Where to stay in Queenstown on a budget – New Zealand

Queenstown Aerial View Photo: cheetah100

Some cities around the world are known as backpacker-friendly; others would just as soon have you move on to another location rather than be seen tromping around their streets. Queenstown, New Zealand, is in the former category, which makes sense, given that New Zealand is a fairly rugged country known for outdoor adventure. New Zealand is well accustomed to backpackers and understands that it will draw many of them due to its wide open spaces and laid-back vibe. You should be warned that visitor testimonials talk of intending to stay for three nights and ending up staying for three months!

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown Gondola Photo: wikipedia

Lake Wakatipu, from the Queenstown Gondola

Queenstown has a nice selection of hostels, many of them highly rated. Most are within walking distance of the city centre and provide a kitchen, Internet access and laundry facilities. Some also have a restaurant and bar. You can usually find doubles, twin and family rooms, dorms and even private suites in Queenstown hostels.

Prices range from NZD $20-$250 per room per night, and backpackers are advised to use the in-house activity booking office and dining facilities to get the best deals. Where you end up crashing for the night depends on how much you are willing to pay, where you want to go and what you want to do when in Queenstown—hike? Ski? Go out on a lake? Some of the best hostels in Queenstown are on the edge of the city or a short distance away. If you’ve grabbed a rental car from one the many Queenstown car hire companies, this distance shouldn’t be much of a problem though.

Queenstown Mall Photo:

Queenstown Mall, New Zealand

Here are the top-rated hostels in Queenstown, as judged by people like you, the actual visitors:

Aspen Lodge

This one is in the heart of Queenstown, so if you like to be within walking distance of the supermarket, shops and a fairly hot nightlife, this should be your choice. All of those conveniences are mere steps away. It is a member of the BBH, New Zealand’s backpacker accommodations network. 4 ½ stars.

Absoloot Value Accommodation, Queenstown Photo: Absoloot Value Accommodation

Absoloot Value Accommodation, Queenstown

Absoloot Value Accommodation

This one is right on the lakefront in Queenstown and has been recently refurbished. It has boutique dorms (4 and 6 beds), double and queen rooms. It also has a fully equipped kitchen, a newish Laundromat, a TV and games room. Key card entry with 24-hour guest access and 24-hour security. 4 ½ stars.

The Flaming Kiwi

One of the newest hostels for backpackers, a five-minute walk to the town centre.  There are 48 beds in this smallish facility that prides itself on its hospitality and cleanliness. 4 ½ stars.

View from Butterfli Lodge, Queenstown Photo: Butterfli Lodge

View from Butterfli Lodge, Queenstown

Butterfli Lodge

Another hostel a short distance from the centre of town. Butterfli Lodge is five minutes from recreational reserve walking tracks as well. This hostel might have the best view in all of Queenstown—hard on Lake Wakatipu with a 180-degree look at it and the Remarkable Mountains from every room. Users rave about the scenery right out the window. 4 ½ stars.

Alpine Lodge

A couple of minutes from downtown, smaller facility with dorm share rooms, twins and doubles. Outstanding reviews by users. 4 ½ stars.

Poplar Lodge, Arrowtown, New Zealand Photo: Poplar Lodge

Poplar Lodge, Arrowtown, New Zealand

Poplar Lodge

This outstanding hostel is in Arrowtown, about 15 minutes from Queenstown. Arrowtown has a fascinating history that revolves around the gold rush of the mid-1800s. There are doubles, twins and share rooms with shared facilities. There is also a separate cottage and a bedroom unit if you so choose. Lots of users appreciate this calm escape from Queenstown. It has a large garden and BBQ, central heating and wireless Internet access, as well as off-street parking. Numerous river and mountain walks are nearby, as well as many local vineyards. Used as a base for mountain bike hire and 4WD Southern Explorer trips. If you want to go more rural and frontier feel, this should be your choice. 4 ½ stars.

For more information on Queenstown’s hostels, visit Backpackerboard

This article comes courtesy of Omega Car Rental New Zealand, one of New Zealand’s top independent car hire companies.

Queenstown and Remarkable Mountains Photo: wikipedia

Queenstown and Remarkable Mountains

Photo Credits: Absoloot Value Accommodation, Butterfli Lodge, Poplar Lodge, Kiwiwise.co.nz, wikimedia.org, wikipedia.org

More to see and do in New Zealand and Australia

Coastal beauty and adventure in New Zealand
Alice Springs: the Australian Outback

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  • Reply
    Barbara Weibel
    July 11, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Great info, Heather! I stayed in Queenstown a few years back and found it to be backpacker friendly!
    Barbara Weibel´s last blog post ..PHOTO: Ornate copper serving vessels in front of a store at Boudhanath Buddhist Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal

  • Reply
    July 23, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Thanks for reviewing our wonderful Queenstown Heather, we are fortunate to enjoy a plethora of cultures from around the world in our daily life here in Queenstown and you’re right Barbara we are very backpacker friendly!

    • Reply
      July 23, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      @Jo Glad that you’re having a good time in Queensland – it seems to have plenty to offer lovers of outdoor adventure

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    March 31, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Do yourself a favour next time in Queenstown go to Primary Grill and Pizza – the best pizza you will ever have…..

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    August 3, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks you for information about prices in Queenstown. It’s very interesting place, which I want to visit this year 🙂

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