If tourist towns could be penalised for performance enhancing assets Queenstown would be banned for several lifetimes. A loud, proud, fully commercial extrovert hosting an abundance of adventure activities in a natural playground of rivers, lake and mountains.
Yes, it’s a playground for extreme young things, but there’s so much more to Queenstown. Built on the pioneering spirit of ‘Canvas town’ gold prospectors, there is much that is rich and dramatic. Wine trails, bike trails, boutique shops – all fit for a Queen.
The town is scenically bounded by the Remarkables, so called because they run true north to south (and that’s unusual and remarkable), and fringed by the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Ascending the gondola, you get a great view of both. Bungy jumping at the top, tandem paragliding or taking the adrenalin MTB tracks back down are totally optional.
The lift-accessed mountainbike tracks are also in a class of their own and at the bottom is the highly regarded Kiwi birdlife park, so you can return home actually having sighted the reclusive national mascot.
A true four season community, from June through to October you can hit the slopes with Coronet Peak, Cardrona and The Remarkables ski fields an easy distance away and the après ski drinking and dining options are as varied as you would expect in a resort town – from five star champagne and cuisine matched elegance to the famous Fergburger.
With a population of over 20,000 and rapidly growing, Queenstown often seems to be bursting at the seams. Peak times over Christmas and New Year should be avoided if you don’t like crowds, but people come here for a reason. It’s beautiful, it’s dynamic and it’s right in the middle of incredible alpine landscapes.
Getting out of town, there is beauty at every bend in the road on the drive out to Glenorchy. The town is a stop off point on the way to the Routeburn, Rees Dart and Greenstone Caples tracks, though a worthy destination in its own right for a bite to eat and a look at the surrounding area.
Arrowtown with its gold mining heritage, historical precinct and cafes and restaurants is often the choice for a more sedate pace. Ensure you try at least one gourmet pie at the Arrowtown bakery too.
The welcome to winter party you can’t miss! The Queenstown Winter Festival