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Living in Queenstown & Wānaka

Queenstown & Wānaka are world famous for being New Zealand’s premier tourist and lifestyle resorts. Queenstown-Lakes is a leading student destination with an innovative, vibrant and professional study environment.

45 degrees south
Longest Day
15 hours of sunlight

Discover Queenstown & Wānaka

Located in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, Queenstown & Wānaka aren’t short of spectacular scenery and world-class activities and attractions. Popular adventure activities include bungy jumping, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding and white water rafting. For the less adventurous there are plenty of shops, art galleries, vineyards and gardens to visit.

Get Started

It’s time to get the basics sorted so you can make the most of your time here in Queenstown & Wānaka or even make it your permanent home! Learn more about:

Things to do in Queenstown

Things to do

Each of the seasons has its own special vibe in Queenstown & Wānaka, and most activities can be accessed all year round. You wont be short of cheap options as a student too; there’s many free hikes, events and ways to explore on a budget.

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What’s on in Queenstown & Wānaka

Getting here

Getting here is easy, with both driving and flying options available. There  are three international airports in close proximity: Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch. The region is also is well serviced by a number of bus companies

Getting here

Getting to Wanaka from Queenstown is straightforward, with both driving and bus options available. The drive takes just over an hour, offering beautiful views of the Southern Alps along the way. For those preferring not to drive, several bus services run regularly between the two towns, providing an easy and direct route.

Getting to wanaka

Accommodation Options

Why should you study in Queenstown

Featuring a range of affordable accommodation options for you, including rental properties, student dorms and home stay, Queenstown & Wānaka offer a lifestyle and quality of living second to none.
Accomodation options
House / Room rental ( or indepentent 'flatting' )

Flats range from one-bedroom apartments to four or five-bedroom homes and can be found in most Queenstown & Wānaka suburbs. Most suburbs are accessible by public transport, and flats include basic equipment such as an oven, dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer. You and your flatmates will share the cost of rent and usually the phone and energy bills. For more information, use the quick links below:

Hall of Residence (or hostels)

Accessible by public transport to the campus, halls of residence offer fully furnished single or share rooms with a shared dining hall, lounge and laundry.

Meals are often included and you’ll find a lively programme of social activities. Some of the institutions also provide private hostels that run in a similar way, and some have self-contained apartments (which we call ‘flats’).*Available at Queenstown Resort College and ABC College of English only

Homestay (or private board)

With a homestay you live with a Queenstown family in their home, usually in a fully furnished room of your own. They’ll provide you with meals and help you to settle in to day-to-day life in New Zealand. A homestay is a great way to get to know some friendly New Zealanders, develop your English skills and get a close-up look at Queenstown’s way of life and culture.

Getting around
Queenstown & Wānaka

Using Public Transport in Queenstown & Wānaka

Queenstown has an extensive public transport network. The Orbus service has a Bee Card that can be loaded with money to pay for the service. There is a flat rate fare around Queenstown for just $2.

You can learn more about using the public transport in Queenstown here.
Wānaka doesn't have a frequent bus service. However, if you land at the International Airport, there are buses to Wānaka from Queenstown running regularly. There are also many taxi and shuttle services.

Learn more about getting around Wānaka here.

Driving a car in Queenstown & Wānaka

Many Queenstown & Wānaka students opt to purchase a car. International students can purchase a car. If you have a valid driver's license in your home country, it is relatively easy to obtain a New Zealand driver's license. Depending on your situation, you can convert your current licence directly without needing to sit a practical driving test. See more car purchasing resources:

Eco Friendly Transport options

There are many eco friendly transport options for getting to and from your study and work.

Get on a bike

Mtb park

Queenstown & Wānaka have an extensive network of trails, developed by the Queenstown Trails Trust. Biking can be great for your wellbeing and can be the perfect way to start the day.

Biking can be a cheaper alternative to car ownership with less maintenance, insurance and fuel costs.

Carpool or use public transport


Carpooling is an eco-friendly, cost-effective transport option. Sharing your ride with a few others, going to the same or similar destination can not only eliminate the hassle of finding multiple carparking spots but is also a great cost saver. This is especially beneficial when there are limited public transport options.

Student Life

Having an unforgettable student experience is all about getting involved. There are many opportunities for students to immerse themselves in Campus and Queenstown-Wānaka life. Let’s help you make the most of your studying experience!

Find your study match

Start your career in one of the world's best tourism hubs. Each institute has its own character, and you will find the perfect match for your education goals.