settlement in Otago, New Zealand
town in New Zealand
town in Central Otago District, Otago Region, New Zealand
settlement in New Zealand
fiord in the south west of New Zealand's South Island
city and local authority in New Zealand's Southland region
What was once a small, remote, South Island town has transitioned since the 1980s, first to a busy ski destination, and now to a year round tourist mecca and centre for adventure tourism. It is a world famous destination attracting around 1.9 million visitors every year, undoubtedly the tourism capital of the South Island if not New Zealand, and a must-see stop for most visitors to New Zealand.
Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand's third-largest lake (291 km2 or 112 sq mi) and one of Otago and New Zealand's most scenic lakes, surrounded by mountains, it's not hard to see why its stunning scenery draws people here year round. Queenstown happily caters for all visitors with a full range of attractions, activities, accommodation and eating options for any budget, from backpackers to five star luxury. This popularity is not without its problems though - in many respects Queenstown can be a tourist trap. However, reasonable prices and a few bargains can be found for those prepared to look for them.
Queenstown is a bustling town throughout the year, peaking over summer and during the ski-season. There is a vibrant night life with the town's small central area packed with bars and restaurants. If you plan on getting a good nights sleep, then you might consider staying slightly out of town. It's common to see people on the streets up to 05:00 returning from disco or pub. If you're looking for a relaxing scenic holiday, Wanaka (just over an hours' drive away) is smaller and more tranquil with less of a manic teenage party atmosphere.
The Mirror. The first of two free community newspapers to hit the streets (on Wednesday morning), The Mirror is a great source for catching up on all things that are happening in the entire Queenstown-Lakes area. In addition to the news articles, there is a weekly restaurant review and profile of a band or DJ that will be headlining at one of Queenstown's many nightspots that week.
Lakes Weekly Bulletin is an additional source of second hand items for sale, community noticeboard, employment vacancies, film/gig guide, flatmates and rentals.
The drive to Glenorchy, 50 minutes to the northwest and alongside Lake Wakatipu for much of the journey, is rated as one of the top scenic drives in the world.
The Gibbston Valley wine area is 20 min drive, just before the ancient Kawarau Gorge.
Fox Glacier, the bigger and less crowded west coast glacier, is 4.5 hours drive north.