One of my favourite cities in all of New Zealand is Queenstown. It is true, good things come in small packages. Queenstown, well actually most of the cities in the South Island of New Zealand are very small towns. Queenstown is one of them. Despite it being a small town, it is probably the most action and thrill filled town in all of New Zealand. Be it summer or winter, there’s always something to do, even if that is just sitting by the waterfront and absorbing the Remarkable beauty around you. Pun intended.
If you are heading to Queenstown, regardless of whether it is in the summer or winter, I suggest at least a 3 nights’ stay. If you’re an avid skier you might prefer a few more days. This is if you’re planning on doing things in and in close vicinity to Queenstown. As you may have seen in my previous blogs on cities in New Zealand, it’s best to take an early morning flight if you’re a domestic traveller, which is often the case. The flight from Auckland takes roughly 1 hour and 30 minutes, with breath taking views and the landing is just beautiful. As such I recommend hiring a car, if your budget can allow it, however if you’re mainly doing things in Queenstown, then you won’t require a car. The best thing for you to do, once you’re out of the airport, would be to take the shuttle to your accommodation. As Queenstown is a smaller city, and everything is close to each other, the shuttle fair shouldn’t be too high. When I went down to Queenstown with my friends, we depended on the local public transport to get around and the shuttle for the transfers to and from the airport.
If the day you land is nice, clear and sunny, I highly recommend first going up the cable car. I’m not sure if you can pre-purchase these tickets, but regardless I don’t recommend pre-purchasing them any way. So what can you do once you go up? Glad you asked! Firstly, you can get a 180-degree view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Be it summer or winter, the view is a stunner. For the adventurers, there are luge rides. You can purchase tickets for your luge rides whilst purchasing tickets to go up the cable car. I believe the basic bundle includes 3 rides on the luge. Regardless of whether of which activities you participate in, when up here; you can easily spend a good 2-3 hours, if you are willing. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people do also prefer to spend a rather short time here and not indulge in some refreshments.
Depending on whether you’ve eaten lunch by this stage or not, you might either prefer to take a stroll along the lakefront area or possibly get some lunch at one of the establishments along this area. There are two places that you HAVE to go to prior to leaving Queenstown. The first is, Fergburger. In all of New Zealand, there is only one Fergburger outlet and that is in Queenstown. It is not uncommon to walk past Fergburger and see the huge ling gathered outside, with people waiting their turn to order their choice of burgers and then subsequently waiting for their order to be ready. The second place is Patagonia. Now, Patagonia is more of a dessert place. But trust me, to devour their dessert selection, you will have to skip lunch, unless you can handle two full meals.
Queenstown is a very tours based city to visit. You really do need to plan ahead and book tours that you’re interested in, or if you’re there to ski then make whatever arrangements you need for that. Once you’ve had lunch and dessert, if you’d like to take it easy, then walk along the Queenstown mall or the Queenstown gardens, which are located adjacent to the lakefront area. During the summer season, the Queenstown mall/lakefront area is a very vibrant location, with buskers putting on shows, singers singing and much more. During the winter it can be rather quiet. The next day, is a good day to venture out to Arrowtown. You can either drive yourself there or get there on a bus.
Arrowtown, is not really a city per se, but a very small location roughly 40 minutes drive from Queenstown. The basic history about this place, is the gold rush that occurred here. In this town, there’s a small museum that you can visit. I cannot remember for sure, whether there’s a cost associated with it or not. However apart from that, there are various boutique stores and restaurants and cafes where you can spend some time. If the weather is good, there’s also a park where you may wish to relax for a while. Again, depending on your mood, you may wish to spend roughly 2 hours here. There really aren’t a lot of tourist activities here per se. Once you make your way back to Queenstown, you may decide to participate in some of the adventure and thrill rides that Queenstown has to offer.
The last thing on the list is to venture out to Glenorchy. It is roughly an hour’s drive to Glenorchy. This is another small town, with not a lot to do. However the views are breath taking and that makes the journey worth it. The drive to Glenorchy is a mountainous one, with frequent scenic look out spots. We. Stopped. At. Each. One. Glenorchy is known for horse riding and again more thrill rides. We drove to Glenorchy, however I believe there are tour buses that depart from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
The blog on Queenstown was a tough one to write, as there really isn’t much to do there unless you’re into thrill seeking adventures or if you just want to relax and rejuvenate. It is no doubt one of the most beautiful cities I’ve visited three times. I can go there over and over again just to relax and get away from the busy life. Any questions leave them below and I’ll respond as soon as possible. Travel safe!
Until next time,