I really loved Queenstown. I stayed for a total of four nights, but they weren’t consecutive. This was the longest Stray stop I took, and not including camping at Rhythm, this was the longest amount of time in any one place during my travels around New Zealand. I know some people who spent over a week here and they said they could stay longer – the little town has a way of enticing and keeping you in. Queenstown is the adventure capital and I would also say it’s the tourism capital of NZ. Naturally, there were a lot of accommodation options. I stayed at three different hostels while in QT.
This was by far my favorite of the three hostels. It was a unique and comfortable experience. There was no elevator so the stairs to reception were grueling with luggage, but that was by far the only negative. Upon checking in the staff member is attentive and informative. After showing you to your room (which has a personalized welcome sign greeting you) they take you on a tour. The furniture and decor has major ski chalet vibes and you feel as if you are at a family winter vacation home. There are so many little extras that really add a nice touch: Netflix/games in the lounge area; all day coffee and tea; Spotify on the speakers in the kitchen; extra appliances to use – rice maker, crockpot, french press, etc.; video monitored valuables storage room; availability to rent items like GoPros for free. There are nightly social activities at both the hostel and in surrounding bars. The location is fabulous – right in the middle of town. There’s also two outside terraces overlooking the main streets and into the mountains. It’s a small hostel with a max capacity of around 50 and it usually is booked out so if you’re interested ins staying here book sooner rather than later. They have a sister hostel, Q2, which is also suppose to be really great as well. I believe Q2 is a bit newer and usually books out first.
This is a solid choice for Queenstown. Again it has a sky lodge/cabin feel. There’s a bit of a funky layout, but they do actually have an elevator! It checks all the YHA boxes for being clean and offering basic amenities. I booked this hostel for my last night and picked a 3-person room facing the lake. I was mostly impressed that they had a 3-person option because that meant three single beds each in a corner so there was plenty of space. The kitchen and dining space was well equipped and designed. If I had more nights to spend here I wouldn’t have minded. The only downfall was that it was a bit out of town and that was just a minor con because it wasn’t that far (maybe 10-15 minutes) and the walk is scenic along the lake. It’s just not great if you are walking alone at night.
This was the Stray recommended hostel. I really wasn’t impressed. The staff at check in was borderline rude. Okay maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but they didn’t seem happy to be there whatsoever. They also pretty much split up all the Stray people and that didn’t make sense to us. The rooms had a keyless pad (like the Base in Wellington), and I think it was meant to integrate with the app Tipi. However, the app didn’t work so to get into your room you had to key in the 10 number code each time you entered. I was in an eight person dorm, which I should have known better, and it was so far away from the bathroom. The better parts of this Nomads were the communal areas like the kitchen, lounge, and movie room. Location was great and this was right in the middle of everything and a super short walk to the lake. With the prime location I have heard that it can get noisy from the surrounding bars, but I didn’t notice this myself. I didn’t have a terrible experience, but I was happy that I had booked into a different spot. I know many people who moved from Nomads into a hotel or Airbnb to avoid the noise. Base on my experience it’s not a bad option just not my favorite.
Honestly, any of these hostels would be good to stay at. I also had friends who stayed at Q2, the Juicy pods, and Alpine Lodge. They also had positive stays at these hostels. When I go back to Queenstown I will probably look into Adventure Queenstown, Q2, or Alpine Lodge.