- Luxe lakeside lodges
- Lush Queenstown hillside
- Graceful grande dame
- By the waters of Wakatipu
- Alpine elegance
- Shores of Lake Wakatipu
- Urbane five-star suites
- Alpine church-side lane
- Snowcapped alpine lakeside
- City life
- Extreme sports paradise
Set on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a picture-perfect town with a rich menu of restaurants and bars, amid a searingly beautiful mountain range setting.
While other South Island destinations exude a sleepy Kiwi charm, alpine Queenstown operates at turbo speed with more adventure activities on offer than you could shake a snowboard or bungy cord at. Indeed, there are endless opportunities to scare yourself silly as this hub buzzes with an infectious adrenalin-fuelled energy. Welcome to New Zealand’s year-round high-octane holiday hub – and buckle up – it’s going to be quite a ride.
Ever since AJ Hackett (www.bungy.co.nz) introduced to the world that crazy elastic-band-tied-to-ankle sport, back in 1988, the town has been trying to outdo itself with faster, higher and scarier challenges. The 43-metre-high Kawarau Bridge is the site of the world’s first commercial bungy, but you can also try jumping at night from the 47-metre-high Ledge Bungy. If that sounds too tame, try the Nevis, where you leap from a stomach-churning 134-metre-high pod suspended over the river of that name.
- There is a taxi rank on Camp Street; local firms include Alpine Taxis (03 442 6666) and Queenstown Taxis (03 442 7788).
- Tipping culture
- Tipping is optional, but if you’re happy with restaurant service then a 5 to 10 per cent tip is common.
- Siesta and fiesta
- Most shops are open from 9am until late, many until 9pm daily. Restaurants start filling up around 7pm and many bars stay open until the early hours (around 4am).
- Packing tips
- Layer North Face and Patagonia to wrangle Queenstown’s rollercoaster weather and work a sporty look, but bring smarter threads for bar-hopping.
- Recommended reads
- JRR Tolkein’s orc-packed The Lord of the Rings trilogy – director Peter Jackson shot parts of the film in Queenstown. Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life, by Jill Trevelyan, is the first biography of the talented NZ artist, who painted landscapes around Queenstown, Wanaka and Central Otago.
- Fish, seafood, lamb and steak are all perfect post-bungy jump pick-me-ups, and you won’t go wrong with a bottle of much-touted local Central Otago pinot. There are some top restaurants in Queenstown with most countries’ cuisine represented.
- New Zealand dollar (NZ$).
- Time zone
- GMT +12.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for New Zealand: +64; Queenstown: (0)3.
- Do go/don't go
- Winter (June to September) is peak time for ski buffs, with blue skies, white slopes and crisply cool temperatures. The rest of the year, the city and its spectacular natural surrounds warm up for walking, watersports and more extreme thrills and spills.
Don't go home without...
This is the adrenalin capital of the world so try at least one heart-stopping activity whether that’s bungy-jumping, skydiving, hang gliding, jet-boating, caving, canyoning, white-water rafting, climbing, mountain biking or kayaking. Horse treks, walking and fishing are all options if you prefer less of a white-knuckle ride.