10 Informative and Interesting Things about Queenstown, NZ!
Queenstown, a picturesque place located in the South Island of New Zealand. Known as the “Adventure Capital of the World”, there’s a line of fun, exciting and adrenalin pumping activities you can do all year round. As I now live in Christchurch, going there isn’t much of a hassle. From Christchurch, you can either fly or drive to Queenstown.
If you don’t have the luxury of time, best thing is to fly. The closest International airport is Christchurch (South Island) There are often sales not only if you’re flying from Christchurch but also from Wellington and Auckland Airports. If you are on a slow pace and got more than just a weekend, then driving is the thing to do! It’s around 6 to 8 hours drive from Christchurch , depending on what route you’ll take and how many stops you’ll make. I myself can’t help but stop at places like Lake Tekapo or Moeraki Boulders (located on different routes) to take photos and enjoy the beautiful landscape on the way to Queenstown.
If you’re planning to go to funky-town Qtown, here are some things that might help you plan your trip:
1. Queenstown is starting to become a favorite when it comes to film locations. I reckon you already know about the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Other recent films include, X-Men Origins:Wolverine, The Chronicles of Narnia Films, The Water Horse and 30 Days of Night. Even bollywood was attracted to film in Queenstown and was featured prominently in the film I Hate Luv Stories. You can visit the film locations via tours.
2. As mentioned earlier, the closest international airport is Christchurch International Airport. If you’re flying from Christchurch, it’s good to book flights in advance. You can get flights for as cheap as $29 NZD ( approx. $24 USD) when some airlines go on sale. If you’re really lucky and you spot a grab-a-seat, you can get a flight for $1!! In my opinon, it’s too short a flight from Christchurch to Queenstown to spend more than $50 NZD. Last minute airfare can cost you more than $100 NZD, one way, which you can spend for petrol and see more of the NZ’s beauty.
3.There’s a lot of exciting, adrenalin-pumping activities to do in Queenstown most of which is available all year round. The only thing that isn’t open all through out the year is the ski field! If you want simple fun and excitement to exhilarating activities, you won’t run out of options in Queenstown. You name it – luge, bungy jump, water realted activities (kayak,canyon shotover, rafting), sky-diving, different cruises, hiking, helicopter rides and a lot more! One thing to really prepare for is the PRICE. There’s a lot of things to do and you also need a lot of cash to spend! Haha!
4. Queenstown equates marketing. It is a very touristy place. With all the fun activities you can do is the offer of having your photos and videos taken, another note: for a hefty price! Even going up the hills (via gondola), your picture will be taken and be given the chance to buy it. One thing though, you never get hassled to buy it. If you say no, that’s it. The person will tell you, “Ok, no worries” with a smile! Tip: If you’re keen for some exercise, you can either walk or bike up the hills to see the view of the whole town. There’s a pathway near the gondola office.
5. Bring a jacket no matter what season you go. It’s New Zealand after-all, where there’s a possibility of experiencing 4 sesons in a day! (It snowed in early January (2013) and it’s supposed to be Summer!) The best will be a waterproof jacket as you’ll be warm when it’s cold and dry when it’s raining!
6. There’s a burger place dubbed as “The Best Burger in New Zealand” and it’s famous for it’s Prime NZ Beef. If you really want to judge if it’s worth the title, be ready to wait for a while. Due to it’s popularity, you might have to wait for at most 2 hours to get your burger if you don’t go there early. I wanted to try it during my NYE Trip there, but when I ordered, I was told that they’d give me my burger in around 1 hour and 45 minutes as they are so busy!
7. There’s a couple of icer bars in Queenstown (another marketing strategy). Entrance to get in is $25 NZD, to get a mocktail, it’s additional $5 and a cocktail it’s $10!
8. Queenstown is a party place. It’s the best place to spend New Year’s Eve in NZ. It’s where the young adults wish and choose to go to party even on regular weekend trips.
9. Accomodation prices vary and you have a lot of options. You can camp, stay in a caravan hostel, motel or hotel, b&b or couch surf. Prices vary, but in general, it’s quite pricey. It’s always good to book in advance.
10. If you’re into wine, it’s worth going wine-tasting. Central Otago wines are quite popular.
** A visit to NZ isn’t really complete without going to Queenstown – no matter how expensive it can be. Prepare to shed around $1000 NZD ($830 USD) even for just a few days – this includes accomodation, food and activities (most pricey).It’s all dependent on the activities you want to do. It’s a very touristy place. If you’re used to backpaking in SEAsia, it’ll be quite a shock to spend that amount of money for a few days when you can spend it for more than 2 weeks in Thailand or Cambodia.
I hope my list can be a wee source of info and be of help on your trip-planning. HAPPY TRAVELS!!!