14 Weird Things About QT

Queenstown is our heart and home. We love living, playing and doing business here, and we wanted to share with you a list of a few fun/weird facts about Queenstown, New Zealand, that we have learnt over our time in this beautiful community.

Personally, #10 get’s our vote as the coolest fact about Queenstown!

Our team at Spinnaker Bay Apartments are happy to impart other nuggets of amazing knowledge, so pop into the reception and let us 'wow you' with our amazingness!

Be Prepared for Some Weird Facts...

  • The name Queenstown was chosen in 1863 by a public vote. It is assumed that the miners who chose the name were of Irish origin, as the reigning queen at the time, Victoria, had bestowed the name 'Queenstown' to a small settlement in County Cork named Cobh.
  • Incidentally, Cobh was the last port of call for the Titanic before it sank in the Atlantic
  • Queenstown is the longest lake in NZ at 80 km in length and 291 km²
  • You can drink the water in Lake Wakatipu (although we’d recommend keeping away from the shorelines and populated areas!)

Spinnaker Bay Apartments Accommodation Hotel Stays Weekend 1


  • Queenstown’s Remarkables Range has a rare North-South Orientation, shared only with The Andes-Rocky Mountains chain in the USofA
  • Queenstown’s first, original and Māori name is Tahuna which means Shallow Bay
  • The Wakatipu Basin is a glacial valley that was carved out by glaciers some 15,000 years ago from the North West
  • Frankton was named after Frances, the wife of William Gilbert Rees - the first European settler in the area. Rees started farming at Queenstown in 1860, and Frankton was established three years later in 1863.
  • We have Jack Tewa to thank for the first gold discovery over at the Arrow River, back in 1862. The ghost towns of Skippers Canyon, Mace Town and the Historical Chinese Village in Arrowtown are still a testament to the rise and fall of shanty towns following the Otago gold rush era.
  • A personal thank you to Leonard Aloysius Patrick Malaghan, a co-founder of NZ’s own super delicious ice cream company: Tip Top, who gives us the iconic Kiwiana flavours of Hokey Pokey and more recently, the Jelly Tip flavour bomb!
  • The river used to flow out of Kingston but an enormous earthquake caused a split between Lake Wakatipu and Cromwell, forming the Kawarau Gorge, and forcing a new outlet for the water!

Spinnaker Bay Apartments Accommodation Hotel Stays Weekend 2

  • Arrowtown was, for a short time, called Fox’s, based on William Fox's claim to have been the discoverer of gold in the Arrow River, but was soon renamed Arrowtown
  • Kiwi ingenuity at its best - in 1947 Sir William Hamilton helped design and build the first rope ski tow in New Zealand which enabled Coronet Peak to become NZ’s first commercial ski field. It ran from what is now car park 7, which was affectionately known as the Pie Palace run after the pie-selling cafe which adjourned the lift.
  • And, because great Kiwis are well, just great…. in1954 Sir William Hamilton perfects his water jet propulsion system and commercialises ‘jet boating’.
  • In 1885 all Queenstown hotels were run by women who all happened to be widows.