I was in Queenstown from 05-11 March.
Adventure Queenstown (AQ)- my hostel. It is one of the nicest hostels I’ve ever stayed in. Though the facility itself was not incredible, the hostel did so many things right that it comes out near #1, if not #,1 in New Zealand.
Hostel living is not glamorous. You have virtually no privacy, no space of your own, you share bathrooms, kitchens and sofas with up to 50 other people. There are, however, many small things that make hostel living easier and AQ had them all. Many hostels have a few of these things but no other hostel has had them all. Hence why I rank this hostel #1.
– Outlets at every bed- including top bunks. This is incredibly convenient. When I am asleep, I want to know the time the second I wake up, even if its in the middle of the night. Since no hostel has a clock in the room, I sleep with my phone under my pillow (also helpful when I need to set and alarm). This usually means that I then cannot charge my phone overnight and have to charge it sometime during the day. If I plan to be out the entire day, it presents some logistical challenges. Having an outlet right next to my bed eliminates this problem entirely. It also means that everyone has their own outlets and there’s no war for valuable outlet space.
– Pouches at every bed- This is ingenious. There’s a tiny pouch attached to the wall that allows you to store things next up near your bed. Since I was charging my phone overnight, I slipped it into this pouch, along with my book. I was on a top bunk so there have been times at other hostels when my phone or book have fallen off the bed while I was sleeping. With this pouch, problem solved.
– Tiny reading light at every bed- I travel with a headlamp. It’s easier than a flashlight. Mostly I use it at night when I’m reading in bed but the overhead light has been switched off. This tiny reading light, attached to the wall, totally eliminates the need for the head lamp (and also eliminates yet another object that can fall off the top bunk while sleeping).
– Free Wifi- Enough said.
– A boatload of other free things- international phone, computer use, ipads, Go Pros, hairdriers, hair straighteners- virtually anything you could possibly need they have free to use.
– Comfy Sofas- This is important to me. I love to hang out on a couch and watch a movie, or read a book, or just chat. Basically I just love comfy couches and AQ had 2 huge couches and 2 smaller ones. Plus beanbags. And coffee tables at each couch.
– Well stocked kitchen- most hostels are missing something in the kitchen, whether its sharp knives, a can opener, peeler, sauce pans, spoon, whatever, every hostel could have a better stocked kitchen. But not AQ. That had everything you could possible need.
– Solid Wood Bunk Beds- They DID have bunk beds, which I typically dislike, BUT, they were all solid wood and bolted to the wall and the floor. Basically you couldn’t move them if you tried. There was no worry of rolloing over to a chorus of squeaks and waking your bunk mate with earthquake like movement.
– Real Matresses- Many many hostels do not use real mattresses, they use these foam things that wear out and then slope towards the center. AQ had real, honest to goodness mattresses.
– Ample luggage storage space- Underneath the bottom bunk were cabinets to store all your stuff, labeled with top bunk and bottom bunk. When you checked in they asked you to please store your stuff in there. Even though the rooms were small, because everything was put away, there wasn’t an explosion of stuff everywhere.
– Ample Hooks in the rooms- when you don’t have a closet, hooks are your friend. It’s a place to hang your towel and coat and hoodie and scarf.
– Name Tags on Beds- Kind of nice. You now know the name of everyone in your room.
– A boatload of movies to watch- I don’t typically watch movies in hostels but this one had hundreds upon hundreds to choose from. All in HD on an external hard drive.
– Lockers- I also don’t ever lock my stuff up in a hostel, but this one had a secure room to lock your stuff up. You had to enter a keycode to enter the room, and there were HD cameras inside. Then there were tiny lockers and big lockers. Inside all the lockers were outlets to charge electronics, the main thing that people lock up.
– Dedicated Refrigerators- Refrigerator space is a premium in hostels. At AQ though refrigerator space was labeled by room. One refrigerator for every 2 rooms. It almost guarantees that you’ll have refrigerator space and more importantly you won’t forget which fridge you put your food in.
– Chipper Staff- Seriously. Everyone that worked there was always happy. Nice. Friendly. Eager to help. Chipper. They encouraged you to ask a billion questions about anything simply because they wanted to help.
Cookie Time- A cookie cafe. You know how I love cookies. Love them. Between 6pm and 7pm they have happy hour, which means 2 for 1 cookie deals. Instead of $3 per cookie, which is steep, it’s $3 for 2 cookies, which is much more agreeable. I tried the double chocolate and traditional chocolate chip. I am a bit of a self proclaimed cookie conossieur, so these cookies did not blow my mind. I could have made better cookies (and have). But, considering the price and texture, they were excellent.
Ben Lomond- See previous post
View- Virtually anywhere you go in Queenstown you will have a lovely view with the gorgeous lake and huge snowcapped mountains. I spent multiple days sitting near the lake reading and enjoying the view.
Craft Market- Back when I was in Wanaka there was a craft market the first day I was there. At the market I saw some really lovely earrings that I wanted. They were $10 so I figured I’d wait until the market next week and if I still wanted them I’d buy them. But the market didn’t come back the next week. Or the week after that. I was a little bummed out. But! One weekend in Queenstown there was a craft market and the same vendor was there from the market in Wanaka. I quickly snapped up some simple dangly purple earrings.
Friends- One of the main reasons I spent so long in Queenstown was that I had friends from my hostel in Waiheke coming. All together there were about 7 of us and it was so nice to see them. I missed my people; people I know and liked and had shared experiences with. It was the first time since I was in the USA that I was seeing people I already knew. It was refreshing and fun.
Overall, I enjoyed Queenstown. I don’t know if I’d go back but it is a gorgeous location and there is lots to do if you have the cash. If not, then the town gets old quite quickly. Besides adventure sports, there’s not much in Queenstown itself. As such, I got a bit bored after 3 days. Still though, being able to see my friends made the longer stay worth it.