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Queenstown is one of the most beautiful places to visit on the South Island but it is often considered an expensive place to vacation. Thankfully, that’s not the case for the backpacking community as Queenstown has lots of clean, comfortable, and sociable hostels at great prices.
There are heaps of benefits to staying in a hostel in Queenstown. Firstly you will save a ton of money – hotels and Airbnbs are expensive in Queenstown. With nightly rates in a dorm here starting from $20 NZD – you can use your budget towards all the fun things on offer in Queenstown.
Staying in a hostel in Queenstown is also a great way to meet other like-minded people, I especially recommend hostel life if you’re a solo traveler as you’ll be sure to befriend other solo travelers. A lot of the hostels in Queenstown run nightly events such as pub crawls and parties in Queenstown. These are a great way to socialize with your hostel friends in a fun and safe way.
Cooking is another great way to save money, something you can’t do when you stay at a hotel in Queenstown. All the hostels I’ve listed in this blog have excellent kitchens, one hostel even has three separate kitchens. And finally, hostels typically have great laundry facilities either for free or super cheap (laundromats aren’t really a big thing here).
There are an astounding 18 hostels in Queenstown and more in the greater area. However, in this blog, I’ve put together 5 of the best and cheapest hostels in Queenstown so you can choose the perfect one for you!
5 Best Cheap Hostels in Queenstown
These are 5 of the very best hostels in Queenstown – from a hostel with ‘the best hostel kitchen in New Zealand’ to ‘a home away from home’ 5 minutes from the center of town. There certainly are a few standout hostels in Queenstown.
1. Adventure Q2 Hostel
Location: 5 Athol Street. Right in downtown Queenstown just down the street from the Four Square supermarket and Shotover Street. Perfect location for accessing all that Queenstown center has to offer including restaurants, bars, coffee shops, Lake Wakatipu, and more.
Price: Starting from $84 NZD for a bed in a 6-bed dorm; starting from $100 for an ensuite King room.
Type of rooms available: 6-bed mixed dorm; 6-bed mixed dorm with ensuite and a king room with ensuite.
Who will love this hostel: Clean freaks – the hostel is rated a 9.6 for cleanliness on HostelWorld – and a lot of the reviews across the other booking platforms also mention how clean it is. Adventure Q2 Hostel is popular with return guests so if you want a familiar place to return to when you visit Queenstown, this is your spot. It’s described time and time again as having a very friendly vibe, with the staff especially being noted as extremely helpful.
Why it’s a top choice: The reviews on both HostelWorld and Booking.com are excellent. It scores a 9.7 on HostelWorld and a 9.3 on Booking.com. Q2 offers guests complimentary loans of a GoPro, iPad, and many more goodies! Plus they offer fun activities seven nights a week – a fantastic way to meet people.
Important info to note: The dorm rooms here are on the smaller size. The kitchen area closes at 11 pm so if you get the midnight munchies – this may not be the place for you.
2. Absoloot Hostel Queenstown
Location: 50 Beach Street. Absoloot Hostel likely has the best location out of all of the hostels in Queenstown located right next to Lake Wakatipu and Earnslaw Park. There really isn’t a more central (or scenic) location!
Price: Starting from $79 NZD for a bed in a 6-bed dorm to $170 for a private ensuite room for two.
Type of rooms available: 6-bed dorm; 4-bed dorm; double ensuite room; queen ensuite room, and family ensuite room.
Who will love this hostel: Those who want to be in the thick of the action – this hostel is located right on the lakefront in the center of Queenstown. If you love to cook – this is the hostel for you – it has one of the best hostel kitchens in New Zealand. Families on a budget will also love Absoloot as their family ensuite room receives some fantastic reviews. The hostel also provides complimentary family packs to keep the kids entertained which include games and coloring books.
Why it’s a top choice: It has “the best hostel kitchen in New Zealand”. It’s family-friendly thanks to its family ensuite room and family packs. The location is spot-on – it’s right in the middle of Queenstown and next to the lake.
Important info to note: There’s no parking available on-site. You will have to park at the one-mile parking lot or at the Queenstown Gardens for free parking nearby. Parking can be problem in Queenstown and getting parking sometimes will be a struggle. You may hear noise from outside at night due to its central location.
3. Tahuna Pod Hostel
Location: 11 Henry Street. Right off Gorge road, a 5-minute walk to central Queenstown and just a 10-minute walk to Queenstown Gardens.
Price: Starting from $67 NZD for a bed in an 8-bed dorm to $117 for a double room with a shared bathroom.
Type of rooms available: 12, 6, and 4-bed dorms (male, female & mixed available); and double and queen with a shared bath.
Who will love this hostel: Those who like their space – this place is huge! Another bonus is that the pods have privacy curtains so you will be a bit more comfortable. Plus, it is a super clean hostel – so if you like your hostel neat and tidy this is the spot for you.
Why it’s a top choice: Located close to Lake Wakatipu the views of the mountains from the common areas. Tahuna Pod Hostels is considered one of the “quieter” hostels in Queenstown and so it tends to be popular with couples and older travelers.
Important info to note: The rooms do have air conditioning so it’s great during the Summer months. There’s free parking available on-site. This hostel isn’t in the center of town but is only a 10-minute walk along the lake into town.
You can book Tahuna Pod Hostel on Booking.com.
4. Flaming Kiwi Backpackers
Location: 39 Robins Road. Just a 10-minute walk from central Queenstown.
Price: Starting from $66 NZD for a bed in an 8-bed dorm to $104 for a queen room
Type of rooms available: 8, 6, and 4-bed dorms; single/double & twin cabins and a double room
Who will love this hostel: If you want a home away from home – it has been described by past guests as “one big home”. I’ve personally stayed here and the facilities are excellent. This place has 3 kitchens all with fully equipped ovens. Also, if you’re traveling with a lot of stuff the lockers in the dorm rooms are huge with plenty of space for your bags.
