A 20-minute walk west of town are the A-frame chalets and guesthouse of the longstanding Tiare Village Hostel. This 23-bed establishment has three fan-cooled, self-contained chalets, each with two singles and one double, and three triples in the main house. In addition, there are six self-catering duplex units facing a circular swimming pool. Guests staying in the dorms share the communal cooking facilities, lounge, and hot water showers. Free luggage storage facilities are available for returning guests while internet access is extra. Don't expect to get a lot of sleep as this is a bit of a party hostel. Airport transfers are free upon arrival but not free to return to the airport (or you can walk in 10 minutes along a road which skirts the east end of the runway).
Maria's Backpackers Accommodations is on Akaoa No. 2 Road just off the Ara Metua in Arorangi, up near the trailhead of the Raemaru trek. From the main road in Arorangi turn inland opposite Bunny's Diner. There are two self-catering rooms. This is a place for people who like peace and quiet; those interested in meeting other travelers should head elsewhere.
In 2002 Rarotonga Backpackers opened on a hillside off the Ara Metua up Te-Ope-Pa Road inland from Tere's Shop in Arorangi. There are two seven-bed dorms and four poolside rooms with shared bath in this multilevel complex. Common cooking and laundry facilities are in the large common area on the upper deck. Rentals of bicycles/motorbikes and surfboards are possible. The Friday night barbecue and pub crawl is a very popular event! Free airport pickups are provided for those who have booked ahead through the website (charge for the departure transfer).
Backpackers International Hostel is on Kavera Road in the southwest corner of the island, only 100 meters off the Ara Tapu. It offers six rooms with double beds and another 12 rooms with twin beds. In addition, there are six singles and 21 dorm beds in rooms of three to eight (three-night minimum stay). A common TV lounge and cooking area are provided, and internet access is inexpensive. This place has been around for quite a while and it's showing its age.