It’s one of the most beautiful regions and offers year round attractions. The town sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. The most remarkable sight is the Remarkables, which is a saw-toothed range of mountains on the opposite side of the lake from the town.
Queenstown lies at the only outlet to Lake Wakatipu (a bridge goes over the Kawarau River at Frankton), one of Otago and New Zealand’s most scenic lakes. It caters for tourists on a wide range of budgets, from backpackers to luxury tourists. In many respects Queenstown can be a tourist trap. However, reasonable prices and bargains can be found for those prepared to look for them.
Queenstown is a party town during high seasons. If you plan on getting a good night’s sleep, then you might consider staying slightly out of town. It is common to see people on the street until 05:00, coming back from the disco or pub. If you are looking for a relaxing scenic holiday, Wanaka (an hour’s drive away) is smaller and more tranquil (with less of a party atmosphere).
First time visitors to Queenstown frequently struggle with the where to stay question. Queenstown has several neighbourhoods, each with their own advantages in terms of access & attractions
Visitors attracted by Queenstown’s nightlife may prefer a CBD location with easy access to Queenstown’s more than 50 bars
Queenstown is widely regarded as an activity-based town. Those less interested in the bright lights will prefer one of the neighbourhoods surrounding the CBD. These neighbourhoods promise the best of both worlds – easy access to the town centre from a more peaceful base.
The Glenorchy Road area offers luxury lodges, bed & breakfasts and vacation rentals with lake views and a sense of wilderness.
The Kingston Road area has luxury lodges with mountain views and vacation rentals with lake views.
The Gibbston Valley has a range of accommodations set amongst vineyards.
Those attracted by history & culture tend to gravitate to Queenstown’s historic precinct – Arrowtown.
Globally, the historic precincts of cities have that ‘x’ factor. Why? Well, while cities heave and grow to the horizon becoming homogeneous in the process, the historic precincts become more distinctive and desirable for their character, charm….oh & peace!
Most travellers are ‘romantics at heart’ & love to rekindle memories of simpler times. Authentic, relaxing and peaceful describe the ambiance of Arrowtown.
Arrowtown has an excellent range of luxury accommodation. Less than 5-minutes walk leads to more than 20 restaurants, cafes, bars & brew-pubs.
Just a few of the other attractions of the historic precinct are:
- The Queenstown Trail – A looping 100km + (60 mi) cycling and hiking trail around alpine lakes & riverside to vineyard restaurants.
- 3 golf courses, 2 luxury spas, 7-minute drive to entrance to Coronet Peak Ski Resort, 7-minute drive to Japanese baths, 7-minute drive to Shotover Jet, 7-minute drive to whitewater rafting, 10 minute drive to Gibbston Valley vineyards, 10 minute drive horse riding.
Queenstown is a relatively safe town. However, visitors should still take care to ensure their own personal safety. Many of the other people in town are also visitors.
The most common offence committed against tourists in the Queenstown are car break-ins. Remember to always lock your doors and do not leave valuables in your vehicle or unattended.
Although limited in number, the police in the Queenstown area are intolerant of disorderly behaviour and are prepared to arrest for quite minor offences. As with anywhere in New Zealand, they have no tolerance for possession of drugs.
Other emergency services in the area operate on a volunteer basis.
Rental car companies have restrictions in their rental agreements to prevent their vehicles being operated on some high country roads. New Zealand’s ski-field roads also take many visitors by surprise, but driving to suit the conditions will considerably reduce any risk.