Why it’s a top choice: It’s a very social hostel and I found it very easy it is to make friends here. It’s close to the action of Queenstown, but not too close (the town is under a 10-minute walk away), but the street outside is quiet so you will sleep easy at night. Flaming Kiwi offers complimentary bike hire for all guests, perfect when there are lots of great bike trails to explore in Queenstown. Bikes are first-come-first-served so ask early to nab yourself one. There’s also lots of street parking.
Important info to note: Sometimes reception opens late which is annoying however, there is a cell phone displayed at reception so you can call if you have any issues. Parking is limited on the property but there is free parking along Robins road. Lots of long-term stayers here, so, hit them up for advice about the area.
5. JUCY Snooze
Location: 47 Camp Street. Right in central Queenstown. A short walk from the lake with mountain views.
Price: Starting from $22 NZD for a pod in a 12-bed room to $174 for a queen ensuite with a balcony.
Type of rooms available: 12, 8, and 4-bed pod rooms; queen ensuite standard and queen ensuite with balcony.
Who will love this hostel: If you’re a sucker for a convenient location, this hostel is a few meters from the center of town. If you want to stay in a dorm but keep your privacy – the pod-style beds are a game-changer as they each have their own closable blinds and power ports.
Why it’s a top choice: The hostel has great privacy with unique pod-style beds. Their rooftop bar Miss Lucy’s has epic views and a great atmosphere plus their pizzas are to die for! If you fancy splurging a little, the private rooms are like a hotel room for half the price – luxurious and very comfortable. Jucy Snooze is brand new, it only opened in April 2018 and so it’s modern and clean.
Important info to note: Jucy Snooze offers a 24-hour reception. The kitchen is quite small and can get very busy at mealtimes. It tends to be most popular with backpackers on a short vacation and so past guests have mentioned it can be difficult to meet people. The lack of a common area to lounge in may be a problem for some.
Hot Tip: The best hostels generally get booked up first during the busy times of year in Queenstown. During events, school holidays, or even December in Queenstown (Christmas and New Years) it is especially important to book your hotel well in advance!
Related Read: To enjoy some of the craziest things to do check out my blog about the 25 best adventure activities in Queenstown!
Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
There are plenty of activities that will keep you busy while you’re in Queenstown. Honestly, there are so many things to do in Queenstown, that it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites:
- Take a cruise – Aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise you’re in for a scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown that’s great for any afternoon. This is one of the last coal-fired steamships in the world and you get to watch the crew add coal to the flames to power the vessel as you take in mountain ranges and lush green valleys. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
- Watch a sunset – As the day draws to a close in Queenstown, make sure to head to the shores of Lake Wakatipu to watch a sunset. It’s one of the best viewpoints to watch the sun sink behind the Southern Alps. I like watching from Queenstown Beach or Perky’s Floating Bar where you get a view of the lake and delicious food and drinks too!
- Go canyoning – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek as part of this Queenstown Canyoning Adventure with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
- See Milford Sound – This day trip to Milford South with a picnic lunch will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a cruise in Milford Sound included.
- Wine tasting – This Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money as for $239 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
Renting a Car, Campervan, or Motorhome in New Zealand
Let’s face it, you’re going to need wheels to get around New Zealand. Although a small country, buses between destinations are infrequent and expensive. Plus, some of the best experiences you can have in NZ are on road trips!
You have three options when it comes to getting wheels in New Zealand; a car, a campervan, or a motorhome. Here’s what you need to know about each and where to get them:
- Car – A normal car is the cheapest rental vehicle you can get in New Zealand. It’ll get you around to all of the best destinations with ease. The only downside to a car is that you will need to stay in hotels or Airbnbs during your travels (no camping.) The easiest place to rent a car in New Zealand is on Discover Cars where you can compare cars, companies, prices, features, and more very easily.
- Campervan – A Campervan is a large van that has a bed and a small kitchen in the back. It is what most budget backpackers get for traveling around New Zealand since it allows you to camp comfortably and for free (most) nights. Campervans are best for couples or solo travelers who are happy to live in a small space. You should also love the outdoors and camping! You can easily compare campervans, prices, and book on the website Motorhome Republic. We also have a 5% discount code (QUEEN5) with Mad Campers, which you can use at checkout.
- Motorhome – A motorhome is larger and more comfortable than a campervan. Many motorhomes will comfortably sleep 6 or more people – perfect for a family visiting New Zealand. Motorhomes are the most expensive option, but with one, you won’t ever need to stay in a hotel and you’ll save money that way. Motorhome Republic is my suggested website for booking a motorhome in New Zealand simply because they are a reliable company and the website is super easy to use! We are also partnered with Kiwi Motorhomes, which is well known as the top motorhome rental company in New Zealand. You can get 5% off using the code Queen5. For more detailed info, read my complete guide to renting a motorhome in New Zealand!
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually purchase it as soon as we land in the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
I think it’s fair to say there’s some great hostels to choose from in Queenstown and the ones I’ve mentioned above are the best of the best! Plus, they’re cheap – what are you waiting for, get yourself to Queenstown! I hope you’ll find your new favorite hostel in Queenstown on this list.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this guide has helped you find the perfect hostel in Queenstown. To me, all of the above options are good choices so you really can’t go wrong. If you’re after more info on where to stay in Queenstown, check out my blog about the best Airbnbs in Queenstown and the 15 best hotels in Queenstown (there are some great budget-friendly options too!)
Also, If you want more info on Queenstown or New Zealand be sure to browse around at my other blogs. You’ll find lots of info on road trips, things to do, and more! Or you can easily click to some of my most popular posts here: