Queenstown (New Zealand)

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Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia New Zealand South Island Otago Region Queenstown



Queenstown Gondola

Queenstown Gondola

© Laur456

If you are looking for a fun time, Queenstown definitely has something for everybody. Built on the beautiful coast of Lake Wakatipu, this town also has stunning views of the Southern Alps. Its name comes from the myth of a local gold digger looking at the view of town then saying it is fit for Queen Victoria. And what that gold miner supposedly said is still true to this day.

Queenstown is known for being the centre of adventure and outdoor tourism with options like skiing, jet boating, mountain biking and tramping, and is known as the home of the first modern bungy jump. For people that want a more relaxed time, you can spend your time fly-fishing and hiking to enjoy in the area. After a hard day in the outdoors, go explore Queenstown's absolutely wonderful night life with a few good beers.



Sights and Activities


  • Cardrona Alpine Resort is a good ski resort with vertical from 1,670 metres to 1,894 metres and has nice facilities for children. This ski resort is located only an hour from Queenstown.
  • Coronet Peak is only 18 kilometres from Queenstown and has some amazing views. This area also has excellent snow making equipment, which makes for a longer season then the other areas around Queenstown. There is a combo multi day tickets with The Remarkables available.
  • The Remarkables are located on the southeastern shore of Lake Wakatipu and rise sharply into the air. They are only 45 minutes from Queenstown and have a frequent bus service to and from town. There is also a combo multi day tickets with Coronet Peak available.
  • Treble Cone is a great ski area that is the off season training area for the national ski teams of Austria and Norway. With a new gondola opening in 2008 more area will open to skiers. There is also great back country skiing to be found at the Treble Cone.

Adventure Tourism

  • Jet Boating can be an intense activity and companies like Shotover Jet and Kawarau Jet provide it.
  • Bungy Jumping - Jump off the Kawarau Bridge, where the modern bungee started, with A.J. Hackett. Contact A.J. Hackett at phone: 0800 286 495, address: Queenstown Bungy Centre Cnr Camp & Shotover St.
  • River Surfing - Experience the water in this great activity with an outfitter like Serious Fun.
  • Canyon Swing - Done the bungy and the sky dive and wishing to try something new? Give the Canyon Swing a try for wild time.
  • Sky Diving - Go skydiving with companies like nzone or skydive paradise.
  • Mountain Biking - Do some fun mountain biking for all levels with Fat Tyre or Vertigo Bikes outfitters.
  • Para Gliding is an excellent activity while in town and can be enjoyed with Queenstown Tandem Paraglide company.
  • White Water Rafting - Have a wet and wild time on the rivers around Queenstown and for more information click here.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Milford Sound is one of the most amazing natural sights in the whole world and is a wonderful boat ride. Milford Sound is a possible day trip from Queenstown.
  • Doubtful Sound is another amazing sound just south of Milford Sound.
  • Lake Wakatipu is a beautiful lake that Queenstown is located next to.
  • Golf: There is a good golf course at the Millbrook Resort.
  • Skippers Canyon is just as beautiful as Milford and Doubtful Sound, but not so big. It is in Queenstown's backcountry. Several operators can take you there including Skippers Canyon Jet and QT Heritage Tours.
  • Ben Lomond Journeys - Discover the high country on Ben Lomond Station and enjoy local hospitality. Guest can walk, mountain bike, 4wd or heli into either of the two remote back country lodges or stay at one of our self-catering private huts. There is a two day guided walk that traverses through the station following old gold mining water races starting in Skippers Canyon Address: Moke Lake Road, Queenstown, Phone: 0211165989



Events and Festivals

  • The Queenstown Winter Festival is organized every year in Winter (June/July). Queenstown turns into 'Party Town' during this time. Your best bet is to organize your winter holidays fairly early and enjoy 1 week of entertainment.
  • Visit the Arrowtown Autumn Festival that is held yearly around April/May.




Spring in Queenstown is beautiful. Come and see the mountain resort during September to November. The mountains will still be covered in snow. The temperature is slowly climbing to double digits and the trees start to blossom. The chance of rain is fairly high. If travelling during spring you should still have some warm clothing with you.

Summer starts around December and lasts until February/March. It is never really hot in Queenstown as the wind that comes from Lake Wakatipu almost always has a little chill in it. Summer can be very dry. Make sure you have your sunprotection (hat, sun glasses and sun creme) with you as the wind is deceiving but the sun is very concentrated and can easily get you sunburned.

