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Where to Stay in Queenstown, New Zealand

Where to Stay in Queenstown, New Zealand

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For such a small town, there sure are a lot of options for accommodation in Queenstown. This blog breaks down where to stay in Queenstown based on location, what you want to do and see, and how you are traveling!

Queenstown is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand. It’s surrounded by stunning mountain peaks and breathtaking lakes. I think we can both agree that it’s a must-visit place on any New Zealand travel itinerary!

But there’s only one problem…

Being such a tourist town, there is a wide variety of places to stay in Queenstown. With countless Airbnbs, holiday parks, hostels, and hotels to choose from it’s hard to know where to stay in Queenstown.

But don’t worry – we’ve got you sorted!

This blog breaks down all of the different areas around Queenstown, accommodation for different budgets, as well as reviews and suggestions of the BEST places to stay!

Where to stay in Queenstown – The BEST Areas

Queenstown Town Center

The view of Queenstown, New Zealand from Bob's Peak
The view of Queenstown, New Zealand from Bob’s Peak

Queenstown’s center is small. You can walk the entire town center of Queenstown within a few minutes! Here, you’ll find all of the most popular shops and restaurants as well as the gorgeous lakefront.

If you want to be able to walk everywhere and be right in the hustle and bustle of it all then staying in Queenstown’s town center is ideal. But there’s a catch!

Centrally located accommodation in Queenstown generally books up the fastest, so be sure to book in advance, especially in the peak seasons (June-September and December-March.)

Also, in peak season this area is very busy and if you plan on driving anywhere, be prepared for traffic and some hectic driving. So, if you’re nervous about driving in NZ or prefer quieter places this may not be the area for you to stay in Queenstown.

The BEST Hotels in Queenstown Town Center:

Novotel Lakeside Queenstown ($$$) – This hotel has gorgeous rooms with lake views! Its location is ideal, right next to Queenstown Beach. Inside the hotel, you’ll find a spa, concierge service, and restaurant. You can choose between standard double rooms with two double beds or a king. Some rooms even offer lake views! Prices start from about $300 NZD per night.

Nomads Queenstown Backpackers ($) – Nomads is one of the best budget-friendly hostels in Queenstown. Here, you’ll find both dorm rooms as well as privates available. There is an onsite communal kitchen for cooking your own meals. The hostel is known for being a great place for meeting other travelers with a social atmosphere. Prices start from about $40 NZD per night for a dorm.

Frankton

The quiet side of Lake Wakatipu in Frankton, Queenstown
The quiet side of Lake Wakatipu in Frankton, Queenstown

Frankton is one of the outer suburbs of Queenstown. It is about a 10-minute drive from the town center depending on traffic (yes, this little town has traffic!) The airport is actually in Frankton which makes staying here convenient for flying in and out of Queenstown.

In Frankton, you will have a large selection of Airbnbs as well as hotels. You’ll have easy access to the Remarkables mountains and can easily get out of town to explore the Gibbston Valley or Arrowtown without dealing with traffic. Oh, and Frankton is known for getting lots of sun – especially in winter when other areas like Fernhill get almost none!

But there’s a catch…

The downside to staying in Frankton is that you will need to take a taxi or bus into Queenstown. The public bus runs often though and it’s very cheap and easy to use!

The public bus in Queenstown costs $2 per trip once you have an Orbus Card. This card costs $5 and can be bought from any bus driver. Once you have the card each trip is $2, without the card, pay $5 cash to the driver.

Check out this website for more information on the public bus in Queenstown

The BEST Hotels in Frankton:

Wyndham Garden Queenstown ($$) – Hotel located right near the airport, bus stop, and The Remarkables shopping center. This hotel has a 24 fitness center, and a heated ski gear storage room. Standard hotel rooms or apartments are available. All apartments come with a kitchenette and a washer and dryer.

Queenstown Gateway Apartments ($) – Located along the lake, these 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments come with air conditioning, full kitchens, and laundry. It’s just a short walk to get to many of the restaurants and the supermarket in town.

Fernhill

Views from our house in Fernhill
Views from our house in Fernhill

On the opposite side of Queenstown from Frankton is an area called Fernhill. Fernhill mostly is residential meaning there are few hotels but plenty of Airbnbs available.

The benefit of staying in Fernhill is that you are a 20-30 minute walk from town or a 2-minute bus ride. This part of town is also on a hill and you’ll get amazing views of Lake Wakatipu and are close to a few small hiking trails.

It is a quieter suburb that popular among locals. In fact, when I lived in Queenstown for 6 months, I lived in Fernhill and I loved it!

However as mentioned above, in winter Fernhill is known to get very little sun thanks to the mountains around the suburb. So, if you’re coming in winter and love to wake up to rays of sunshine then Fernhill might not be a top choice!

The BEST Hotels in Fernhill:

Mercure Queenstown Resort ($$) – This gorgeous hotel sits on an elevated plot for views of Remarkables Mountains and Lake Wakatipu. A pool, hot tub, sauna, lounge bar, as well as a restaurant are on site. Your choice of a double, queen, or a king-size bed.

Platinum Queenstown ($$$) – 2 and 3-bedroom fully-equipped luxury lodges style villas are perfect for groups or families. Located on Lake Wakatipu right at a bus stop so it’s very easy to get into town. All villas have a private patio and an upstairs balcony.

Related Read: If you’re looking to take an epic road trip, go from Queenstown to Milford Sound it’s one of the best choices.

Arrowtown

The main street in Arrowtown, New Zealand
The main street in Arrowtown, New Zealand

Arrowtown is a beautiful little town. It is also a touristy town but is much less busy than Queenstown. There are lots of shops, pubs, and restaurants in Arrowtown.

The only issue with staying in Arrowtown is its distance from Queenstown. Arrowtown is about a 30-minute drive from Queenstown.

You can take the public bus for $2 from Arrowtown to Queenstown but routes are limited and it does take a little while. Therefore, if you plan on staying in Arrowtown but want to visit Queenstown regularly, having a rental vehicle is a good idea!

The charm of Arrowtown is hard to beat though and this small quaint town offers a very relaxing and beautiful atmosphere. If you’re visiting in Autumn (late March to early May is best) then Arrowtown is a must-visit as it becomes the most beautiful place on earth with colorful leaves everywhere!

The BEST Hotels in Arrowtown:

Arrowtown Motel ($) – This renovated modern motel offers comfortable and affordable rooms with kitchenettes as well as one and two-bedroom apartments. Downtown Arrowtown is just a half-mile down the road for restaurants, cafes, and shops. Each room has outdoor patio seating.

New Orleans Hotel ($) – This charming hotel inside of an original county pub serving NZ pub food will bring you back to the gold mining days. It is located right on the main street of Arrowtown. In the winter enjoy the large fire outback and in the summer relax out on the balcony for some sunshine.

Millbrook Resort ($$$) – This luxury 5-star accommodation is located just outside of Arrowtown and boasts gorgeous mountain views and amenities including a fitness center, three outdoor heated pools, a day spa, and a 27-hole golf course. The rooms range from studios to 2-bedroom suites. The property also has two restaurants, a cafe, and a bar. Airport pick-up and drop-off services are available.

Arthurs Point

The Edith Cavell Bridge at Arthur's Point near Queenstown
The Edith Cavell Bridge at Arthur’s Point over the Shotover River

Arthurs Point is about a 10-minute drive from Queenstown center. There aren’t many shops or restaurants in Arthurs Point although it is the closest place to stay near the Coronet Peak ski field. In winter, it is almost impossible to find accommodation in Arthurs Point for this reason alone.

The area is really beautiful and it is a good halfway point between Queenstown and Arrowtown. I stayed at the Top 10 Caravan park here and they also ran a free shuttle to town which was very convenient!

The BEST Hotels in Arthur’s Point:

Swiss-Belresort Coronet Peak ($$) – Luxury accommodation right near Coronet Peak with a free shuttle provided to and from Queenstown. This hotel has a restaurant, 2 bars, and a game room with a bowling alley. A great value as the price for a double room starts at $229.

Queenstown Top 10 Holiday Park ($) – Campground with a great view of the hills providing powered campsite, cabins, and apartments. Good value and a free shuttle is provided to and from Queenstown. Regardless, it’s a short drive into town. Many of the apartments have a private patio and a kitchenette.

Where to Stay in Queenstown for Skiing

Bialey playing in the snow at the Remarkables Ski Field near Queenstown
We both love winter in Queenstown!

If you plan on spending most of your time skiing or snowboarding in Queenstown then choosing where to stay should revolve around ease of access to one of the two ski fields.

As mentioned above, Arthurs Point is the closest area to Coronet Peak as it is located right at the mountain’s base. Queenstown is about 10 minutes from Coronet Peak’s base and the same with Arrowtown making them other good options.

If you plan on skiing at the Remarkables, then Frankton is your best choice, followed by Lake Hayes, Shotover Country, and Queenstown.

Staying close to the ski fields can be more convenient if you have a car, but if you don’t, then taking the bus will be your only option anyway. Buses leave from Queenstown center to go to both ski fields every hour during the winter and cost $30 for a return trip. Be warned though the lines for these busses are long!

Note: Even if you do have a rental car be sure to check if you’re allowed to drive it up to the ski fields. Many rental companies have clauses against this meaning you won’t be covered if you get into an accident or you could face a fine. Read our blog about renting a campervan in New Zealand for more information!

