An increasingly popular destination amongst tourists, Queenstown is a city located in New Zealand's South Island and an absolute must for all adventure lovers. During winter, Queenstown becomes a skiers paradise, whilst summers brings adrenaline seekers to paraglide, mountain bike and of course bungee jumping.
After being on the road for almost two weeks around New Zealand, we planned for a few days rest in Queenstown. We were most excited to chill and admire The Remarkables, eat lots of seafood, go up Ben Lomond and partake in a traditional Maori dance.
What To Do in Queenstown
There are plenty of activities awaiting in Queenstown, from mountain biking to chilling by the lake shores and exploring Queenstown's shopping streets. I would particularly recommend reserving tickets in advance for the Skyline Queenstown. This way you can have tickets to the gondola included, an all you can eat dinner and an epic show of authentic Maori war dance.
The gondola is great fun and it offers some absolute beautiful views over The Remarkables and Queenstown's rooftops. The further up you get, the more amazing the views, of course. I recommend taking the gondola about half an hour before your dinner reservation, so you can walk around, take some amazing pictures of Queenstown and really soak up the atmosphere. The skyline has some seats by the window, but they are usually allocated on the first come first served. I believe nowadays you can pay a little extra and reserve your preferred seat in advance.
More info on their official website.
The all you can eat buffet has a variety of food types from all around the world. I personally took advantage of their amazing prawns and indulged myself in lots of deserts. Once you finish with your dinner, you can make your way to the theatre and wait to be seated for your Maori show. During the dance, I learned a lot about Maori customs and even been invited on the stage to learn some awesome authentic moves.
Another great think about Queenstown is the variety of shops dotted all around the city. Here, you can find beautifully sculpted wooden statues, Tiki Tekoteko, Pāua shell jewellery and green jade souvenirs.
I very much enjoyed an evening stroll by the Lake Wakatipu, which offers fantastic views over the surrounded hills and has a very peaceful atmosphere.
Where To Eat in Queenstown
I already mentioned how much I really liked the seafood served at the Skyline, but if you can't reserve tickets for this experience, there are plenty of other restaurants which serve amazing food in Queenstown. Actually, looking back, I think it's fair to say that Queenstown had the best restaurants around New Zealand South Island. Fergberger has been recommended to us by a local, and after waiting for over 20 minutes in a long queue, the quality and taste of the food exceed our expectations. Right next to Fergburger, you have Fergbaker, a great place for fresh and delicious bakery items, coffee and breakfast. For a quality evening dinner, I recommend trying Fishbone Bar & Grill. We very much enjoyed the seafood and the super tasty local wines.
Where to Stay in Queenstown
There are plenty of quality hotels and hostels scattered all around Queenstown. We stayed in 33 Lomond Lodge, a place with Remarkables views (literally). This 4* hotel was clean, awesome and featured a super comfy bed. Make sure to have cash on you for the rooms, otherwise you will end up paying an extra fee for using the card machine. We also heard Eichardt's Private Hotel is worth a try, however, being a 5 star hotel you should expect high prices.
What to Try in Queenstown
If you made it to Queenstown then you absolutely must try some extreme sports. I really wished to have had the opportunity to ski on the Remarkables, but I visited New Zealand in March, when the weather was still very mild. Don't worry, there are plenty of things to do in Queenstown during the warm months. Try bungee jumping and feel totally free, venture on a jet boat and get splashing or go canyon swinging. If adrenaline is not your thing, tune down and experience the thrilling multi-track luge attraction from the Skyline. Alternatively, you can just get your shopping groove on around Queenstown's streets full of independent boutiques and well known brands.
There are plenty of side trips to be taken from Queenstown, including beautiful Wanaka, Te Anau and the famed Milford Sounds. Queenstown is also your gateway to Twizel and the Aoraki Village.
I loved Queenstown very much and if you decide to visit New Zealand's South Island, then you should spend at least a couple of days in Queenstown. A colourful city and an adventurer's paradise, Queenstown proved to be amazing. The only downside is that we spent far too little time here, as after three days, I realised this city still has so much more to offer.
Why would you like to visit Queenstown? Would you keep it chilled or would you go straight for the extreme sports?