So those that follow me on social media will know that I’m now living in Queenstown, New Zealand. A lot of people have been messaging me about it, asking how it is, how easy is it to get a job, and what is there to do. So I’ve made it into one blog post, to save me writing the same response every time.
Queenstown is at the bottom of the South Island in New Zealand. It’s actually classed as a city, but from my point of view growing up in England, it’s a typical ski town, that you’d find in France or Italy. It reminds me of Windermere/Bowness in the Lake District back home. There’s no major supermarket, only small express stores (like Tesco Express). If you do decide to live here, make the journey to Frankton, the next nearest town. It’s about a 15/20 minute drive away, but you’ll get the big supermarket and it’ll save you a small fortune on your food shopping for the week. But I definitely wouldn’t call Queenstown a city!
Queenstown is a popular backpacker destination, especially during the winter season, as this is the place to go skiing/snowboarding in New Zealand. It also has plenty of nightlife, and is the adventure capital of the world. Queenstown is where bungy jumping was invented. And if it still isn’t appealing to you, the views around Queenstown are amazing! It’s no surprise that most of Lord of the Rings was filmed around this area.
Queenstown is based on tourism, so there’s plenty of accommodation. There’s a few different hostels if you’re on a budget. Nomads, Absoloot and Adventure Queenstown are just a few of the best ones. Avoid Base Backpackers from my own personal experience, and a lot of other peoples experiences from talking to other backpackers. It’s the cheapest, but it’s the cheapest for a reason. It’s dirty, the rooms are cramped and it’s the young party hostel. So don’t expect any sleep! Some might love it, but when you’re trying to live in Queenstown and work here, it’s hell! It almost made me go home, so something to consider! Price of hostels for a week, you can expect to pay anything from $160NZD or above for the week. Or if you’re just spending a few nights here, they’re around $30NZD per night.
Air BnB’s and hotels are a thing in Queenstown, if you don’t fancy the hostel life. They are expensive though, being as Queenstown is a holiday destination. And they get fully booked pretty quick, especially during ski season. So if you are planning on coming to Queenstown to throw on your snow boots, plan and book ahead.
If you choose to live in Queenstown, you can rent an apartment or house. Most start from $200 per week. You can find listings on Facebook groups (search Queenstown accommodation), Lakes Weekly Bulletin or Trade Me.
Work in Queenstown
If you work in the hospitality/tourism industry, then you should find it pretty easy to find a job in Queenstown. That being said, it totally depends what time of year you get here. I was told with my experience in hospo and tourism, that I’d get a job no problems, it’s super easy to find work in Queenstown. I got here, and there was literally no jobs. Every bar was saying they weren’t hiring until ski season, which is the beginning/mid June. I ended up getting lucky finding a job, but then the hours aren’t so good because it’s out of season at the moment for Queenstown. I am promised better hours during the ski season, which is looking promising. But bare in mind if you come here with no savings, especially because Queenstown is so expensive. Every backpacker comes here to work during the snow season, so you’re literally competing against 100s of backpackers, and it is only a small town.
If you’re looking for bar work, print a CV out, and go from bar to bar, asking. This is the best way to get a bar job. Keep going in every week if they say there’s no jobs going at the minute. They’ll eventually have something pop up, and it’ll be your face they remember. You can also find jobs on the Lakes Weekly Bulletin, Facebook groups (Queenstown jobs), and Seek.
What to do in Queenstown?
I realised as I went to write this, that there is a lot to do in and around Queenstown. So much so, that I’m going to do a separate blog post on things to do in Queenstown. So keep an eye out, and follow my blog to find out more!
Overall, I really like Queenstown. It’s a nice little town, with plenty of things to do in the area, so you can never get bored. I didn’t see myself living in Wellington or Auckland. I grew up in a small town back home, near the countryside and never really been a fan of living in the city. I’m surprised I lasted as long as I did in Melbourne, Australia. So it’s actually nice to ditch the city life, and get back to living in a small town. I’m excited for snow season to start, as it has been a while since I’ve been on a board, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can pick it back up straight away. I’m also excited to explore the area. I was worried when I got my job, that I was getting 3 days off a week, but then when I realised how much there is to do, I realised I’m never going to get bored. I recommend visiting Queenstown, even if it’s not to live here. But definitely add it to your bucket list. After all, it is the adventure capital of the world!