Queenstown New Zealand - A Truly Amazing Place
Queenstown New Zealand is located on the shores of the stunning Lake Wakatipu which snakes its way between towering snow-capped mountains. It's hard to imagine a more scenic location, anywhere on earth.
Queenstown is our favourite New Zealand destination and its beauty just blows us away every time we visit.
Often referred to as New Zealand's "Adventure Capital" Queenstown is also a place where you can relax and just watch the world go by.
And with so much to see and do in the region, it's a place where you can easily spend a week or more, and never be lost for something to do.
But if you want a relaxing holiday, Queenstown will also accommodate you. Perhaps a wine tour, or a lake cruise on the historic TSS Earnslaw.
Combine these features with an amazing variety of bars and restaurants (try the Pub on Wharf and Pog Mahone's for great food and a sensational lake view), and a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes, and Queenstown has all bases covered.
And let's not forget that Queenstown is a great winter destination with several amazing ski fields close by. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are easily accessed from Queenstown, and Cardrona and Treble Cone are located close to nearby Wanaka.
More than a million visitors come to Queenstown every year for everything from world-class
skiing and snowboarding
to bungy jumping, jet boating, and gourmet food and wines.And Queenstown is also a popular starting point for tours to New Zealand's famous Milford Sound.
During the long warm summer days activities in Queenstown New Zealand include fishing, hiking and just plain relaxing.
In Autumn, conditions are perfect for golf, and Queenstown has several courses to choose from. One of my most memorable games of golf was at the Kelvin Heights course. I spent so much time admiring the view that I couldn't concentrate on my golf (but that's what Queenstown does to you). Nearby Arrowtown is stunning in Autumn. The historic buildings, flanked by the changing foliage make for a photographers dream (followed by a pint of Speights or a local wine at the pub in the main street - they have a great open fire to relax by, and they serve wonderful meals).
In winter, Queenstown comes alive as the snow fields open, enticing skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables ski fields are close by, and nearby Wanaka is home to Cardrona and Treble Cone. When dark falls, the town rocks with people flowing onto the streets from the dozens of pubs, bars and restaurants.
Queenstown is a place where you can hire a helicopter and fly to a remote alpine location for a champagne picnic, play golf on a range of world-class courses, or charter a private yacht and fish for trout and salmon. Your imagination and budget are the only limitations.
The world's first commercial bungy site was established at the nearby Kawarau bridge, in 1988. Inspired by the vine jumpers of Vanuatu, two kiwis Henry van Asch and A J Hackett created this amazing activity, which has since been reproduced around the world. Try the Ledge (400 metres above the town), Skipper's Canyon (where a cable car takes you to your jump site) or the historic Kawarau bridge. We have to admit that we could only summon the courage to jump from the Kawarau bridge, but hey, 43 metres is a long way when you are standing on the edge!
The Queenstown region was also the birthplace of commercial jetboating. These things are amazing, and I can highly recommend a trip. Choose to race through the shallows (they can operate in about 10 centimetres of water) or through the canyons of the Shotover river. A great thrill which ever you choose.
The Queenstown area is also well known as a location for many blockbuster movies, such as the Lord of The Rings, X-Men Origins, and the Princess of Narnia. Devotees can take guided LOTR tours, where you can see many of the actual locations used in the movies.
Also popular as a year round rafting destination, rafters can choose the Shotover and Kawarau, and can even take a heli rafting trip. The Kawarau has the highest water volume rafted commercially in NZ, and is good for beginners. The Shotover is a more challenging ride for experienced rafters, and carves its way through the dramatic Skippers Canyon.
Mountain bikers will find that Queenstown has trails for all
skill levels. And when the ski season ends, the Coronet Peak ski runs
turn into scenic downhill biking trails. The old pack track at Skippers
Canyon is an historical run, whilst Bob's Peak is a very challenging
descent. A popular easy ride is the Otago Central Rail Trail, where riders experience the beautiful Central Otago scenery.
