101 ways to feel alive!

New Zealand - Queenstown
  • Queenstown Harbour Queenstown Harbour
  • Famous Ferburgers Famous Ferburgers
  • Dusk over Queenstown - Winter Dusk over Queenstown - Winter
  • TS Ernslaw TS Ernslaw

A Quick Glance

Destination(s) New Zealand - Queenstown

Duration 5 - 7 nights

Traveller(s) Family, group or friends

Trip highlight Fine wines, delicious food, adrenaline packed adventures and quite sojourns. So much to do and experience in Queenstown!

Travel Advisor Michael Nolan

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You’ve spent all your adrenaline by the time you were thirty, so why go to Queenstown – the adrenaline capital of New Zealand (the world?).

If you’re still pumping of course there’s the bungee jumping (included in Lonely Planet’s 1000 Top Travel Experiences), hang gliding, paragliding, white-water rafting, parapenting, and a myriad of other ways to die. But for those of us who would rather take it easier, Queenstown is still a great destination for a head rush of a different kind.

The result of all this testosterone fuelled activity means that most of the population at first appears to be cashed up young backpackers from the US, Australia and Europe. But take a closer look and you’ll see bearded Lord of the Rings fans, Chinese families (it was Chinese New Year when we were there), road tripping baby boomers, wealthy Americans holed up in glamorous eco lodges, photographers, bush walkers, fishermen, gamblers and international students studying at the tertiary colleges set up there to teach English and other pursuits of the West. It seems Queenstown, winter ski capital of the southern hemisphere, now whatever the season and whatever your age, has something for everyone.

It seems Queenstown, winter ski capital of the southern hemisphere, now whatever the season and whatever your age, has something for everyone. 

Written by Kaye Francis. 

The best way to take a population sample is in the queue outside Fergbergers. This tiny hamburger joint is able to sustain a perpetual queue that snakes metres up the footpath of the main street. The international cavalcade of Koreans, Aussies, Germans, South Americans, French and Brits (not many Chinese in this queue) stands for hours (a perfect place to pick up chicks) to be able to go inside to place an order – and curiously no one ever seems to come out. I did see someone come out eating one once, about the size of his face and oozing mushrooms. (Ferg has also opened a bakery next door - I can vouch for the fresh cream filled donuts.) 

So now that you feel comfortable fitting in, and if bungee jumping isn’t your thing, the first thing to do is to take a trip to the quaint village of Arrowtown, 20 minutes from Queenstown and home to the local lawyers and accountants keen to escape the frenetic bustle of Queenstown. It’s full of upmarket New Zealand wool and possumware with a not to miss musty historic museum to give you a good understanding of the area’s geography and historical origins (mainly gold). It contains all sorts of interesting objects (the first doctor’s instruments, scary lifelike tableaux of the original village shops) and fascinating facts. Did you know that Nelson Mandela has been to Arrowtown (along with multiple members of the British Royal Family whom since the 1800s seem to have had a regular habit of dropping in)?

  • 101 ways to feel alive 101 ways to feel alive
  • Shotover jet boat adrenaline Shotover jet boat adrenaline

Might pass on the Shotvover jet boat ride today? The Queenstown Gardens sited on the peninsula overlooking the tiny harbour on Lake Wakatipu provide a relaxing getaway from the excitement of the town below. Cross the picturesque stream that flows through the town and take in the stunning views of the crystal clear lake and mountain peaks. Walk around the perimeter of the peninsula or wander through the rose garden taking in bowling green surrounded by climbing roses (no gate) and the quaint clubhouse (bowling club ground floor/tennis club first floor). Listen to the delicate splashing’s  of the fountain (which apparently replaced an “underwhelming water display” in 1968) in the ornamental lake.

Been there-done that with aerial jet skiing? Take in the serene beauty of the Lake and the surrounding mountains with a trip on the coal fired TSS Earnslaw. It’s been chugging up and down the lake for the last 100 years and offers a variety of experiences including lunch and shearing demos at Walter Peak Station. Or trip on the gondola to Coronet Peak for breathtaking views across to the eponymous Remarkables Mountain Range and the surrounding lakes. When you’re sick of paragliding, take a leisurely drive north to Lake Wanaka or south to Glenorchy for spectacular scenery and mountain views (they make the NZ tourism ads on the Glenorchy road). But beware: the ads really are true - you may have to share the roads with a flock of sheep (or was this a regular stunt hosted the NZ tourist Bureau?) Must eats are the Botswana Butchery in the middle of town with its city hip chic vibe (the name says it all) and the winery Amisfield where you can follow in the heels of Wills and Kate (yes – those British Royals keep popping in). Let’s hope they chose the “Trust the Chef” option – certainly fit for a king.

So if you’re a serotonin rather than an adrenaline junkie, you can certainly get a good fix in Queenstown. Just come in February, bring a book and a healthy appetite, and a good pair of walking shoes. Oh, and if you’re the outdoors type, make sure you bring a “tint”.

But beware: the ads really are true!

Is this sheep showdown staged? Is this sheep showdown staged?

A fine wine or two! A fine wine or two!

Cruising to Walter Peak Cruising to Walter Peak