When I booked my New Zealand airfare, I kind of balked at the price. To compensate for being a lazy bum and paying extra for a nonstop flight, I decided to do everything else on the cheap and opted to stay in hostels. I’d heard great things about hostels and making all the friends. Somehow I managed to be really bad at doing the hostel thing and only really used the rooms to sleep and store my stuff, because activities. But here’s a roundup of the places I stayed at so you can pick your accommodations accordingly.
Adventure Queenstown – Queenstown
Adventure Queenstown was hands down the best hostel I stayed at. Located smack-dab in the middle of Queenstown, this hostel was close to all the nightlife and it had tons of amenities. Forgot your iPhone cable? No problem. Need a GoPro? Borrow one for free. Everyone here was so ridiculously friendly and they give you a full tour of the place so you know exactly what you’re getting into. No awkward wandering around here. Every bed has an outlet with two USB slots. They also have a solid storage room with lockers with outlets that you can store your stuff in while there and while traveling. When I was on the Routeburn Track and hanging out in Milford Sound, I slept sound knowing that my MacBook Air was safe. Oh, Adventure Queenstown also sells stamps and the staff will help you book awesome activities to do at no extra cost.
Room type: 4 bed with ensuite
Bathrooms: ensuite for some rooms
Wifi: free with password
Ivory Towers Lodge – Fox Glacier
Ivory Towers Lodge is a pretty average hostel with average rooms and amenities, aside from a hot tub and a sauna. The double room I booked is enormous and has not one, but two beds and a television! It’s incredibly spacious and bright, but no sink or mirrors inside. The doors only lock from the outside, which is awesome because you won’t forget your key. When you’re inside, it’s a deadbolt. The outlets have two slots to charge your USB-powered devices.
Room type: double room
Wifi: 200MB free with password, $5 for 1GB after
Price: $79/night, BBH prices available
Milford Sound Lodge – Milford Sound
Milford Sound Lodge is the only place available for people to stay when in Milford Sound. Because of this, things fill quickly. They offer a variety of rooms from cramped backpacker rooms to smaller dorms to mountain chalets. Minimal amounts of outlets in rooms. My 6 person room could only charge four things. Showers and toilet facilities are shared and tend to be very busy in the morning. Because of the varying weather at Milford Sound, there was a drying room so you could go and dry all your things! It was probably one of the coolest things ever. I got soaked while kayaking. The lodge has a dining facility which serves breakfast, dinner, and most importantly, beer and wine. The only downside to the lodge is its proximity to everything else Milford Sound; it’s a 20 minute walk to the wharf. Shuttles occasionally run between 9:15 and 6:30 by request. Milford Sound Lodge sells stamps and postcards. Though I think I might have been overcharged for stamps. You can also book all your tours, cruises and activities directly from the front desk.
Room type: dormitory rooms, 4 – 11 bunk beds, depending on availability and group size
Bathrooms: separate for backpacker accomodations
Wifi: paid satellite wifi only. $50 for 500MB. Smaller increments available
Wanaka Bakpaka – Wanaka
Not going to lie, I booked my stay here because Wanaka Bakpaka had the nicest looking website of all the hostels I’ve seen. Located about a 5-10 minute walk from the heart of town, this hostel has prime views of the tiny marina, the mountains and downtown. Each hostel bed had a power strip. All the employees and guests were incredibly friendly. I was pretty bad about enjoying hostel life throughout my trip, but I talked to the most people here. The only downside is that the hostel is comprised of three different buildings so there is a chance you might get lost.
Room type: shared 4 bed room, double room with two bunk beds
Bathrooms: ensuite for dorms, separate for double rooms with sinks
Towels: $1 for dorms, free for double rooms
Wifi: 100MB free, $3 for 1GB through the front desk
Price: $31/night, $74/night, BBH prices available
YHA Christchurch Rolleston House – Christchurch
The YHA Christchurch Rolleston House was my least favorite hostel. Located in a historic building, the floor with all the rooms has one toilet. The rest of the facilities were all downstairs. The beds were pretty rickety and shook every time someone moved. Plenty of outlets, but awkwardly located for charging while lounging in your bed. The location is fairly prime. Buses stop right across the street at the Canterbury Museum. The Botanical Gardens are across the street. The RE:Start Mall is only a short 10-15 minute walk away.
Room type: 4 bed share, mixed
Bathrooms: downstairs for all
Towels: n/a, didn’t inquire
Bonus: Hotel 115
I cheated. After night one at the YHA Christchurch Rolleston House, I decided that I didn’t want to spend my last night holed up in a room with a bunch of other people. I booked one night at Hotel 115 at Cathedral Junction. To be frank, my rooms at Wanaka Bakpaka and Ivory Towers Lodge were more preferable. The Superior Double Room wasn’t that superior. Lack of windows (!!!) and awful circulation made it feel more like a jail cell than anything. I was thankful for the blinking blue lights of the fan because it meant I wasn’t suffering in pitch black darkness. Even with the fan going all night, it was still unbearably stuffy. The bathroom and toiletries were fairly decent though. Location is close to some cool/hipster-y bars reminiscent of San Francisco. However, would not stay at again.
Room type: Superior Double Room