To find out more about the wide range of things to do in Queenstown, why not visit our Queenstown Activities page.
Or, you can search for and book a wide range of Queenstown activities HERE.
Queenstown New Zealand - A Little History
The traditional Maori people searching for pounamu (New Zealand greenstone or nephrite jade) were the first people to visit the area. After finding the valuable stone, they returned on regular hunting and pounamu expeditions.
According to Maori legend, Lake Wakatipu came into being when an evil giant kidnapped a Maori maiden. The giant was knocked down by the maiden's rescuer, and legend has it that he rests in the depths of the lake, and that the lakes level rises and falls in time with his beating heart.
Setlers came to Canvas Town (as Queenstown was originally known)in 1862 when gold was discovered in the Arrow and Shotover rivers. Queenstown boomed until 1865 when gold discoveries in Westland lured many away from Queenstown. In the 1870s things picked up again in Queenstown when new crushing equipment enabled gold to be more efficiently extracted from local quartz seams.
Canvas Town was renamed Queenstown because (you guessed it) it was said to be fit for a queen.
Food and Wine - If You Can't Find Something To Tempt Your Tastebuds Here You Are Hard To Please
Gibbston Valley is the southernmost wine growing region in the world. Famous for its award winning pinot noir wines, local wineries also produce chardonnay, pinot gris,
riesling and sauvignon blanc. Local winery tours are a wonderful way to pass a few hours (just make sure that someone else drives).
Home to literally hundreds of bars, pubs, cafes and award winning restaurants, Queenstown has something for all palates, and we are always disappointed that we never seem to have enough time in Queenstown to sample as many outlets as we would like (which just means that we will have to come back another time).
Accommodation - Yes, Queenstown Has A Huge Variety
Home to dozens and dozens of first class hotels, motels, B & Bs and apartments, Queenstown has a huge range of accommodation options.
And it's an amazing place to indulge yourself, even if only for that "special occasion". The lakefront is dotted with high end hotels and apartments, and I can say from experience that there are few things better in life than sitting on your deck with a beer or wine, looking out over Lake Wakatipu, at the snow covered Remarkables (I can feel another visit coming on).
There are also dozens of holiday homes available for rent, and if you have a group or family, they are often a cost effective option. And for the budget conscious traveler, Queenstown also has a range of backpacker hostels.
Take Care When Booking Your Queenstown Accommodation
Central Queenstown is very hilly, and parking in the centre of town is mostly pay as you go, and hard to find. For those reasons, take some time when researching your accommodation. We recommend you ask the following questions:
We use the highly regarded TripAdvisor for our accommodation services, and perhaps the best service they offer is the ability for you to read a range of traveler reviews.
You can search a wide range of Queenstown accommodation on TripAdvisor by clicking on the following banner.
Seasonal Highlights in Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown New Zealand is a celebrated winter destination with several ski areas, lively ski culture and winter festivals attracting large crowds to the vibrant resort town.
is the oldest and best known of the Southern Lakes snowfields. With
great early morning and night skiing, Coronet Peak offers New Zealand's
longest on-snow hours.
The Remarkables ski area has a wide range of terrain and is popular with snowboarders, freeskiers and families. Ski-fields open from early June until October.
And around 1 hours drive from Queenstown, the township of Wanaka is home to the Cardrona and Treble Cone skifields.
The Queenstown Winter Festival - in late June / early July - is New Zealand's largest winter celebration with more than 60 events over 10 days. Events, on and off the mountain, cover sport, art, music, comedy, food, wine and everything in between.
Gay Ski Week - held in late August / early September - is the southern hemisphere's biggest gay and lesbian alpine party and attracts many international visitors.
DID YOU KNOW
* Part of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed in the Queenstown region.
* In 2000, Queenstown New Zealand became the first New Zealand destination to host a million visitors in a 12-month period.
* At peak times, visitors to Queenstown New Zealand out-number local residents by three to one.
* The oldest-recorded bungy jumper is a 94-year-old at Kawarau bridge.