taking out booking had been more frank with us and wouldn't recommend this place now.
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Date of stay: March 2017Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Ajaychamber wrote a review Feb 2013
Krasnoyarsk, Russia5 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Very nice atmosphere, good music and with piano. With a touch of Tuscany.
The house is a art gallery as well and has a lot of small things to explore.
Love it. - the only bad point maybe, you have to walk about half an hour on the main road to the "center".
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Date of stay: February 2013
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
micsim wrote a review May 2016
Singapore35 contributions11 helpful votes
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Would only recommend for a stay of NZ40 and below a night, not worth anything more than that.
Location: Average
Room: No towel, no tv/extra information
Checkin/out timing: Limited
Parking: Not recommended to park in the compound as it is very limited and tight
Service: Below average
Amenities: Could do with more cleaning
Overall, its a below average stay.
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Date of stay: April 2016
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
2.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Jono K wrote a review Mar 2016
Greymouth, New Zealand26 contributions8 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I wasn't to pleased with my stay here for a few reasons it came off with a real dodgy vibe

They don't have eftpos or credit card facilities and want to charge you extra money to process your payment in about a month as I was told and then was pressured into paying with cash even being told where the closest atm was and when I reluctantly went an got money to pay for it I asked for a copy of the docket and he told me they don't do that here which I found weird as I'm pretty sure if I want a docket for something I payed for so I could claim back from work for accommodation an then I just asked for gst number an he wouldn't gv me that either and after an argument about this he took my email an said he would email me 1 that was over a month ago an I never got it and to top it off all the cash on site was kept in his wallet and he just had a spreed sheet with who was coming that day so I would suggest ird would have a field day with you guys looks like a few bookings don't go on the books

The staff have no idea about anything in the area I asked a few basic questions driving times best time an place for wildlife ect an he had no clue later found out at the 4square that apperntly a girl in timaru owns the place an is never there an sh just gets back packers to run the place for here which would explain the lack of money handling skills basic knowledge of the town you were in

I found the place to be very old and dirty kitchens were very small fridge nearly tipped over when I opened it was on a very bad lean showers need a good clean washing machine was a rip off 10 bucks to do my washing I thought that was a bit of a joke most places are 2 bucks to wash an 2 or 3 to use the dryer

There were some Germans who were up most of the night drinking and being very loud so not much sleep was had as the sounds echos in this place

Parking is a nightmare don't even try park in there unless you are confident at doing 1000 point turns when you get blocked in

I would not recommend this back packer as it was dirty loud felt run down and staff seem dodgy and it was the only back packer I stayed at in 2 weeks that didn't offer free WiFi it's 2016 now not 2005 get with it
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Date of stay: February 2016Trip type: Travelled on business
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Chillawhile, Owner at Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery
Responded 30 Jul 2016
Sound's strange, Maybe our staff member was new and was lacking in some training and guidance at the time of your stay. I do recall that I was ill at that time, so training was done by Staff, Sometimes at the start of a contract with new staff we can experience lack of guidance, mostly not the case, however can happen in busy times and if the owner is sick and can not attend the business. Certainly I can provide you with a GST Invoice, please feel happy to email to me directly attention Kelly Lindberg stay@chillawhile.co.nz, we do have this template for staff to email to our guests and yes a lot of people do like to claim back business expenses. Also since your stay in February we also keep on site hard copy forms of our GST invoice to make it easier for staff to full in and give to you on the spot. This may have been implemented due to your stay and staff discussing the issue with me. As for Internet, Chillawhile is known for being a social environment where it is easy to meet fellow backpackers, possibly not what a business person is interested in. It is a very deliberate act not to have free Internet, if we did our guests tend not to talk to each other and spend their time on devices instead. We are a small business, and we do not have eftpos facilities however via the BBH which we are a member, we have access to credit card facilities and as always there is a charge, after 15% commission charges 15% GST taxes in addition 3.5% credit card bank fees - we have what is left to pay staff and invest back into our business so that future guests can enjoy. We advise payment options via our email and text confirmations of bookings - again I think this is due to the fact that I was ill, and our new staff member was lacking in some guidance at the time of your stay. Due to the fact that I the owner take all the phone calls and bookings via phone, I do this so that our staff at our reception can focus on our guests and give to them their full attention - it is important that our booking system is online and updated by our staff in real time, our staff keeping up to date minute by minute record of our guests stays - this ensures that we do not experience over bookings. I am sure that the IRD would be very happy with our records. Warm Regards Kelly and Staff at Chillawhile
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
ReztaNZ wrote a review Mar 2016
Dunedin, New Zealand1 contribution1 helpful vote
1.0 of 5 bubbles
My partner and I stayed in the "Double Room", the photo's of the room were nothing like the actual room, the floor was covered in half scrapped off paint, everything was dusty and the bed was extremely uncomfortable and was not the bed pictured in the photos supplied. The actual bed was much lower and "worn". The room had not been cleaned, rubbish from the previous backpackers was still in the room. The place needs a huge renovation and a clean. Was not worth the $72 we paid for the night. It was also quite annoying that they let people "crash" on the couches in the shared lounge for free, thus making the lounge unusable. Extremely limited car parking, 3 max, well if any as the staff take up the guest parking. Extremely disappointed and feel very much deceived by them as the pictures of the place and rooms were near NOTHING like the actual rooms. Never going there again and recommend that people should look at the place IN PERSON before deciding to stay, as this may save great disappointment.
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Date of stay: March 2016
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
1.0 of 5 bubblesService
1.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Lauren O wrote a review Apr 2015
Dublin, Ireland26 contributions26 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The review below is hilariously off the mark and clearly from a person who doesn't usually stay in backpackers. This hostel was fantastic. We stumbled upon it by accident when the more central backpackers were fully booked, but we were really glad to have unearthed such a gem. We arrived to a guest playing on the piano in reception while another guest painted in the art gallery that is open to anyone staying there. The kitchen was a little small but fine and the entire hostel was decorated in a really kitsch style (obviously what the gentleman below thought to be "dated"). The only issue I would have is with the limited bathroom facilities - only two showers meant a good bit of waiting around. Thankfully there is a late check out so we weren't rushing. The late check out also meant we got to paint our own paintings the next morning! Really nice place, and Oamaru is a great town too.
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Date of stay: March 2015
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
BackpackerUniverseCo wrote a review Mar 2014
Alexandra, New Zealand28 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Great fun stay. We had a good sized double room just off the reception/art studio area.
There was a wonderful outdoor area with ample seating around the grounds.
The three kitchens were nicely set up, up stairs and down, and had lovely lounge rooms filled with games and musical instruments.
All in all a fun place to stay and highly recommended to all travelling through Oamaru.
Thanks
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Date of stay: March 2014
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled on business
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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LOCATION
New ZealandSouth IslandOtago RegionOamaru
NUMBER OF ROOMS
6
Prices are provided by our partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and reflect total costs of the stay, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.
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CHILLAWHILE BACKPACKERS ART GALLERY - Hostel Reviews (Oamaru) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery
Which popular attractions are close to Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery?
Nearby attractions include Rainbow Confectionery (0.5 km).
Is parking available at Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery?
Conveniently located restaurants include Restaurant 1861, Northstar Restaurant, and Taste Cafe.
Are there any historical sites close to Chillawhile Backpackers Art Gallery?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Totara Estate (7.6 km).
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