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Queenstown Region Tourism And Travel Guide
12° C / 53.5° F
December to February
3 to 7 Days
Queenstown Airport (10 kms)
Built around the shores of Lake Wakatipu of South-West New Zealand is the picturesque Queenstown, one of the most popular destinations among tourists. The town is sandwiched between mountain ranges and the lake opening it up for a variety of activities. Tourism in Queenstown thrives throughout the year because of its year-round activities. Below is a travel guide to Queenstown with all the necessary information to help plan an unforgettable trip.
How To Reach
Queenstown is one of the busiest places in the south island. The town has people coming in throughout the year making it a top priority destination in the country. Owing to its popularity the town is one of the most easily accessible places in New Zealand and getting to Queenstown is rather simple.
Queenstown has the only other International Airport in the south island and is New Zealand’s fourth busiest airport. Queenstown is connected to almost all major cities in the world and handles over a million passengers each year. There are flights to Queenstown from most major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, etc. Prices depend on the kind of service, time of booking and departure. A visa is required for Indian citizens to enter New Zealand. On reaching the town there are plenty of options to get to the city. One can use the bus services, hire a taxi or rent a vehicle from the terminal complex.
There are no ships going to Queenstown from India. Given that the town is located inland, there are no ferry services from elsewhere in New Zealand either.
Upon arriving in any other part of New Zealand, visitors can reach Queenstown by road. The town is connected to all major cities and towns in the south island and one can always cross over to the south island with a short ferry ride from Wellington. There are bus services from major cities to Queenstown operating on a daily basis. The buses depart on specific times from specific cities and it is important to note the timings. One can also rent a vehicle to make the journey more flexible.
There are bus services in the city for visitors to get around, one can also hire a taxi or rent a vehicle.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The town enjoys four distinct seasons, summer, autumn, winter and spring. There is no single best time to visit Queenstown. Each of the four seasons has its own splendour. While most of the rides and other activities are functional year-round, winter sports and games are restricted to winter. Depending on what one wants to do in Queenstown, one can choose a time of the year to visit.
Summer: December to February
Summer is the busiest time of the year in Queenstown. In summers the town enjoys long hours of sunlight and the temperatures hover around 24°C to 26°C. This is the warmest time of the year making it a really good time to explore the outdoors of Queenstown. It is also a good time to take a dip in the magnificent Lake Wakatipu or take a cruise on the Lake. Activities like hiking and trekking are in full swing during the summers in Queenstown.
Autumn: March to May
The arrival of autumn in Queenstown is one of the most distinct seasonal changes. The town begins to transform into a radiant red and orange. While temperatures are still pleasant, ranging from 20°C to 24°C, autumn is also a good time for outdoor activities like biking, walking and hiking. The fascinating colours outside makes them even more special. The town sees a number of festivals in autumn and it is also a good time for some wine tasting in the Gibbston Valley.
Winter: June to August
Winter is the coldest time of the year in Queenstown. The temperatures drop to about 8°C during the days making it cold and chilly. Winter is also a busy time for the town as a number of people from around the world flock to the town to witness the magical snowfall and enjoy the exploits of the snow. Queenstown is very popular for winter games like skiing, snowboarding and skating.
Spring: September to November
Spring is the best time to catch the snow peaks without having to endure the cold weather. The temperatures climb back up to around 20°C, making the town nice and warm. Spring in Queenstown is a time for blossoms and one can witness the multi-coloured transformation of the town. Spring is hailed as the quietest time of the year and if you don’t like the hustle-bustle then spring is the time for you. This is also a good time for sightseeing. Given the fewer number of people visiting, spring is the best time for a budget holiday.
Things To Do
With a landscape as exciting and enchanting as Queenstown’s, there are a wide variety of activities awaiting travellers.
Biking and cycling in Queenstown is the best way to explore the remote parts of the countryside. The town offers a number of different trails for people across different levels of difficulty and expertise. There are guided tours for those who like some company. There are short and gentle trails and there are long trails spread over many days even.
One can also hire a bike and explore the region independently. The Otago region, the Queenstown Trail and the trail going all the way to Gibbston Valley are great.
Queenstown is known world-over for the many adventures on offer. From the Kawarau Bridge Bungy jumping, to water-touch jumps, zip-rider for family and couples to Catapult in the Nevis Valley, there is so much adrenaline rush awaiting you. There is also the Skyline complex, with a ledge bungy that is a 47m drop. There is also a ledge swing at the complex that is as adventurous as the one in Nevis Valley along with a Gondola ride experience.
Skiing and Snowboarding:
Queenstown has one of the longest ski seasons in the world bringing ski enthusiasts from across the world. The town has four ski fields, all located within driving range from the town. Each ski field is well equipped and offers a wide range of terrain for amateurs and experts alike. There are ski passes that range from a single day pass to a season pass. The ski fields also provide equipment for rent. While driving to the fields makes travelling flexible, one can always take the shuttle to the fields.
Queenstown Underwater Observatory:
The Queenstown Underwater Observatory is one of the major attractions for families. The observatory displays the magnificent underwater world of Lake Wakatipu. The numerous trout fill the viewing area along with the Scaup Ducks diving to get the fish food. The observatory houses two varieties of trout, the European and the North American import. The observatory also displays the New Zealand Long Finned Eel. Gliding past the other fishes, this eel is a treat to watch. This place is a big hit with the kids and families.
Wineries and Wine Tasting:
Queenstown’s Gibbston Valley is known for its wine and is commonly referred to as the ‘Valley of the Vines’. The town is surrounded by numerous wineries and cellars that make some of the best wine in the world. There are wine tasting tours that begin in the town. The tours take visitors to wineries in the main town, Arrowtown and Gibbston Valley, where they can taste more than 80 varieties of wine. One can also take a bike ride to the valley and explore the wine and cheese produced there.
Cruising and Jet Boarding:
Lake Wakatipu is one of the major highlights of the town. The unique Z-shape of the Lake gives rise to wave-like motions in the water, making it one of a kind. There are plenty of cruises on the Lake that one can take to relax and enjoy the wonderful view. Some cruises also stop at certain points allowing passengers to take a quick dip in the lake. Jet Boarding can be a fun way to explore the waters around Queenstown too.
The town is very popular for its wine and cheese as it is, for the various eateries and restaurants that serve some of the most amazing food in the world. The pinot noir in the town is one of the best wines you will ever taste. The Gibbston Valley is a one-stop wine and cheese paradise and a visit to the valley will tell you why. Queenstown is also home to some amazing eateries, pubs and restaurants. One can find a number of different cuisines from around the world here. Indian, Japanese, Continental are some of the few. The downtown precinct, along the shores of the Lake Wakatipu, is a popular spot for grabbing a bite.
Like elsewhere in the country, Queenstown has numerous local markets that are known for its local produce and handicrafts and other goods made locally. The Saturday Creative Queenstown Art & Craft Market and the Remarkables Market are perfect examples. While the Saturday Creative Market is held year-round on Saturday mornings, the Remarkables Market is held only in the summers. These are the best places to shop for souvenirs.
There are plenty of other markets in the town where global brands co-exist with local boutiques. The downtown shopping precinct situated on the lakeshore is one of the popular ones. One the whole, shopping in Queenstown is a one of a kind experience.