Dates: 10th- 17th February (Week 4)
We made it to Queenstown and let me tell you, it’s beautiful and you realise as soon as you drive into the town why everyone raves about it so much! The town itself is not so big and resembles a ski resort— which isn’t surprising considering you’re able to ski here in the winter. There are many small individual shops, restaurants and bars all within a short walk to the picturesque lake that’s surrounded by huge mountains. The Remarkables, a mountain range, is the perfect backdrop to Queenstown and really takes your breath away, it doesn’t look real and you feel like you’re on a movie set. They aren’t only called The Remarkables due to their stunning formation but because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world to run directly north to south. There are also stunning hotels and houses plus parkland that make up Queenstown, take my word for it, it’s an idyllic town and I absolutely loved spending a week here!
Kiwi bar crawl
The first night we arrived into Queenstown we joined the Kiwi Experience bar crawl. We paid to be taken from bar to bar and had a few, very fruity, shots included in the cost. However due to a power cut in one of the main streets of Queenstown, which also happened to be at our hostel, we had to skip most of the bars which was quite disappointing! It’s something that most people do when they arrive into Queenstown so I’m pleased we did it but it wasn’t the most exciting bar crawl to have attended. It did mean that we were able to sample a decent amount of the bars in Queenstown though.
Forever going on a wander…
On our first day in Queenstown we decided to get to know the town a little better to see what there was on offer. There’s a great walk around Lake Wakatipu, we only did part of this as the lake is pretty big but it’s a nice flat walk and we got some great pictures. We love wandering around places when we visit as you get a really good feel for it and you can see things that you may not necessarily see otherwise. There are some great spots and little streets in Queenstown with small boutique shops, bars and restaurants. They all have such great views too of the lake and the mountains. There’s a nice small beach on Lake Wakitapu where we spent many days relaxing with friends observing the boats sailing by, having a few drinks and generally watching the world go by. The water was pretty cold though and we weren’t brave enough to have a swim but we did dip our toes in.
A must do activity whilst you’re in Queenstown is the Luge! About halfway up one of Queenstown’s surrounding mountains hosts the Luge. You take a gondola ride up which is a nice activity in itself. The views at the top are amazing and you can see all of Queenstown and the beautiful scenery and landscape that surrounds. There’s a bungee jump here which a couple of my friends did and you can see it from the gondola on your way up. If you want to do a bungee with a view, this is the place!
What is the Luge? Well, you sit in a gravity driven luge cart and follow a 800m track down the hill screeching round corners, flying down the dips and speeding through the tunnels. It’s a lot of fun and definitely gets your inner racer out— my dad would love it! I could literally picture him acting like a little boy overtaking you and causing havoc on the track. We paid for multiple rides, once you reach the bottom you get a chair lift back up to the top again having a great view of Queenstown and it was totally worth paying more for multiple turns as it was so much fun.
Queenstown Gardens (the park next to the lake) hosts a great free activity, frisbee golf. Similar to golf you have a tee and a target, the target is a frisbee basket and you have to aim through trees and round corners to reach the frisbee basket in as few shots as possible, there are 18 ‘holes’ here. People in New Zealand take this sport pretty seriously and we were astounded by some of the locals who frequently over took us, I didn’t know people could be this good at frisbee! In Queenstown you’re able to drink in public places so of course, we had a few drinks as we were going around the course, although this really didn’t help us— we were dreadful, and we only reached the 10th hole by the time it was too dark to see the basket or our frisbees. It was a lot of fun though and definitely something we should introduce at home!
The AJ Hackett Nevis canyon swing was unbelievable and definitely one of the highlights of my trip! Imagine being suspended 160m above a valley floor, attached to rope, being released to a free fall and accelerating to a speed of over 125kmph and this is all on the world’s biggest swing which is a 300m arc! It was incredibly scary, but the adrenaline rush was amazing. When we arrived, we walked over a bridge to the platform housing which was scary enough, then we had to watch others go before us and the nerves just kept building. I was able to do the swing in tandem with Zoe but there is also the option to go solo. I’m glad we got to do it together. Once the initial drop was over and we slowed down we were able to enjoy the view and see just how far we had dropped— I’m definitely an adrenaline junkie now and would love to do more thrill-seeking activities! See my instagram account for the video!
There is so much accommodation available in Queenstown however it’s a very popular place and you have to book in advance to get anywhere decent. Luckily, we heard about this at the start of our trip and booked into Base Queenstown where we could use our pre-paid bed hopper passes. We were lucky that we didn’t have any stress booking our accommodation, but we certainly weren’t lucky to be staying in Base. The laundry room was out of order for our entire week-long stay, the kitchen was dirty and not very well equipped, the WiFi didn’t work very well either. I definitely would book somewhere else if I returned. We did get an all-female dorm which had a light up mirror and a hair dryer, plus the location was great so it wasn’t all bad!
The dining in Queenstown is a foodie’s heaven. With all cuisines available there is so much to try. There is something for everyone with high quality restaurants, delicious street food and great fast food dining. I would definitely recommend the following restaurants if you visit:
Madam Woos (MALAYSIAN)
Caribbe kitchen (Mexican)
Fast food SUSHI
Last but not least, the FERG BURGER which Queenstown is famous for. They are definitely worth the queues!
We had such a great time in Queenstown, and it is definitely my favourite place on my travels so far. I’m very pleased that we spent a week here, it was the perfect amount of time and allowed for a more relaxed pace of exploration. I haven’t met a single person who doesn’t love Queenstown so it is definitely somewhere you should visit if you can.
We are coming towards the last few weeks of our travels around New Zealand and are visiting the Deep South, Lake Tekapo, Kaikoura, Christchurch plus a few other places, where we’ve previously stopped, on our way back up to Queenstown. Very much looking forward to the whale watching in Kaikoura. Watch this space!
Thanks for reading,