Why Queenstown is New Zealand’s most dynamic town
Travel the length of New Zealand and we guarantee you won’t find anywhere else like Queenstown.
By most standards, Queenstown is a small town. Up until last year, there were only two supermarkets (we now have a whopping 3). And just last week, council installed the very first set of traffic lights in the CBD. But before you discard Queenstown as a sleepy backwater, hold the phone. It is anything but dull.
Queenstown is a unique bubble on the New Zealand landscape, easily catering to travellers from every end of the spectrum. And that’s what makes it so dynamic.
FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER
Most weeks, there is a private jet parked on the runway of Queenstown International Airport. And it’s not hard to spend $10,000 a night for a luxury suite overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Over 150 bars and restaurants (we think, we stopped counting a while back) serve up a nightlife scene worthy of any big city. No longer just a ski resort, Queenstown is a bustling holiday resort all year round.
But Queenstown is not just a playground for the rich and famous. It is accessible for all. It doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker or born with a silver spoon in your mouth, there is something here to delight, amaze and impress.
FANCY A MEAL?
You’ve got it. Take your pick from a fine dining restaurant overlooking the lake or grab a burger. But in typical Queenstown fashion, this ain’t your ordinary burger. The iconic Fergburger is the best burger around, a claim proven by the queue stretching out the door anytime of the day or night.
Burgers aside, Queenstown’s dining reputation is formidable. Surrounded by vast, untouched wilderness, it’s no wonder that wild food is often on the menu. Be daring and sample wild venison, rabbit, wild boar or duck. And from the sea, there is paua (abalone), crayfish (lobster) and when it’s whitebait season, you would be mad not to sample this South Island delicacy.
But you don’t have to blow the budget to eat like a king. Grab a blanket, a picnic hamper and head to a tranquil setting for an alfresco dining experience. Close by is Frankton Beach or you may want to set up a picnic further afield along the Kawarau River, Moke Lake or Bob’s Cove. Even if you’re hamper isn’t up to scratch, we guarantee the views will make your day.
BIG BUDGET OR SMALL BUDGET; NO PROBLEM.
However you choose to spend your hard-earned dollars there is something to satisfy. Thrill seekers can get their kick from a whole range of adrenaline activities. Perhaps throwing yourself off the 134m Nevis Bungy floats your boat, or what about the biggest “swing” you’ve ever seen at Shotover Canyon Swing (you may hear the screaming from your apartment room).
But like the city of extremes that it is, Queenstown is not just about the thrills. For a town that has a reputation as the “adventure capital of New Zealand”, there are plenty of ways to relax. Luxury spas provide all the pampering you deserve. There are relaxing hot pools to soak the evening away in, or perhaps a wellness escape like Aro Ha. And if indulgence is your thing, then you’ll want to spend a very long lunch at one of the world-famous Gibbston Valley wineries where locally grown Pinot Noir is always on the menu.
And what about those private jets? We regularly hear rumours of super celebs popping into Queenstown and getting whisked away to a luxury lodge by helicopter. Whether it’s Taylor Swift, Lewis Hamilton or a Saudi prince, Queenstown easily caters to the upper echelon.
But the best thing Queenstown has to offer doesn’t cost a thing. It’s free for everyone, and it always will be. We’re talking about the scenery that surrounds you from wherever you are. This is high definition, surround sound, 100% Mother Nature. And it's yours for free whether you're looking at it from your luxury penthouse apartment or your campervan on the beach. It’s a powerful thing and you will feel your soul healing in the crisp, clean air.
For a dose of Queenstown’s best medicine, take a walk into town around sunset. Find a spot on the wall above the lake and feast your eyes upon the view. As the sun sets over Lake Wakatipu, the shadows and colours play against the silhouettes of the mountains in the distance. It’s a sight you will never forget and will be the highlight of your visit to Queenstown – no matter what your budget.