Located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on the southern island of New Zealand, Queenstown is beautiful city set in an already beautiful country. With the Southern Alps looming as a backdrop and a shimmering lake in the foreground, Queenstown has a lot going for it.
Known as the “adventure capital of the world,” it’s here where daring travelers come to get their blood pumping. It’s one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country, especially for backpackers.
As such, Queenstown boasts a handful of fun, social, and affordable hostels!
Here are four things you need to remember before picking a hostel in Queenstown:
- Location – Queenstown isn’t huge, but it does make life easier when you’re in a location or neighborhood that fits your style and travel plans.
- Price – As is true anywhere, you get what you pay for. If you pick a really cheap hostel, you’re probably going to get one that is small and cramped and doesn’t offer great service.
- Amenities – Every hostel in town offers free Wi-Fi, and most have self-catering facilities so you can cook your own meals. Many — but not all — include free breakfast, so be sure to do your research to find the one that best meets your needs.
- Staff – All the hostels listed here have an amazing staff who are super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you don’t end up staying at one of the places listed below, be sure to look up reviews so you have staff who are helpful and friendly. They can make or break a hostel!
Below is my list of the best hostels in Queenstown. If you don’t want to read the longer list below, the following are the best in each category:
Best Hostel for Budget Travelers: Southern Laughter Backpackers
Best Hostel for Solo Female Travelers: Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Best Hostel for Adventure Sports Lovers: Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Best Hostel for Couples: Southern Laughter Backpackers
Best Hostel for Staying in the Winter: Black Sheep Backpackers
Best Overall Hostel: Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Want the specifics of each hostel? Here’s my breakdown of the best hostels in Queenstown and why I love them:
Price legend (per night)
- $ = Under 44 NZD
- $$ = 45-55 NZD
- $$$ = Over 55 NZD
1. Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Adventure Queenstown, located just off Camp Street, puts on a different event every night of the week, including quiz and boardgame nights, scavenger hunts, pub crawls, potluck dinners, and more. The hostel is very social and lively, so it’s perfect if you’re looking to meet other travelers (but not the best choice if you’re looking for a quiet stay). Tthe staff can book any activity you like, plus they offer free use of GoPros and bicycles, and they can even rent you skis and snowboards in the winter.
The wooden bunks are spacious, with thick mattresses and privacy curtains so you can get a decent night’s sleep. There are also lockers below the beds so you can keep your stuff safe.
Adventure Queenstown at a glance:
- Fabulous location in the center of Queenstown
- Free bike and GoPro rentals
- Nightly social activities make it easy to meet people
Beds from 45 NZD per night.
2. Absoloot Hostel Queenstown
The hostel has a large, fully equipped kitchen on the second floor (with more great views), so if you’re on a budget you’ll be able to cook some meals instead of eating out. The common rooms are spacious and have TVs, board games, a book exchange, and video game consoles.
Dorm beds come with phone-charging ports, privacy curtains, and reading lights right at your bed — plus under-the-bed lockers. The mattresses are decent too. (If you’re traveling with family, there’s also a sizable five-person private room.)
Absoloot at a glance:
- Ideal location in town and right on the lake
- Fully equipped kitchen so you can cook your own meals
- Common room with video games
Beds from 47 NZD per night, private rooms from 208 NZD.
3. The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers
This laid-back hostel has a homey feel to it. There are three kitchens and a BBQ grill so you can cook your own meals, plus free bikes and frisbees to use (so you can play frisbee golf at the nearby Queenstown Garden course). There’s also free coffee too and the common areas have lots of books, games, and DVDs for when you want to relax.
Some of the dorm rooms have en suite bathrooms and others shared bathrooms. The dorm beds are made of wood and each has a privacy curtain, a reading light, and an outlet so you can charge your electronics. The mattresses are decent and the lockers below each bed have outlets for charging your electronics while they’re in storage.
The Flaming Kiwi at a glance:
- Centrally located in Queenstown
- Complimentary use of bicycles and frisbee golf equipment
- Multiple kitchens and a BBQ grill
Beds from 41 NZD per night.
4. Haka Lodge
Located just a block from bustling Camp Street, all the dorm beds at Haka Lodge are wooden and have privacy curtains, reading lights, (small) storage lockers, and power outlets. The mattresses aren’t super thick, but they are comfy enough for a good night’s sleep.
The hostel has a large common room and a big collection of DVDs for when you want to chill out. The kitchen is fully equipped, and there’s always free coffee, tea, and cold filtered water available.
Haka Lodge at a glance:
- Excellent location in the heart of Queenstown
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Free coffee, tea, and chilled filtered water
Beds from 44 NZD per night, private rooms from 250 NZD.
5. Southern Laughter Backpackers
Located within walking distance of the center of Queenstown, Southern Laughter has a few unique perks, including a hot tub where you can relax after a busy day of exploring. The hostel also has a lively common room with a large flat-screen TV, self-service laundry facilities, and a BBQ area for grilling when the weather is nice. It also offers free soup every night for dinner, which not only will save you money but makes for a great way to meet other travelers.
The dorms are spacious and the mattresses are decent but the beds are basic (they’re cheap metal bunks) and they lack privacy curtains.
Southern Laughter Backpackers at a glance:
- Free parking
- Discounts for bars around town
- Large common room with TV and boardgames
Beds from 34 NZD per night, private rooms from 102 NZD.
6. Black Sheep Backpackers
This fun hostel offers pod-type bunk beds with privacy curtains and power outlets. It also has a hot tub and a sauna, which is ideal if you’re in Queenstown in the winter for skiing or snowboarding. The common room has a fireplace too, which makes it extra cozy when you’re relaxing with a book. Plus, there are free frisbees, and every Wednesday there’s a free communal dinner.
The dorms aren’t super spacious and the bathrooms are a bit small as well. However, the wooden bunk beds are comfy enough and have privacy curtains, reading lights, and power outlets.
Black Sheep Backpackers at a glance:
- Complimentary dinners
- Sauna and hot tub
- Fully equipped kitchen
Beds from 60 NZD per night, private rooms from 250 NZD.
With free perks like bike rentals and GoPro cameras, tons of social activities, and stunning views of the lake, the above hostels can help you save money and ensure you have a fun, safe, and budget-friendly stay in New Zealand’s adventure capital.