Queenstown, New Zealand

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Urban Area Permanent Population 10,990 (2007)
Floating Population 25,000 - 35,000 (Winter Season)
Name Queenstown Lakes District Council
Population 22,956 (2006 census)
Land area 8,704.97 km² (3,361.01 sq mi)
Name Otago
Queenstown Mall, New Zealand

Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island. It is built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin lake shaped like a staggered lightning bolt, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains.

There are various apocryphal accounts of how the town was named, the most popular suggesting that a local gold digger exclaimed that the town was "fit for a Queen". It is now known for tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism and is popular with young international and New Zealand travellers alike.

The town is the largest centre in Central Otago, and the second largest in Otago, but for a few administrative purposes (such as primary healthcare) it is administered as part of Southland. According to the 2006 census, the usually resident population of the Queenstown urban area (including Frankton and Kelvin Heights) is 10422[1], an increase of 22.1% since 2001.

Its neighbouring towns and districts include Arrowtown, Wanaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill.

The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 km² (3,361.01 sq mi) not counting its inland lakes (Lake Hawea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka). It had a 2006 census population of 22,956 usual residents.


[edit] Tourism

Queenstown, the attraction of Remarkable Mountains

A resort town, Queenstown is a centre for adventure tourism. Skiing, jet boating, bungy jumping, mountain biking, tramping and fly fishing are all important activities.

Queenstown is a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, with people from all over the country and many parts of the world travelling to ski at the four main mountain skifields (Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone).

In recent years Queenstown's hostels have become a popular destination for young Australian and American tourists. Queenstown provides adventure tourism during the day and a vibrant nightlife scene during the evenings.

Locally, Queenstown has a reputation as one of New Zealand's wine and cuisine centres. Neighbouring, historic Arrowtown features excellent restaurants and bars, and Queenstown lies close to the centre of a small wine producing region, reputed to be the world's southernmost. Pinot noir produced in this area fetches premium prices.

Queenstown International Airport has scheduled flights to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and internationally offers flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Queenstown and the surrounding area contain many locations used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

[edit] Highlights

Panorama of the view from the Remarkables towards Queenstown Airport, with Queenstown beyond.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] Climate

Queenstown has a alpine climate with winters that have clear blue skies and snow capped mountains. Summer has long warm days with temperatures that can reach 26°C.

Weather averages for Queenstown
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 22.6 (73) 22.7 (73) 19.9 (68) 16.1 (61) 11.9 (53) 8.6 (47) 8.2 (47) 10.3 (51) 13.5 (56) 16.2 (61) 18.6 (65) 20.7 (69) 15.8 (60)
Average low °C (°F) 10.7 (51) 10.6 (51) 8.8 (48) 6.2 (43) 3.3 (38) 0.7 (33) 0.1 (32) 1.3 (34) 3.6 (38) 5.6 (42) 7.4 (45) 9.4 (49) 5.6 (42)
Precipitation mm (inch) 78 (3.1) 58 (2.3) 80 (3.1) 75 (3) 89 (3.5) 82 (3.2) 65 (2.6) 73 (2.9) 69 (2.7) 95 (3.7) 72 (2.8) 77 (3) 913 (35.9)
Source: NIWA Climate Data[2] 1971 – 2000

[edit] Transport

Queenstown airport was upgraded in the 1990s to be able to handle jet aircraft, including international flights from Australia. Due to sustained heavy growth, further terminal expansion was undertaken in 2005 and 2006, with more construction currently ongoing. Queenstown has an international airport with flights from Australia by Air New Zealand, Qantas, Pacific Blue and Jetstar and in particular, from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast (the frequency is much increased over the ski season and during summer). Domestic flights operate from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Due to sustained growth, expansion of the airport terminal was undertaken in 2005 through 2010.

Queenstown airport is New Zealand's busiest helicopter base, and is also heavily utilised for tourist 'flightseeing' using both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

The primary road access to the Queenstown area is via State Highway 6 (SH6), which travels from Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge to Frankton, where a 9km spur (SH6A) leads to the CBD area and connects with the Glenorchy Road. SH6 continues south, crossing the Kawarau river before heading down the eastern side of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston before emerging on the plains of Southland.

A difficult road over the Crown Range leads to Cardrona skifield and Wanaka, and is New Zealand's highest paved public road.

[edit] Visiting Queenstown

The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown

Queenstown is a scenic town in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the most beautiful regions of Otago and offers year round attractions. The town sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. The most remarkable sight is the Remarkables, which is a saw-toothed range of mountains on the opposite side of the lake from the town.

Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown

[edit] Understand

Queenstown lies at the outlet to Lake Wakatipu, one of New Zealand's Southern Lakes. It caters for tourists on a wide range of budgets, from backpackers to luxury tourists. In many respects Queenstown can be a tourist trap. However, reasonable prices and bargains can be found for those prepared to look for them.

If you are looking for a relaxing scenic holiday, there are numerous Boutique Hotels, Lodges and B&B's accommodations on offer.

[edit] History

The town and surrounding area was originally settled by Europeans, and a substanial Chinese population for gold mining and farming in 1860s. After the decline of goldmining, Queenstown became a sleepy rural town, popular as a summer getaway.

In 1947, New Zealand's first commercial skifield Coronet Peak opened and since then the town has grown into a world class tourist resort. There are now 4 commercial skifields within easy driving of Queenstown.

[edit] Get in

[edit] By plane

Queenstown has an international airport which is served by Air New Zealand, Qantas, Pacific Blue and Jetstar. There are domestic flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and direct international flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast in Australia.

Queenstown Airport is known for it's spectacular approach, the snow-covered mountains of New Zealand's Southern Alps surround it on four sides and there is a complicated path to the runway.

Queenstown airport also provides for private jets and other aircraft, and there is a huge number of helicopter take-offs and landings each day. Scenic flights and heli-skiing are a popular attraction for the region.

Glenorchy Air provides scenic flights from Queenstown to Milford and other destinations

[edit] By bus

Daily services from Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill, Te Anau, Wanaka and the West Coast. Many international tour companies carry holidaymakers into Queenstown by coach.

[edit] By car

Allow a full day from Christchurch (about 6 hours driving). The drive is spectacular, through the diverse countryside of New Zealand's South Island, with vast plains, rolling hills, multicoloured lakes and mountain passes. Major international and all national rental car and campervan companies have offices in Queenstown.

[edit] Get around

The Queenstown town centre itself is small enough to walk around. Parking is at a premium and can be hard to find during the day. For more distant travel wheeled transport such as a bus or car is necessary.

There are a number of tour operators to be found in downtown Queenstown. Transport from downtown Queenstown to adventure activities is often part of the tour package. Some operators may even pick up from your tourist accommodation.

A number of boat tours depart from the Queenstown Wharf at the bottom of the Mall.

[edit] See

The spectacular mountain scenery and Lake Wakatipu dominate the view from many parts of town. Most attractions in Queenstown make the most of the view. It is enough reason to spend time in Queenstown if you choose not to do anything else.

The drive to Glenorchy, 50 minutes north up Lake Wakatipu, is rated as one of the top scenic drives in the world. The Gibbston Valley wine area is 20 minutes drive from Queenstown by the ancient Kawarau Gorge.

Kiwi Shuttles offers Transport options from Small Groups to Large whether it be Ski Field Transport, Glenorchy/Paradise or Wine and Milford Sound Day Tours.

[edit] Do

  • Touring - the scenery surrounding Queenstown makes for excellent touring, with lakes, mountians and bush around vineyards and farmland
  • skiing & snowboarding - 4 world class ski fields
  • bungy-jumping - the first commercial bungy jump was established on the Kawarau bridge just outside Queenstown
  • jet boats - exciting jetboat rides have been operating near Queenstown for 50 years. The Shotover Jet is billed as "The World's Most Exciting Jetboat Ride". The jet boats carry passengers at high speeds over shallow waters performing stunts like 360 degree pirouettes in the water.
  • parasailing
  • mountaineering
  • parapenting - launching yourself off a hill with a parachute to ride the "thermals"
  • white water rafting
  • scenic flights - the helicopter and light aircraft flights to Milford Sound and Fiordland are rated amongst the best in the world
  • flyfishing
  • hiking
  • wine tasting and guided wine tours. Nearby Central Otago is home to the southernmost vineyards in the world and some of New Zealand's premium cool-climate wines.
  • cycling - hire a bike for the day and use your legs
  • relaxing - Queenstown is a sleepy village with reasonable nightlife

[edit] Buy

The town centre contains many tourist and souvenir stores, and bargains can be hard to come by.

Top quality knitwear, Sheepskin and Possum Fur products, Greenstone (Jade) and bone carvings, and fine New Zealand wine is available for a price.

Outdoor suppliers are plentiful, with equipment for trampers (hikers), mountain bikers, skiiers and snowboarders, and many others who use Queenstown as the launching-pad for expeditions into the nearby National Parks.

