If there’s one place in New Zealand I can’t stop raving about, that would be Queenstown. Yes, it is a resort town and everything is pricier, but that doesn’t negate the fact that it sits right in one of the most beautiful regions of NZ. Queenstown is built around an inlet on the edge of blissful Lake Wakatipu. Looking right across the lake from the town is the Remarkables, an aptly-named saw-toothed range of mountains that forms the stunning backdrop of most postcard pictures you see of Queenstown.
Having a reputation of being the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, Queenstown is home to all kinds of extreme sports, such as bungy jumping, skydiving, paragliding, jetboating and more. However, do be prepared to fork out a hefty sum as they cost at least NZ$100. Having done my bungy jump in Auckland and skydive in Taupo, it was unfortunate that I didn’t have enough budget for another extreme sport in Queenstown. :( If I ever return to Queenstown someday, I’m definitely preparing enough money for the 134m Nevis bungy and 15,000ft skydive!
Even without the extreme sports, Queenstown is an alluring little town with quaint little shops great for souvenir shopping. The lakefront boasts several restaurants and bars, but they don’t come at a cheap price either. That being said, you can still enjoy the lakefront for free by relaxing on the pristine white beach or the public grass space like many locals do.
If you’re up for something unique and cheap, play a game of frisbee golf in the Queenstown Gardens. Rent a disc from the hostel and tee off at specific points in the park, hoping it will land in the disc basket below par. If you’re really into frisbee golf, you can even buy different discs for varying distances and shots, like clubs in real golf. How cool!
For the best view of Queenstown and its picturesque backdrop, do get up the Queenstown hill either via the Gondola or hike up the hill for free. Warning: I did the hike up and it can be pretty steep and tiring! Either way you will be treated to a stunning view, which I’m sure will leave you mesmerised for a long time. Atop the hill, you can play the Luge (same as the one in Sentosa, Singapore, but I assure you the view is much different!) or for the mountain-biking junkies, there are several paths down the hill too.
Talking about food, there is one place you can’t miss – Fergburger! It serves one of the largest (and likely the best) burgers in NZ and the always-crowded storefront goes to show its popularity. You simply have to try it to know how good it is! (I had it twice myself) Furthermore, another recommendation of mine is Patagonia, a chocolate & ice cream store located at the lakefront. I had 2 large scoops of gelato ice cream and it was probably the best treat I gave myself during the trip. (:
Ultimately, the best memory I had of Queenstown was this: Spending my evenings sitting down at the lakefront, watching the sun set gracefully with piano pieces playing in the background. Look at the photo below and imagine that – there’s hardly any reason why you won’t want to come to a place like Queenstown.