Queenstown New Zealand
Queenstown is a resort town in New Zealand’s South Island.
It’s the largest city in Central Otago region, and the third largest in the greater Otago region. A stay in Queenstown is all about the great outdoors. You can ski and snowboard in winter, or go rafting and jetboating in summer. There are lush golfing greens to be enjoyed all year round, waterways for fly fishing, and rugged trails for mountain biking. The adrenalin activities of Queenstown attract young, energetic travelers. The town is well equipped to cope with visitors though, despite its relatively small size. Plenty of bustling bars and relaxed cafes line the city streets for the times you want to catch your breath. For a longer respite, visit the area’s world class wineries.
20, 000 [Source: NewZealand.com]
Queenstown is located on the south-western coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The city is built around Queenstown Bay, part of Lake Wakatipu. Invercargill lies to the south, and Dunedin is to the west.
Its southern locations means Queenstown’s temperature is a lot cooler than many New Zealand locations. The city’s alpine climate sees snow blanket the mountains in winter. Summer days are warm rather than hot, with temperatures hovering between 20ºC and 30ºC. Tourists have plenty of time to take advantage of that sunshine, with the summer sun rising around 5 am and setting as late as 10 pm.
Places of interest
The majestic beauty of Queenstown is best experienced by rising above it.
Tourists can hike to the top of almost any mountain and be greeted by an incredible landscape. If you only scale one mountain during your Queenstown getaway, make it Ben Lomond. It might seem daunting to climb this 5,735 foot summit, but people of average fitness should reach the top in a few hours. The relatively easy climb is rewarded with views over Lake Wakatipu and its surrounds.
Queenstown’s ski fields attract snow bunnies from around the world. The area’s ski resorts open in early June and trade well into October during a good snow season. There are three mountain bowls at The Remarkables, with slopes suitable for learners, and intermediate and advanced skiers. The snow tubing park and new terrain park are exciting additions. Cardrona Alpine Resort is a favorite amongst families. Little ones love the “magic carpet” learner lifts, and with snowmaking equipment installed there’s always plenty of the white stuff around for making snowmen. Snowboarders are also taken care of with four half pipes and a terrain park. Coronet Peak and Treble Cone are Queenstown’s other major ski resorts.
If you want to get your blood pumping, Queenstown is the place to do it. Jet boats zip up and down the Dart River and across Lake Wakatipu. Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are popular spots for hang gliding, while Kawarau Bridge and the craggy peaks above the Nevis River are the perfect launch-pads for New Zealand’s national adventure activity, bungy-jumping. Queenstown slows down in wine country. There are almost 200 vineyards in the Central Otago area, and Queenstown is the ideal base to see your share. That number may sound daunting, but just 32 vineyards have open cellar doors. Visitors are welcome to stop by and taste the region’s world famous pinot noir. The area’s pinot gris, riesling, chardonnay, and sparkling wines are also worth sampling.
Where to eat
Queenstown’s multicultural population and sense of adventure has given locals and tourists alike a taste for international dining. New Zealand’s famous Pacific cuisine sits happily alongside Asian and European delicacies, so there’s something to suit every taste. The city’s dining hub stretches from the bustling Steamer Wharf down through Beach, Shotover, and Church Streets. Here you’ll find plenty of casual restaurants and cheap and cheerful eateries. For a real gourmet experience though, consider a night out at Inspire. This Beach Street restaurant seats a maximum of 24 diners, ensuring you get personalized service and a quiet, romantic atmosphere. A la carte meals using seasonal and organic local ingredients are available, but for the ultimate indulgence try the ten-course tasting menu.
They say good food deserves good wine, so why not combine the two at one of the area’s wonderful wineries? Many of Central Otago’s vineyards have restaurants which specialize in fine cuisine. Amisfield Wine Company’s “grown not made” philosophy runs through its wines and bistro. The daily-changing menu takes advantage of organic meats and seasonal produce from the local area. For a long, indulgent lunch it’s hard to go past the Gibbston Valley Winery Restaurant. It utilizes fresh local produce in its Mediterranean influenced menu, the perfect complement to the vineyard’s fine wines. Al fresco dining is the ideal way to take advantage of those long summer days. The restaurant opens daily from noon until three.
Where to stay
With so many young people traveling to Queenstown seeking adventure, backpackers hostels are big business. Base Discovery Lodge is in the heart of the city, close to shops, eateries, nightclubs and pubs. Built in 2004, its facilities are more modern than most hostels, and rooms start from just $27. Base Travel on site helps thrill seeker book their adventure activities without the stress. For those who want to chill out there’s internet access and a plasma screen TV in the chill out area. For something a little quieter you could try Bumbles Backpackers. Situated 300 meters out of the city, it’s just far enough away to escape the noise without compromising on convenience. Admire the mountain and lake views from the decks, enjoy a barbecue with new friends, or connect with old ones using the hostel’s Wi-Fi internet.
Holiday parks and campgrounds offer another budget alternative, allowing travelers to get close to nature and save cash. You could stay at Lakeview Holiday Park from just $12 a night. The park has a range of accommodation options, from tent and caravan sites to cabins and luxury lodges. The park enjoys a rural feel with its views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, yet Queenstown’s city centre is just a two-minute drive away. Or you could go green at Creeksyde, the world’s first environmentally certified holiday park. While non-powered sites cost just $17 there’s luxury to be had with the sauna and spa bath.