Book a hostel and save your dollars for adventures and parties in New Zealand’s South Island hotspot.
Queenstown is a firm favourite among New Zealand-bound travellers. Given that it’s a destination that attracts the younger, more adventurous backpacker crowds, it’s no wonder that the town has its fair share of budget-friendly hostels. If you’re looking for a place to stay, make sure to check out these great options.
Although it’s only two minutes from the throbbing hubbub of Shotover Street, Haka Lodge Queenstown is ideal for partied-out backpackers in need of some shut-eye. Accommodation includes a self-contained apartment that sleeps four, private rooms with ensuites, and dorms with solid-wood bunks. With signs written in Māori and a proud commitment to the manaakitanga hospitality tradition, this laid-back lodge encourages you to explore New Zealand’s native culture and language.
Parking spaces in central Queenstown are as rare as kiwi birds’ teeth, so the limited on-site parking at this lakefront YHA is a welcome perk for drivers. Other amenities include storage for snowboards, skis and bikes for those planning to explore the scenic area beyond its roads. Hikers will also appreciate its location on Lake Esplanade, at the entrance to the 14km (9mi) Ben Lomond Track.
This YHA sits within the beating heart of Queenstown’s lively scene on Shotover Street. Its range of dorms includes female-only options, while double ensuite rooms offer a little more privacy for an extra cost. An 8ft (2m) map of the region hangs in the dining room, allowing you to plot your onward adventures. With the world-famous Fergburger only 50m (164ft) away, you’ll be able to see if it tastes as good as everyone claims (it does).
Backpacker innovation is the name of the game at JUCY Snooze, the headline being its capsule sleeping pods that reimagine traditional dorm rooms. Built-in smart functions include USB charging stations, a privacy blind and temperature and light controls, while the speedy check-in kiosks are a queue-busting bonus. It’s not all modern flourishes; the wood-fired pizzas and mountain view at Miss Lucy’s rooftop bar are a welcome throwback.
A community spirit infuses this 50-capacity hostel, set among the shops and snack joints of Camp Street. Activities are organised every night of the week, with residents invited to join in with quiz and video game nights, pool competitions and even a Thursday scavenger hunt around town. The lounge fireplace, comfy pouffes and Netflix subscription add to the homely feel.
The little sister of the Adventure Queenstown Hostel shares the same community vibe as its elder sibling, with helpful and friendly staff. Alongside a well-equipped kitchen with plenty of refrigerator and freezer space, the hostel also has a barbecue on the terrace and a cinema-style lounge room with a library for book exchanges. The Where’s Wally maps, found in each bathroom, rarely fail to raise a smile among guests.
The Tahuna Pod Hostel is a modern, slightly more refined option in the heart of Queenstown. It’s designed in a way that embraces Māori art traditions while adding a modernised touch to your everyday bunk-bed arrangement. Aside from its signature bedroom pods, the hostel also features a large barbecue area with stunning views. Complimentary meals are available as well, with waffles in the morning and home-made soup in the evening.
One of Absoloot Hostel QT’s biggest draws is its location right next to Lake Wakatipu. The hostel, in operation since 2010, includes a shared kitchen with stunning lakeside views and dorms with ensuites or shared bathrooms. Each bed comes with a personal reading light and large under-bed locker. There are also private rooms and family rooms, designed to sleep up to four people. Head to the 24/7 lounge for board games, Xbox and Sky Sports on the communal smart TV.
The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers is a no-frills hostel within a 10-minute walk from the adrenaline-inducing Shotover River. It offers shared dorms as well as cabins with single, double and twin rooms. Weekly rates are available for those looking for longer-term accommodation. Other notable features include free bike hire, free unlimited internet and free international phone calls to 21 different countries.