Posted: 01/13/2023 | January 13, 2023
Sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown is a beautiful city in an already beautiful country. With the Southern Alps in the background and a shimmering lake in the foreground, Queenstown has a lot to offer.
Known as the “Adventure Capital of the World,” this is where daring travelers get their blood pumping. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the country, especially for backpackers.
As such, Queenstown offers a handful of fun, social and affordable hostels!
Here are four things to think about before choosing a Queenstown hostel:
Location – Queenstown isn’t huge, but it makes life easier when you’re in a location or neighborhood that suits your style and travel plans. Price – As with everything, you get what you pay for. If you choose a really cheap hostel, chances are you’ll end up with one that’s small, cramped and doesn’t offer great service. Facilities – Every hostel in the city offers free WiFi and most have self-catering facilities so you can cook your own meals. Many — but not all — include free breakfasts, so do your research to find the one that best suits your needs. Staff – All of the hostels listed here have an amazing staff that is super friendly and knowledgeable. Even if you’re not staying at any of the places below, be sure to read the reviews so you have staff who are helpful and friendly. You can make or destroy 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 Adventure Sports Hostel: Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Best Hostel for Couples: Southern Laughter Backpackers
Best hostel for winter: Black Sheep Backpackers
Best hostel overall: 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 NZD 44 $$ = NZD 45-55 $$$ = Over NZD 55
1. Adventure Queenstown Hostel
Adventure Queenstown, located just off Camp Street, hosts a different event every night of the week including quiz and board game nights, scavenger hunts, pub crawls, potluck dinners and more. The hostel is very sociable and lively, so perfect if you want to meet other travelers (but not the best choice if you’re looking for a quiet stay). Staff can book any activity you want, offer free use of GoPros and bikes, and even rent skis and snowboards in the winter.
The wooden bunks are spacious, with thick mattresses and privacy curtains to ensure a good night’s sleep. There are also lockers under the beds so you can keep your belongings safe.
Adventure Queenstown at a glance:
$$ Fab central Queenstown location Free bike and GoPro rentals Evening social activities make it easy to meet people
Beds from NZD 45 per night.
Book Adventure Queenstown Hostel here!
2. Absoloot Hostel Queenstown
The hostel has a large fully equipped kitchen on the second floor (with an even greater view) so if you’re on a budget you can cook up some meals instead of eating out. The common areas are spacious and have TVs, board games, a book exchange, and video game consoles.
Dorms come with phone charging points, privacy curtains, and reading lights right by your bed — plus under-bed lockers. The mattresses are okay too. (If you’re traveling with family, there’s also a large private room that sleeps five.)
Absolute at a glance:
$$ Ideal location in town and right on the lake. Fully equipped kitchen so you can cook your own meals. Community room with video games
Beds from NZD 47 per night, private rooms from NZD 208.
Book Absoloot Hostel Queenstown here!
3. The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers
This relaxed hostel has a home-from-home vibe. There are three kitchens and a BBQ grill so you can cook your own meals, as well as free bikes and frisbees (so you can play frisbee golf at the nearby Queenstown Garden golf course). There’s also free coffee and the common areas have plenty of books, games and DVDs if you want to relax.
Some of the dormitories have a private bathroom, while others have a shared bathroom. The dormitory rooms are made of wood and each has a privacy curtain, a reading lamp and a socket to charge your electronic devices. Mattresses are decent and lockers under each bed have outlets for charging your electronic devices while they are stored.
The Flaming Kiwi at a glance:
$ Centrally located in Queenstown Free use of bicycles and frisbee golf equipment Multiple kitchens and a BBQ grill
Beds from NZ$41 per night.
Book The Flaming Kiwi here!
4. Haka Hut
Just a block from bustling Camp Street, all dorms at Haka Lodge are wooden and have privacy curtains, reading lights, (small) lockers, and power outlets. The mattresses aren’t super thick, but they’re comfortable enough for a good night’s sleep.
The hostel has a large common room and a large DVD collection if you want to relax. The kitchen is fully equipped and there is always free coffee, tea and cold filtered water.
Haka Lodge at a glance:
$ Excellent location in the heart of Queenstown Fully equipped kitchen Complimentary coffee, tea and chilled filtered water
Beds from NZD 44 per night, private rooms from NZD 250.
Book Haka Lodge Queenstown here!
5. Southern laughing backpackers
Located within walking distance of central Queenstown, Southern Laughter offers some unique perks including a hot tub to relax in after a busy day exploring. The hostel also has a lively common room with a large flat-screen TV, self-service laundry facilities and a BBQ area for barbecuing weather permitting. It also offers free soup for dinner every night, which not only saves you money but is also a great way to meet other travellers.
Dorms are spacious and mattresses are decent, but beds are basic (they’re cheap metal bunks) and lack curtains for privacy.
Southern Laughter Backpackers at a glance:
$ Free parking Discounts for bars in town Large common room with TV and board games
Beds from NZD 34 per night, private rooms from NZD 102.
Book Southern Laughter Backpackers here!
6. Black sheep backpackers
This fun hostel offers pod-style bunk beds with privacy curtains and power outlets. It also has a hot tub and sauna, which is ideal if you’re in Queenstown in the winter to ski or snowboard. The common room also has a fireplace, which makes it extra cozy when you’re relaxing with a book. There are also free frisbees and a free shared dinner every Wednesday.
The dormitories are not very spacious and the bathrooms are also a bit small. The wooden bunk beds are comfortable enough, though, and have privacy curtains, reading lights, and power outlets.
Black Sheep Backpackers at a glance:
$$$ Complimentary Dinner Sauna and Jacuzzi Full kitchen
Beds from NZD 60 per night, private rooms from NZD 250.
Book Black Sheep Backpackers here! ***
With free perks like bike hire and GoPro cameras, tons of social activities and stunning lake views, the hostels above can help you save money and ensure you have a fun, safe and budget-friendly stay in New Zealand’s adventure capital.
Book your trip to New Zealand: logistical tips and tricks
Book your flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the world so you always know that no stone is left unturned!
Book your accommodation
You can book your hostel at Hostelworld as they have the largest inventory and the best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest prices for guesthouses and budget hotels.
If you’re looking for other places to stay, here’s a full list of my favorite hostels in New Zealand.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. It’s total protection in case something goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I have had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value for money are:
Looking for the best companies to help you save money?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use while traveling. I list all of the ones I use to save money when I’m on the go. They will also save you money when you travel.
Would you like more information about New Zealand?
Be sure to check out our robust New Zealand travel guide for even more planning tips!