Does that headline bring a disbelieving frown to your forehead? Because… a place as popular as Queenstown always, but always, charges an accommodation premium; right? And, next to airfares, accommodation is the biggest drain on your travel budget; right?
Okay, but don’t forget that there are always, yes always, exceptions to the rule. Let’s look at ways to keep your Queenstown accommodation under control – and leave you with more money to enjoy the adventures you crave. If you can cope with dormitory living, you’ll slice plenty off your spending, but – understandably – you may prefer privacy. This is available at surprisingly reasonable rates too: the secret is to opt for hostels and backpacker-type lodges, which offer standard room types alongside their dorms.
Our list below contains some of the best-priced Queenstown accommodation on offer – each one offering a choice of dormitory or private twin/double rooms. Bed linen is included at all properties for all room-types, but towel hire may be necessary for some of the dorms.
To keep things fair, our list is in alphabetical order.
Absoloot Value: Great location, right on the lake; fresh and bright. Six-bed dorms are the cheapest option here. Also available: 4-bed dorms, 4-bed female dorms, doubles, twins and queen rooms. All rooms en suite, with LCD TV and fridge. Highly rated and recently refurbished.
Adventure Queenstown Hostel and Chalet: Very central, character-filled, opened 2011. Highly rated; lots of amenities; meals available. Lowest price is for six-bed dorm. Also 4 and 6 bed dorms with en suite, triples, doubles and twins with or without en suite. Single occupancy available.Aspen Lodge Backpackers: The lowest rate here is for a 6-10 share dorm (en suite); also 4-share dorms; triple share, double/twin; small double en suite and large double en suite. A short walk from the centre. Free off-street parking. Close to supermarket and shops.
Base Queenstown: The cheapest rates are for 8-bed dorm rooms. You can pay a few more dollars more for ‘Sanctuary’ rooms (female only), and a bit more again for twin shared. Then there’s twin shared with en suite facilities, and other variations on the theme. All of them great value. Very central location, but there’s a party scene here so bear that in mind if you prefer peace.
Black Sheep Backpackers: Quiet but central – a short walk from downtown; lowest rate is for a 6-bed dorm; doubles, twins, deluxe kings, deluxe triples and deluxe family rooms also available. Fresh décor, lots of outside space and ample in-house facilities including wifi in all rooms, spa pool, Skype.
Hippo Lodge: Great views, five minutes’ walk from centre. Lowest price is for dorms (6-8 beds); also triples, singles, doubles/twins; deluxe double/twin en suite. Hippo is peaceful (not a party hostel), small and friendly. It’s also very affordable, but a bit of a walk (around 10-15 minutes) from the heart of town. The advantage of this? You’ll sleep well at night!
Nomad’s Backpackers: Central, busy and very popular; voted the best hostel in New Zealand in 2010; Qualmark-approved. Large dorms offer the cheapest option (Nomad’s sleep 12, 10, 8 or 6). Four-bed en suite, twin and double en suite also available. Breakfast included.
Pinewood: The lowest prices here are for a mixed dorm (3-6 beds). Also no-frills backpacker doubles/twins and twin en suite options, plus self-contained cabins. Pinewood is very close to the Queenstown Bike Park and especially popular with mountain bikers. It’s little way from the centre, but still within easy reach. Family-owned and a quieter location.
Reavers Lodge: Rock-bottom rate here is for a 4-bed dorm with en suite. Also available are studio lofts with upstairs/downstairs and kitchenette; two-bedroom apartments (sleeping up to seven), double/twin rooms and quad en suite rooms. This large, hillside property was renovated in June 2011 Reasonably close to the centre, with shuttle service (welcome if you dislike walking up hills). Mountain views. Spa pool, ski rental.
Southern Laughter Lodge: Central (few minutes’ walk from the heart of town), friendly. Cheapest rates are for backpacker units sleeping up to 8; 4-bed dorms and double/twin en suite also available. Free hot soup each evening. One-week limit on stay. Close to the gondola. Fun and funky.
The Flaming Kiwi: Starting price here is for an 8-bed mixed dorm; next cheapest is a 6-bed dorm. Also 4-bed rooms, doubles, cabin doubles/twins, and singles. Within walking distance of town centre. Bikes available for guests’ use (free). Three kitchens. Well liked and very cheap. Daily free wifi voucher.
The Lab: Central, within easy reach of the action. Lowest rates here are for shared 6- or 4-bed dorms, with female-only option available. Also twins, doubles, triples and singles. Deck area with barbecue. Shuttle bus, views. Free breakfast.
YHA: Two locations: Central (right in town; avoid if you’re looking for peace) and Lakefront (10 minutes’ walk from centre; quieter). Cheap shared rooms, all en suite. Doubles/twins are also available but significantly more expensive. Free internet access.
So, when it comes to saving money on Queenstown accommodation, we think we’ve proved the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”How To Save Money on Queenstown Accommodation,