Autumn is probably the best time to visit Queenstown. The autumn colours are just spectacular. Even there is a little chill in the air during autumn, sitting outside and enjoying a decent glass of wine in the sun is very relaxing.

Winter turns Queenstown in the true mountain resort that it is. From June to August, there are several ski fields open, entertaining lots of visitors. Make sure that you have several layers of clothing with you as it can get pretty cold down here.

Avg Max22.6 °C22.7 °C19.9 °C16.1 °C11.9 °C8.6 °C8.2 °C10.3 °C13.5 °C16.2 °C18.6 °C20.7 °C
Avg Min10.7 °C10.6 °C8.8 °C6.2 °C3.3 °C0.7 °C0.1 °C1.3 °C3.6 °C5.6 °C7.4 °C9.4 °C
Rainfall77.9 mm58.3 mm79.9 mm74.8 mm89.5 mm81.8 mm64.8 mm72.8 mm68.6 mm95.3 mm72.2 mm76.9 mm
Rain Days7.



Getting There

By Plane

Queenstown Airport (ZQN) is technically located in Frankton and serves the Queenstown area. This airport handles more then 700,000 passengers a year and has limited international service to towns like Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. Only flights to Sydney are year round. There is daily service to Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington and Rotorua year round. It is possible to take helicopter and charter flights to Milford Sound.

By Car

Queenstown is 6 hours non-stop from Christchurch via the Mackenzie Country and the Lindis Pass, so allow a full day 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. The Lindis Pass does occasionally closes in winter due to snow; a slightly less scenic detour via Oamaru and Alexandra will add 2–4 hours to your journey.

By Bus

There are several coach companies that offer transportation to Queenstow. Operators like NakedBus (cheap fare) or Atomic Shuttle are only 2 of them. The best thing to do is go and visit a local i-Site Visitor Centre. They are located in every bigger town and can help you organize a ticket. There are several pick up points in Queenstown for those shuttle buses.



Getting Around

By Car

Some of the options to rent cars include the following companies:

By Public Transport

It is true that Queenstown is fairly small. You can though use the public transport to get around. ConnectABus takes you places, in particular if your accommodation is up the hill and you are not so keen on walking 15 minutes or so up the hill. They offer one way or return tickets. Full day tickets are available, too. Take this bus to get to Arrowtown and back.

By Foot

The town is small enough to enjoy by foot. The wonderful strolls is a nice break from the time spent on buses, trains, cars or planes. Many of the adventure tourism activities provide transportation from their downtown offices.




You will find plenty of restaurants and fastfood places in Queenstown. The range covers all sorts of types, like Chinese, true Kiwi or Fish & Chips. The best advice is to go downtown to the mall.

  • http://www.britannia-restaurant.co.nz/The HMS Britannia restaurant (< ERROR: the link title is too long!) is localed in the middle of the Mall. A true Kiwi restaurant. Very charmingly organized like the HMS Britannia.
  • Fergburger is a fastfood place, located at Shotover Street. The burgers are big and filling.
  • Gantley's Historic Restaurant is the place you should go for a fancy night out. Up market, but worth every cent. They offer a shuttle service as they are located at Arthur's Point.




Nightlife in Queenstown is largely about drinking and there are over a hundred licensed premises, with most in the downtown area. It's hard to walk down one of the central streets without tripping over a bar or three. Most bars stay open till around 04:00 and it is lively most nights.

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.




You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Keep Connected


Internet cafés are widely available throughout New Zealand at rates of around NZ$2-4, though sometimes more in smaller places. Besides internet and e-mail services, most big internet cafés also offer some way for travellers to connect their digital camera and burn cds. Many public libraries have public Internet access, and most of them offer short free internet sessions. Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.


See also International Telephone Calls

Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.

Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.

Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.

  • Telecom operates a UMTS (3G) network, named XT Network, nationwide on 850MHz with supplementary 2100MHz in metropolitan areas. (the same frequencies as Telstra in Australia and AT&T in the U.S.)
  • Vodafone operates a GSM network on 900MHz/2100 MHz and a UTMS (3G) network operates nationwide 900MHz with supplementary 2100MHz coverage.
  • 2degrees operates a UMTS (3G) network (2100MHz) in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch, with supplementary GSM coverage provided elsewhere by Vodafone.

A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.


Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -45.031104
  • Longitude: 168.662731

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