"Get Crazy in New Zealand's Fun Capital" Top 5 Page for this destination Queenstown by Kakapo2

Queenstown Travel Guide: 648 reviews and 1,726 photos

Finding the Balance

A page about Queenstown can somehow never be finished, as there is so much to see and do, and there is so much more to explore than the typical tourist action. I will add more Queenstown tips from time to time. What's missing now, are my Glenorchy tips. I will post them in the near future, either on this page or - more probably - on a separate Glenorchy page.




The other day I met a lady tourist who told me that lately she had driven to Queenstown because everybody goes there. But she was so horrified by the hordes of tourists and thrill-seekers that she left without stopping.

I can understand her reaction to a certain extent because Queenstown is not like the New Zealand many tourists enjoy, the peace and serenity, loneliness and remoteness. You could also go to one of the crowded Austrian or Swiss ski resorts (which BTW feature much nicer houses and buildings), and you can roughly imagine how it is in the "Adventure Capital of the World". Crowded in summer with thrill-seekers and in winter with skiing enthusiasts. And always party.

BUT - not everything is bad because of that. Situated on the shores of spectacular Lake Wakatipu, along the rough river gorges of the Shotover and Kawarau rivers, surrounded by not less spectacular mountain ranges, Queenstown is just a magic place, and I enjoy every bit of its fantastic nature. It surely is the best place in New Zealand for exploring film location sites of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and you can visit a lot of those places on your own and do not necessarily have to go on a guided tour.

Not a lover of crowds and people who endlessly discuss which of the hundred adventures offered they have not experienced yet, I love the golden autumns in Queenstown and its surroundings. They have Indian summers which paint the valleys and hills in yellow, orange and red, because in this area you do not find a lot of native trees which are evergreen, instead you see nothing but exotic trees, especially the spectacular poplars and willows.

In autumn it is still not too cold for all the outdoor activities like jetboating, bungy jumping, river and 4WD safaris Queenstown is famous for, and it is even perfect for hiking (which is called "tramping" in New Zealand). And as there are less tourists it is easier to get on the boats. Just do not forget a beanie and warm clothes.

The other positive thing about being such a tourist magnet is that you have an incredible lot of restaurants, cafés and shops to choose from. But not many restaurants have the cosy atmosphere of Swiss and Austrian places, although some are really nice. The biggest choice is in Thai and Korean (but still no nice real Italian ice-cream ;-).

There is even a Minus 5 bar on the Boardwalk where you get warm clothes so you can bear the temperatures, and you pay nearly $40 for the cold atmosphere and one cold drink... I think I did not have to mention that Queenstown is not a cheap place ;-)

However: Accommodation can be relatively cheap if you do not book far ahead of your travel. Tourist numbers have dropped lately, so the big hotels offer fantastic deals. Before you book anything, have a look at Wotif (www.wotif.com).

Beautiful Places and Activities around Queenstown

When you are in Queenstown and find time between Bungy Jumping and Jetboating you should visit other magnificent places I have written about. The tips are on my Otago page.

Here are the direct links to those tips:

Arrowtown

Lake Hayes

Glenorchy/Dart River

Wine Tours

Wine Festivals and Tours



More info:

Website: http://www.queenstown-nz.co.nz
Email: reception@queenstownnz.co.nz
Free Phone (0800) 478 336 (NZ only)
Address: Destination Queenstown, PO Box 353, Queenstown

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Stunning scenery, spectacular views
  • Cons:Too much noise, alcohol, action and tourists
  • In a nutshell:The landscapes make up for the buzz
  • Last visit to Queenstown: Nov 2008
  • Intro Updated Jan 15, 2012
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Reviews (63)

Comments (2)

  • dancinbudgie's Profile Photo
    Aug 9, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Hi! I have just started researching for a family skiing holliday next year. Yours is the first page I have looked at, and it has been a really helpful start. Thanks. Tracey

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Dec 25, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    Like you, I love the area around Queenstown, bit I find the town itself too much of a tourist mecca to enjoy more than a brief visit. Lots of good info here for first time visitors. leyle

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