Where to Stay in a Campervan or Motorhome in Queenstown

Two motorhomes in New Zealand

If you are staying in a campervan or motorhome you will need to stay in a holiday park (or a caravan park) in Queenstown. There are a couple in town as well as a couple outside of town.

Freedom camping is not allowed in Queenstown and you will have to drive well outside of Queenstown to freedom camp. Click here for more information on freedom camping zones near Queenstown. Be sure to only freedom camp where it’s allowed otherwise you will risk getting a hefty fine!

The BEST Holiday Parks in Queenstown:

Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park ($$) – Located in town this holiday park is within walking distance to everything and offers powered campsites and access to nice facilities. It will perfectly accommodate both smaller couples to larger families and is a great option for those on a budget, there is even a resort playground for the kids.

Where to Stay in Queenstown on a Budget

Setting up a bbq at Lake Wakatipu when we were on a budget in Queenstown
Enjoying our breakfast from our van in Queenstown. We didn’t camp here but it was our favorite spot for breakfast!

Queenstown is famous for being expensive and when it comes to hotels that can be true (especially during peak season!) But if you book in advance and stay in the right places you can find hotels for good value!

Hostels are a great option if you are on a tight budget. There are many different hostels in Queenstown where you can get a dorm bed for under $40 NZD a night. Even if you are looking for a private room, hostels tend to be cheaper than hotels in the same area.

Another great option for finding cheap places to stay in Queenstown is to use Airbnb. If you’ve never used Airbnb before, you should try it! You can get entire units, whole houses, or even just a private room for a fraction of the price of a hotel!

The BEST Budget Hostels in Queenstown:

Tahuna Pod Hostel ($) – This hostel with impressive views actually offers pods as opposed to dorm beds as an affordable option while still offering privacy! There is also a shared kitchen and ski gear and bike storage available. Beds start around $50 NZD a night and if you pay a bit more there are private rooms available too.

JUCY Snooze Queenstown ($) – Another pod sleeping arrangement that is available in Queenstown! The look inside of JUCY Snooze is hip, colorful, and modern. There’s a rooftop bar and cafe with great views and a 24-hour help desk.

Haka Lodge Queenstown ($) – This clean hostel has free parking, and an open-air kitchen just 650ft (200m) from Queenstown center. Each of the bunks has under the bed storage and privacy curtains. The cost per night starts at $34.

Must-Do Activities while you’re in Queenstown

Bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw on our way back from Queenstown best bike tour
Riding the TSS Earnslaw!

Other than hiking, there are lots of other amazing things to do in and around Queenstown. Some of my favorites are:

  • Full-Day Milford Sound Experience – This award-winning Queenstown cruise takes place in one of the most scenic places in New Zealand, Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. This tour takes you along a scenic drive stopping at many of the best lakes, valleys, and tunnels before ending the experience on a 2-hour cruise through the fjords and waterfalls in Milford Sound. It will be a full day, to say the least, but it will be an unforgettable experience. Lunch is provided.
  • Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise – This laid-back dinner plus cruise is perfect for a day off from physical activity. You’ll ride on the 1912 vintage steamer, the TSS “Earnslaw” to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you’ll enjoy high-end barbequed meats or seafood- buffet style. Cap things off with the choice of desserts and cheeses. After you’ll have the option to stay behind or watch a sheepdog show and sheepshearing demonstration. Truly one of the most exceptional Queenstown tours!
  • Scenic Gourmet Food and Wine Tour – Sip wine from New Zealand’s largest wine cave, be served a gourmet lunch and indulge in local cheeses. While enjoying wines from the best regions on the island you will also pass by scenic locations and learn about the Otago Gold Rush. This half-day wine tour in Queenstown has a badge of excellence for being one the best and most popular Queenstown activities.
  • Shotover River Canyon Swing– Calling all thrill-seekers! You can jump solo or go tandem on this 60-meter (200-foot) freefall over the Shotover River Canyon. The heart-thumping jump transitions into a graceful swing rocking back and forth above the most epic views. You can expect to allow 2.5hrs for this activity.
  • Small-Group Zipline Adventure– If you’re not into freefall activities this zipline over Lake Wakatipu and the snow-capped Southern Alps is a great meet-in-the-middle option that can still push you out of your comfort zone if you so choose. You can pick from one of three height options that you feel most comfortable with. The professional guides make sure to provide you with the safest possible experience.

Thanks for reading!

Selfie of Dan and bailey from Destinationless Travel
Thanks for reading!

Thanks so much for checking out our blog on where to stay in Queenstown! I hope this has helped you plan your trip here. If you have any questions please leave them below and we will get back to you!

Also, if you found this guide helpful be sure to jump over to our Queenstown travel page or New Zeland travel page for more great travel guides. Or, check out these related articles below!

33 cheap and free things to do in Queenstown

7 best bars in Queenstown

8 must-do day hikes in Queenstown

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