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1. Posted by makka (Respected Member 248 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

so ive heard everyone that goes to NZ (backpackers) say 'Queenstown' is a must !!

from what ive read - queenstown is the best place to meet like minded travellers - do loads of extreme activities and genreally have a blast!

what i'd like to know:

is it a big city or like a village/town type community?

accomodation: cheap but cheerfull? - recommended to book somewhere before you arrive or simply turn up and choose one of the 'many' hostels?

easy to get to ? - i fly into Auckland so will plan to make my way down

time usually spent here: i plan to be in NZ for 3 weeks - is this a sensible amount of time of should i make it a month?

sorry for my naive ways but i really dont know to much abnout the place

many thanks!

[ Edit: Edited on Nov 4, 2007, at 9:59 AM by makka ]

2. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3917 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Queenstown is beautiful and is a good place for 'adrenalin sports' and extreme activities such as jet boating, paragliding, sky diving and bungy jumping. it is very touristy though, and more expensive than most other places on the south island so for this reason, in spite of its beauty, it wasn't one of my favourite places in NZ. its a town rather than a city, and i didn't want to spend more than a couple of days there due to the cost and the amount of tourists. many of the shops are boutique style so it would be hard to do it on a budget.

it's advisable to book accommodation in advance as i would imagine queenstown is pretty busy most of the year due to the skiing in the winter and the range of year - round activities on offer.

if you have only got 3 weeks in NZ then i would spend all of it on the south island, so you could fly down from Auckland to Christchurch and start your south island tour from there - check out Pacific blue as i think they have just started doing dirt cheap flights from auckland. if you can extend your trip to 4 weeks that would be even better as you could then spend a week or so on the north island and do some quick visits to the bay of islands and cape reinga up north (stunning) rotorua and a couple of days in auckland to start off with. I spent 4 weeks just on the south island and could definitely have done with longer to see everywhere.

for transport try magic bus or stray bus - they offer various passes around the islands and are a good, convenient and social way of getting around. i used both and would recommend them equally, but stray try to get off the beaten track a little more. both companies will book accommodation for you, pick you up from hostels and give you discounts on activities.

3. Posted by makka (Respected Member 248 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

interesting to hear queenstown can be rather exspensive...i was under the impression that doing the activities was the exspensive part - acomodation can be fairly cheap .... i shall google the area and look into various hostels around!

flying from Auckland to the south island was my initial plan, but i thought to myself - travelling through via buses/trains etc, yeah would take longer but would give me a chance to see just how amazing NZ is... obviously im very naive on the matter as ive never visited NZ - is getting a flight the more sensible option?

thanks for your words bex

4. Posted by rozner (Budding Member 36 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I agree with bex on the bus thing. Also for 3 weeks you should probably just do the south island. I used the Stray bus and it was great. I personally didn't find Queenstown to be that expensive. Maybe a bit more than smaller towns. I did a lot of activities which were expensive. I loved Queenstown, but if you only have 3 weeks, maybe do only 2 or 3 days in Queenstown. It is touristy.

One thing I can tell you, depending on your preferences and what you like to do, you may choose to stay at a hostel like discovery lodge, or one on that main street... I spent a night a discovery lodge, it's very loud there, from my room I could hear music from the bar all night. I like to party, but when I want to go sleep, I like to sleep. So this was a problem for me. There are some really nice places only a 5-10 minute walk from the main street. I would personally recommend one of those. But you may want to party all night, in that case discovery may be good for you. The on I stayed at is called Pinewood lodge. You should try to book something in advance.

Stuff to do:

Downhill mountain biking
Fly by wire

Cheap thrills:

Go up the gondola, really nice view, then ride the luge, it's a lot of fun for cheap.

Definitely try a Fergburger...

Well that's just off the top of my head, but there's a lot to do there.

You'll like New Zealand. I planned on spending a month there, but ended up doing 2, and spent less time in Australia.

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3917 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

i was kind of meaning the activities which were more expensive than the rest of NZ, and general cost of living, but accommodation is probably around the same as the rest of NZ. i think all the activities are more expensive in queenstown than most other places in nz.

re transport it depends on time- you will miss some scenery if you fly but the most stunning scenery is on the south island anyway so if you start your loop from christchurch you should be ok. as you only have 3- 4 weeks i would fly and spend as much time as possible on the south island.

6. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I can recommend Pinewood Lodge like rozner as a good backpackers in Queenstown. Its set about 5 mins behind the "hub" of the town, is about $30/night, and the staff endeavour to place you in a room with like-minded travellers - eg. if you were a long-term stayer they'd place you with others staying for a while, and seeing as you'll only be there a couple of nights they'll put you in with other short-termers :)

Queenstown is an expensive destination, all round. Obviously the adventure activites are expensive, but you'll also notice things like groceries cost more in Queenstown than the rest of the country.

Spend a month in NZ if you can - yes its a small country, but everyone finds theres a lot to see and do to keep them occupied for at least that long. If you're a nature person, the South Island will be you're favourite, if you're into culture and cities then also spend some time in the North Island.

7. Posted by tttom (Budding Member 15 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Queenstown rules,

i spent 2 weeks there alone! had some crazy nights out, met some awesome people.

stay at base backpackers... above altitude bar.. o my god it rules, meet people and then your room is just above the bar... perfect i reckon!

did the thrillogy bungee jumps. all three, gotta be done, incredible.

dude simple answer... you need more than 3 weeks!


8. Posted by DocNY (Respected Member 438 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Stayed at a place called Butterfli and really liked it - about a three minute walk to the center. As to price, I think it is a bit more expensive (especially the restaurants) than elsewhere in the country and it is incredibly touristy. I found I liked other places better for the activities (go skydiving over the fox glacier).

9. Posted by pinkgirlie (Full Member 121 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Hi there,

I spent 5 days in Queenstown in May. We didn't have to book, we just showed up and went into the visitor information to see what was left. Our double room was about $50. We stayed in "Southern Laughter". It was fairly nice, there was a laundry, car parking, the kitchen was pretty big and we had a nice room. The bathrooms were clean. It was also in a fantasic location, just a minutes walk from the gondala, where the view from the top is breathtaking, and also where you can do the luge which is great fun and the world renound Queenstown Bungji.

Just down the road there was the extreme activities office where you could book all sorts of activities, including the Canyon Swing and Whitewater rafting. We rafted down the shotover river, and it's well worth the money!

As for how much time you need in New Zealand - it totally depends how many places you want to see. We did both islands in 5 weeks and it was pretty much a perfect time frame. There was an odd place we had to see quite quickly, but we got a really good overview of the country. If you have time I'd recommend seeing the glaciers, and if you have the cash climb one. We did the Franz Josef which is the steepest commercial glacier in the world. It was scary as hell, but well worth it when i look back at the photos!

We drove for the full 5 weeks we were there, spending 2 weeks in the north and 3 in the south. If you can get a month there it would be worth it, but 3 weeks will be ok if you just want to see the main places. Oh, and renting a car there is really cheap, it was $11 per day from Ezy with 2 drivers, both under 25 and full insurance. We worked out that we saved about £500 of the cost of doing the bus passes.

Hope this helps,


10. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

From Queenstown definately take a trip out to Glenorchy and the Dart River - they filmed quite a bit of the LOTR trilogy out there - do some kayaking or horseriding or jet boating and just enjoy the scenery.

Simply a stunning part of the world!