Let us introduce you to the place that has found a perfect balance of nature’s serenity, the warmth of human hustle, and some nail-biting adventure all in one place! Get ready to fall in love.
Fondly known as the Adventure or adrenaline capital of the world, Queenstown is a place that you will want to keep visiting again and again. Set against the beautiful backdrop of scenic mountains, this cosy town is right out of dreams for every kind of traveller.
Now let’s dive into a quick guide for visiting this amazing adventure capital.
A peek into the history
This quaint town at the center of the South Island did not emerge as a town until 1862 when gold was found here. While the evidence for Maori presence dates back 700 years, it seems like it was more of a summer hunting ground for them. But thanks to the discovery of gold here, today we have our most favourite adventure town!
When to visit?
That’s the beauty of this place. Come at any time and you are guaranteed to have the time of your life. Let me paint you a quick picture of each of the seasons so that you can decide when you want to visit.
Summer: December to February – Long bright days and leisurely time along banks of Wakatipu lake with the comforting shades of green and blue.
Autumn: March to May- Clear and cool evenings, Arrowtown’s Autumn Festival, Gibbston Valley’s Harvest Festivals, and many more events, all surrounded by surreal autumn colours.
Winter: June to August – Clear blue skies, chilly morning, some snowfall, and a lot of skiing! The dreamy blues and whites of the winter that would make you not want to leave.
Spring: September to November- Watch the sun and the clouds tease each other as the spring flowers start to sweep the place with bursts of colours. There is also the annual Jazz festival and many other events to keep you entertained.
Things to do
If you are an adventure junkie, you are going to have a hard time in Queenstown because you are not going to be able to choose from all the activities that this place has to offer. The birthplace of bungee jumping has 3 jaw-dropping bungee spots, skydiving from 15000 ft that will scare your pants off, the crazy jet boating that gives the goosebumps, and much more! You can paraglide to catch the scenic beauty of this place as you fly, swing your heart out, indulge in some refreshing and thrilling white water rafting, or try the exhilarating experience of canyoning.
What’s amazing is how safe these crazy adventures are. Many of the top companies here have a 100% safety record! So, there is literally nothing to fear than the fear itself. If you don’t want to straight-up dive from a plane, you can gradually ease into it by starting with some not-so-scary but still very satisfying adventures like a plane/helicopter ride to Milford Sound, fly down one of many zip lines or go for some soothing kayaking.
Calm time with nature
While the adrenaline rush is the main attraction of Queenstown, people who visit this place are equally captivated by its calmer and serene side. There are so many nature walks around this town that is waiting to take your breath away. Skyline Gondola, the view from the top of Bob’s Peak, Queenstown gardens, a ride on the iconic steamship of Queenstown followed by the most delicious meal, journey to the middle earth and relaxing private jacuzzi with a view are things you can do leisurely and still thoroughly enjoy.
Milford Sound is a place you cannot afford to miss if you are in Queenstown. It will be by far one of the most iconic places you will see in your life! Even a simple walk along the Wakatipu Lake will make a gorgeous evening here. You can also make a quick trip to explore the nearby Arrowtown. There are so many stunning nature escapes here that you can choose from!
Food and nightlife
No travel experience to any place is complete without indulging in the food there. Queenstown has so much to offer in terms of food and its vibrant nightlife that it would be a sin if you don’t allow yourself to splurge a little. Fergburger is a place you simply cannot miss! If you make it to the Remarkables (which you should), you can try some really good fudge at the Remarkables Sweet Shop. The farm meal following the steamship ride is also a Queenstown food experience that you don’t want to miss.
More into fine dining? You can kind top-class fine dining restaurants that would leave you in a food coma in this town. Rātā, Nest Bar & Kitchen, No5 Church Lane, Ivy & Lola’s, Botswana Butchery, Jervois Steak House, Jack’s Point Clubhouse, and many more places. If you like the thrill of hunting down a good place to eat, you can try The Bunker Restaurant & Bar. Searching for this place is the perfect warm-up for the feast that will follow.
With all these finger-licking goodness, hundreds of bars, local wines, and various clubs, Queenstown comes alive in a whole other way and you will have the time of your life!
Just like the variety of places to see and food to eat, there are different accommodation options – luxury lodges, boutique hotels, and resorts for you to choose from. But make sure you book your stays well in advance, as they book out very fast.
By now you would have realized that Queenstown is not a place that you can experience fully in a single trip. However, it is a place worth every minute and every penny that you will spend here.