Saturday, December 7, 2013
“Breathtaking... I wish I had weeks to spend here… everyone was just gasping
when we saw the landscape. It’s so beautiful.” - Former US President Bill Clinton
Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island. It is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak and just above the town; Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill. The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 km² not counting its inland lakes (Lake Hāwea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka). It has an estimated resident population of 30,200 (June 2013 estimate). Its neighbouring towns include Arrowtown, Wanaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill. Queenstown is now known for its commerce-oriented tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism. It is popular with young international and New Zealand and Australian travellers alike. The town is the largest centre in Central Otago, and the second largest in Otago after Dunedin. Oamaru is now the third largest. According to the 2006 census, the usually resident population of the Queenstown urban area is 13,062, an increase of 22.1% since 2001. The population of the Queenstown ward at 30 June 2011 is 16,600. A resort town, Queenstown boasted 220 adventure tourism activities in 2012. Skiing and snowboarding, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, mountain biking, skateboarding, tramping, Parapenting, Sky diving and fly fishing are all popular. Most activities are safe, except for the odd paraglider stuck up a tree. Queenstown is a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, with people from all over the country and many parts of the world travelling to ski at the four main mountain ski fields (Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone). Cross country skiing is also available at the Waiorau Snowfarm, near Cardrona village. The 100 year old twin screw coal fired steamer TSS Earnslaw traverses Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown lies close to the centre of a small wine producing region, reputed to be the world's southernmost. The Two Paddocks vineyard is owned by local actor Sam Neill. Neighbouring, historic Arrowtown features restaurants and bars. Queenstown has many festivals. In 2013, examples include Bike Festival (March/April), Winter Festival (June), and Jazz Festival (October). Queenstown Airport is located 8 km from town and has scheduled flights from Auckland, Christchurch, Rotorua, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
1. Queenstown Hill
The entrance to the trail is on Belfast Terrace. At the start of the walk is a wrought iron gate which shows symbols of the local area. There are many panels along the walk describing the history of the area. The walk takes about three hours return, but can be shortened by not walking the full loop.
When you get to the first cross roads on the actual hiking track turn left, you'll see a sign for a lookout if you go right but don't bother, it's nothing compared to the top and you'll save an easy 30 minutes! Nice track very steep so not just a leisurely walk but the views from the top are greats. You can start at town and if you take a left turn you can probably be back in town within 2-3 hours including taking pictures.
2. Skyline - Gondola & Luge
This place is like the 'must go to' place of Queenstown!! The first time I went here we only went up the Gondola and it was super super cold! So we wanted to get back down. We also had no clue what a luge was then, and my friend told us that there was no breaks so we were super scared to go on them. So the Gondola goes up this mountain, hundreds of meters apparently, and you get out the top and you can look down on Queenstown.
This is a great way to spend half a day. The gondola trip on the way up is just the beginning of a fantastic time. The views over Queenstown and the Remarkables are amazing it's a great perspective of it all. The luge is great fun. Do more than one run at it, the first one is the scenic one and it really gives you a taste for it and you will definitely want to do more and more of them!. You should try to do this every time You go to Queenstown.