Ok so I only stayed one night. But it was enough to tell what kind of hostel environment to expect for a longer stay (and trust me, it’s not a place you’d want to stay long). I don’t know how they found workers to be honest, they’re looking to hire actually – no surprise.
I actually didn’t have much of a choice when I booked at Base. I quickly found out that backpacking in NZ isn’t the kind I’m used to. You can’t just go day by day, turning up at hostels or to a new town without worrying you won’t be able to find a bed for the night. I loved that I was able to find and book a hostel the night before I headed there. It gave me freedom to stay longer where and when I wanted to. But not NZ. No, in NZ, particularly in high season, everything needs to be booked in advance. Activities, accommodation, route planning. There is some room to play by ear but there’s a likely chance you will have left NZ thinking you should’ve planned earlier for it. Anyway I digress.
Base Queenstown is your typical partying hostel. Thinking 8-bed mixed dorm with no luggage space, cheap creaky bunks, poorly maintained bathroom and kitchen facilities, limited wi-fi hours, being smack bang in the centre of night clubs/bars locality. That doesn’t sound so bad in writing. But when you’re trying to sleep in a room of hot stuffy and STINKY air, with a night club vibrating the walls all night, and hearing screams / yells from drunken idiots outside, not to mention the gleaming light from the windows which have no blinds to cover – you’d be thinking ‘thank fuck this is only for one night’.
I checked in pretty late since I arrived around 8pm. The bus ride into town from the airport was lovely – just 15 minutes and the sun was just setting, enriching that mountain backdrop view against the lake. I was starving but didn’t get the chance to really sort food out until 9.30pm. By the time I got to wonder around town to see if there was any decent food, I ended up getting a unfairly priced instant noodle cup from a 24 hour convenience store, only to find the hostel kitchen was already closed. I was also terribly thirsty and there wasn’t any facility to fill up! (I discovered a water dispenser past the reception desk the next morning, however it would have been nice to be informed). I was annoyed with this hotel.
Thankfully Rachel, the sweet lady from the convenience store, gladly made my noodles for me and even gave me a fork and filled up my water bottle. Life saver. I’m gonna get her something when I return to Queenstown on the 4th February. Hope she remembers me – I’ll forever remember her because I would’ve otherwise had a terrible night (That makes me sound like such a baby. But hey, we need comfort items when we’re out of place / in a new place).
Back to Base. Bathrooms were bearable. They weren’t terribly dirty, but weren’t so accommodating either. I hate that there are no hooks in some places – how hard can it be just to knock in a few! Makes such a huge difference for guests!! The kitchen was like a big commercial area but everything was everywhere. Shelves and shelves of people’s foods in plastic bags.. I sensed many people were here on their working holiday, living in hostels while they worked.
One main annoyance is that of Wi-FI. I can survive without it, but it’s stupid for travellers finding out it’s only from 7am-7pm. I learned WiFi hot spots are harder to come around in NZ so i got a sim. $25 for 1.25gb and 200 mins. More expensive that I liked, but you know what it makes up for all the previous months I’ve been going between prepay providers for like $5!
I forgot to mention I met a girl named Maei on my flight from Sydney. We sat in opposite isle seats and got talking. It was great in the beginning but she quickly got on my nerves. She wasn’t very polity, let’s just say. i got out of touch with her quite quickly after checking out. That’s one good thing about hostel life and having people come and go haha.
It’s day 2 in NZ and 11.53pm as I write this. Got a few activities planned tomorrow I’m keen for. Plus got some awesome shots to share on instagram of course!