There are a handful of convenience food stores in the town centre, most open until midnight and beyond. Two large supermakets are on the outskirts of town.

Most of the stores in Queenstown are open until 8pm or 9pm, 7 days a week.

[edit] Eat

There are a huge variety of numerous eating establishments to be found in Queenstown, from all-hours takeaways to fine dining. Reservations for dinner are important at the best places most times of the year, and most nights of the week.

Fine restaurants serve world-class seafood (local mussels, oysters and deep sea fish such as blue cod), game, red meat (farmed venison, lamb and beef).

The wineries of the Gibbston Valley (20 minutes drive) are open for lunch.

  • The Bathhouse Fine Restaurant, Esplanade (03) 442 5625 (fine dining)
  • The Bunker, Cow Lane (03) 441 8030 (fine dining)
  • Wai Waterfront Seafood Restaurant, Steamer Wharf (03) 442 5969 (fine dining)
  • Fergburger Takeaways, Shotover Street (03) 441 1232 (large burgers)
  • Winnie's, 7 The Mall (03) 442 8635 (pizza and drinking)
  • The Cow Pizza & Spaghetti House, Cow Lane (03) 442-8588 (pizza)
  • At Thai, Church Street, (03) 4423683 (Thai cuisine)
  • The World Bar, Shotover Street (03) 4426757 (great steaks)

[edit] Drink

Nightlife in Queentown is largely about socialising, and there are over a hundred licenced premises in Queenstown. Most are in the downtown area, a number open until 4am.

There are cheap bars popular with backpackers and young locals, and sophisticated and expensive wine, cocktail and imported beer bars. Many bars and pubs have sunny outdoor courtyards in the summer months, and roaring open fires in the winter. Major sports events are normally to be found on screen somewhere in Queenstown.

[edit] Sleep

Accommodation ranges from camping and backpackers through to luxury hotels and apartments.

[edit] Search by category

Boutique Hotel
Holiday Parks
Luxury Resorts

[edit] Search by price


[edit] Contact

There are several internet cafes to be found in Queenstown with cheap rates. Some hotels charge plenty for internet, others offer it free.

[edit] Stay Safe

Queenstown is a relatively safe town. However, visitors should still take care to ensure their own personal safety. Many of the other people in town are also visitors.

The most common offense commited against tourists in the Queenstown are car break-ins. Remember to always lock your doors and do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

Although limited in number, the police in the Queenstown area are intolerant of disorderly behaviour and are prepared to arrest for quite minor offences. As with anywhere in New Zealand, they have no tolerance for possession of drugs.

Other emergency services in the area operate on a volunteer basis.

Rental car companies have restrictions in their rental agreements to prevent their vehicles being operated on some high country roads. New Zealand's skifield roads also take many visitors by surprise, but driving to the conditions means no real risk.

[edit] Getting Out and About

Queenstown can be used as a base to see the surrounding country, including Arrowtown, Glenorchy, Kingston, the Kawarau Gorge, Cromwell and Wanaka.

More distant tourist destinations such as Te Anau and Milford Sound are a day trip away, with many tour operators providing bus tours and flights.

[edit] Local Community Newspapers

The Mirror. The first of two free community newspapers to hit the streets (on Wednesday morning), The Mirror is a great source for catching up on all things that are happening in the Queenstown area (including the entire Central Otago and Lakes District region). In addition to the news articles, there is a weekly restaurant review and profile of a band or dj that will be headlining at one of Queenstown's many bars/clubs/discos that week.

The Mountain Scene. Available around town from 5pm on Thursday, the Mountain Scene is known for its sensational tabloid style. It is also a must read for all locals looking to find a new flat or a used car.

[edit] More Information

For more information about Queenstown click here to ask a question and we will try to answer as soon as possible. If you leave your Email address we can also email you with the information.

[edit] References

This article uses material from Wikipedia, "Queenstown, New Zealand" and Wikitravel, "Queenstown (New Zealand)"

Any material derived from Wikitravel articles is released under the Creative Commons Attribution share alike licence

  1. "2006 Census Data, Final counts, Otago Region". Statistics New Zealand. http://www.stats.govt.nz/census/2006-census-data/final-counts/otago-region.htm. 
  2. "Climate Data". NIWA. http://www.niwascience.co.nz/edu/resources/climate/. Retrieved 2007. 

[edit] External links

Glenorchy Air provides scenic flights to Mount Cook, Milford and other destinations from Queenstown

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