Queenstown was originally a gold-mining town, and when the boom of the late 1800s slowed to a halt, the town was all but deserted. Little did the miners know that the exact place that they’d been looking for gold was an absolute gem waiting to be uncovered.
One of New Zealand’s leading visitor destinations, Queenstown is a sophisticated resort town offering year-round activities in an environment of breathtaking beauty. The town sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, overlooked by the towering peaks of the aptly named Remarkables mountain range at 2343m. These saw-toothed ramparts of rock rise sheer from the lake’s eastern shore and are a hypnotic sight throughout the year when the bare, craggy face constantly alters its expression with the changing angle of the sun’s rays. The stunning scenery is popular with film makers, notably Peter Jackson with his adaptation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Queenstown is famous as the ‘Adventure Capital of New Zealand’, so if you are looking for adrenalin-fuelled, hair-raising adventures to knock your socks off – this is the place to head for! Thrillseekers can enjoy a raft of of outdoor activities ranging from bungy jumping, canyoning, heli-skiing, jetboating, white water rafting, parasailing, sky diving and many other activities that I have no idea what they are – and most of which cost a fortune to participate in! There is no shortage of things to jump off, ride on or hold tightly onto, and if the thought of bungy jumping terrifies you – we were told that the oldest person to take the plunge off Kawarau Bridge was 94 years old! What they didn’t say was if they survived!!
For slightly less active adrenalin junkies there are cruises across Lake Wakatipu aboard a historic steamer, a magnificent drive along the lake shore taking in the dramatic scenery, a visit to one of the many wineries on the outskirts of the town or a gondola ride up the precipitous slope to the summit of Bob’s Peak for sublime views over the town and the stunning turquoise waters of the lake.
Queenstown is easy to explore with a compact centre of only a square kilometre and excellent amenities and shopping within easy walking distance. A walkway follows the lake shore for as far as you want to walk and there is a jetty and small beach near the centre of the town for watching the sunset each evening.
We LOVE Queenstown!