Exploring Magical Queenstown, New Zealand
If you seek a full immersion in the natural beauty that our planet has to offer, Queenstown, New Zealand offers tourists and locals a chance to experience it. Here are some of Wanderous Affair's top activities for the city.
Finding magic in Queenstown is like taking a literal walk in the park — of which the town has many! After all, New Zealand is real-life Middle Earth, where the reality around you can seem genuinely magical — and the South Island’s Queenstown is representative of everything that’s great about the country. It’s a place for heart-stopping beauty, countryside adventure, and delightful urban attractions. So, if excitement and a new world are what you seek (à la Bilbo Baggins, of course) Queenstown will not disappoint.
Here are a few tips on how one can specifically explore the city and its surrounding area:
Go on a Wine Tour
The greater Central Otago region around Queenstown boasts some of the best vineyards and wineries in the world. You can go on a wine tour, or even learn how a given wine is made, all while enjoying impressive valleys; mountains; and lakes in your surroundings. Altogether, exploring this sort of place can be a wonderful way to relax within the country's natural beauty.
Sample the World-Famous Fergburger
Fergburger is a restaurant so famous among Kiwis and tourists alike, that the line can reach the next block. Though opportunities for expansion have arisen, the owner of Fergburger is determined to maintain the Queenstown branch as its one and only location; this means you won’t get these legendary gourmet burgers anywhere else but here. Fergburger serves burgers with patties made from lamb, cod, chicken, venison, and even falafel for plant-based eaters like myself!
Have a Winter Wonderland at The Remarkables
Given that Queenstown has a reputation for being a skier's paradise, visiting during the winter months can be ideal. Though not exactly within the town limits, 'The Remarkables' is a renowned mountain range that is only a thirty-minute drive away. From June through August (wintertime in Oceania), it turns into a ski destination enjoyed by veterans and beginners alike. It's an excellent place to get out and enjoy some adventure and recreation, though it's also as striking a sight as you'll find in New Zealand (which is certainly saying something). In fact, the view all the way from town can be breathtaking.
Paint the Town Red
Many of Queenstown’s visitors are young people looking to get to know fellow travellers. If they’re not meeting on hiking trails, they’re meeting in bars with live music. Some of the famous ones include The World Bar, Loco Cantina, and The Pig and Whistle Pub. Another spot where some look for indoor fun is SkyCity, an entertainment complex and casino in central Queenstown. New Zealand does offer free pokies online — its version of digital slot machines — but while these online pokies are popular with locals, the real, live casinos can have more appeal to tourists looking to socialize and soak up some culture. SkyCity also has an in-house bar and restaurant with live entertainment.
Take a Hike or Two
What’s a New Zealand itinerary without a hike or two? The closest trails to Queenstown are the paths to Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill, with the latter being the easier of the two. Walking to the summit of Ben Lomond is much more challenging, and can take you the better part of a day. However, you can opt to stop part of the way up, for a four-hour return trip, and still have time to take stunning photographs of Lake Wakatipu and the aforementioned stunning peaks of The Remarkables.
Dig for Gold in Arrowtown
Arrowtown is another day trip from Queenstown that’s worth considering. It was a living settlement for gold miners in the 1800s that has been turned into a historic site for visitors. You can still see the original shelters built by Chinese miners by the river. You can also rent a gold pan and rummage for residual gold flakes in the river, just as settlers and miners might have done back in the 19th century. It's fun for anyone, but can be a particularly enjoyable option if you're travelling with family.
Go Bungee Jumping
Did you know that Queenstown is the site of the first commercial bungee jumping? Kiwi adventurer AJ Hackett brought the activity to the country and it still attracts thousands of thrill-seeking travellers to this day. If you're up to it (and there's certainly no shame in shying away from this sort of daredevil activity), take the leap from the Kawarau Bridge and experience the thrill of this famous Queenstown activity for yourself.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your time in New Zealand's beautiful city of Queenstown, there is certainly something for everyone to take part in and enjoy.
Have you been to this stunning city? What's your favourite thing to do while visiting? Let us know in the comments!