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Auckland Central Backpackers (or ACB as it's better known) is one of the largest backpackers' hostels in New Zealand. Located right in the heart of Queen Street (the main business / shopping street in the city centre), it is a convenient landing point for people who have just arrived in New Zealand, whether as part of a working holiday or just to travel.
They offer a whole range of "starter packages" that include extras such as free internet, airport transfers, job search etc. To be honest, you don't save money by buying such packages but they are an easy option if you can't be bothered to shop around.
Getting to the hostel from the airport is a doddle. Auckland airport is a fair way out of the city centre but there is a public Airbus (see www.airbus.co.nz) that has frequent trips (every 20 mins) to the city and stops outside all the major hotels etc. Just look for the signs as you leave the airport. The stop even has GPS technology to show you how long til the next bus arrives! There
is a stop right on the corner of the building that ACB is in so it is very handy.
The hostel itself is very large and features include a large kitchen / dining area, TV lounges, internet cafe, travel agent, cafe, bar and much more. The rooms are ok but can be a bit small and cramped. The 4 bed rooms rarely have a window and I don't recommend them as they are dark and dingy. The 8 bed and 6 bed rooms are much nicer. Beds are bunk beds and sheets, pillowcases and duvets are provided. There are lockers under the beds (bring your own padlock or buy one at reception) and there is a fridge in the room (cleaners don't touch it though so beware of gone-off leftovers of previous occupants!)
Bathrooms are very clean and tidy and well equipped. Each floor has a couple of rooms for each sex and I never had to queue for a shower.
The kitchen is large and has good facilities (hobs, ovens, microwaves, fridges, freezers + extras). However, although large, it still gets very overcrowded in the evening and people rarely wash up after themselves so you may find yourself having to clean your dishes and utensils before you start which is annoying. There is also not enough space for storing food although each dorm has it's own fridge.
The "Globe" bar located within the basement offers entertainment every night until the early hours of the morning. Regular party events take place such as themed evenings, "Miss / Mr Backpacker contests", quizzes etc. Drink is cheap and the atmosphere is relaxed. You'll often be given vouchers for the bar if you're staying in the hostel.
The travel agents within the building is good and offers good, impartial advice. They are usually able to get good deals on local operators so ask what they can do. They also offer bookings for Australia and Fiji if you're heading that way after your stay in New Zealand. Most nights of the week there are companies doing presentations about what there is to do in Auckland / the rest of NZ and they often have prizes up for grabs / free city tours available.
The job search facility is a rip-off. They charge you a joining fee to allow access to job adverts etc. There are plenty of temping agencies in the city that offer the same service for free. Take a wander to the nearby Traveller's Contact Point (www.travellersnz.com for more info). For $30 / 3 months, you will get your own address (needed to get a bank account, tax code etc), free mail forwarding to anywhere in NZ for when you leave Auckland, and unlimited internet access while you're in Auckland. Whether or not you are using their address service, they offer great help applying for your tax code, choosing a bank account, finding a job etc. They also have a travel agency.
So general overview is this is a hostel that offers loads of information about what to do and see in NZ. The sheer size of it makes it very impersonal though. You won't make many friends here if you're on your own unless you like partying hard in the Globe. Stop here for a couple of nights to get orientated and then move on.