Queenstown Travel Guide
Queenstown is one of most breathtakingly holiday spots in New Zealand and probably the world. Queenstown is located on New Zealand's South Island next to the majestic Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by the Southern Alps and The Remarkables mountain range. Queenstown is aperfect destination year round, but probably the busiest during the ski season with six world class ski fields in close proximity to the city. While the city looks peaceful and at times it is, during peak holiday seasons, Queenstown is well known for it's lively nightlife and popular annual events.
Peak Seasons in Queenstown
The peak holiday seasons are in winter, during the ski season, and the summer, when idyllic weather and long days are perfect for enjoying the outdoors, from walking and music festivals to bungee jumping and skydiving. However, there are still many reasons to holiday during the autumn and spring, when there are less tourists but still just as many exciting things to do and see
Getting to Queenstown
Queenstown Airport is located about 12kms from the city centre, the trip generally takes about 20 minutes driving or in a taxi. Direct international flights to Queenstown from Australia are more frequent during the ski season as well as daily domestic flights from Auckland and Christchurch. There are many affordable transport options when you arrive at Queenstown Airport including; buses, taxis and hire cars. Rental cars can be limited especially during peak periods in Queenstown. Book ahead of time to ensure you get the car you want and avoid waiting at the airport.
Queenstown Ski Season
The ski season in Queenstown is during the winter months, usually opening early June and closing mid October. Queenstown is New Zealand's premier skiing and snowboarding destination. There are a total of six skiing and snowboarding areas, the most popular being Coronet Peak, Cardrona and The Remarkables.
Coronet Peak is conveniently located just 25mins from Queenstown and is considered better skiing for intermediate to advanced skiers. On a clear day the vista from the mountain top is truly spectacular. For the ultimate experience with maximum skiing time the resort is well positioned the bottom of the slopes for easy access. You'll finish skiing and be in the bar for a great hot meal or happy hour at the bar.
The Remarkables is the most family friendly resort on the South Island. Again the slopes are just a short drive from Queenstown. Slopes are better for beginners and children, as well as snowboarders. There is a fantastic area specially designed run with jumps for snowboarders to give a specacular performance for people happy to sit back and take in the excitement. Though its great for beginners, there is a daring run that will please any experience ski enthusiast, with challenging moguls and a steep gradient.
Cardrona is like skiing in the alps, though is a bit of a trek and probably considered less accessible than other resorts, it's recommended for skiers at any level. Snow boarders are certainly in for a treat, not only faced with a challenging run with jump and rails, Cardrona also has a world class half-pipe. The view alone makes Cardrona worth visiting. There is always plenty of snow and magnificent views of snow capped mountains in the surrounding areas
Ski & Snowboard Hire
There are numerous ski and snowboard rental shops in Queenstown's easily accessible central shopping areas. Also, if you plan on booking a skiing package to Queenstown, ski or snowboard hire is usually included as part of the package. Hire fees will vary from store to store for daily hire of an adult's skis or snowboard and gear.
Day Trips from Queenstown
A beautiful historic mining town is just a short drive from Queenstown. Arrowtown is generally a great place to stop when taking the scenic drive between Queenstown and Wanaka. There are plenty of stores with NZ made items including, clothes, shoes, craft, timber work and art. Escape the cold in one of the great cafes and restaurants with no-attitude service and some great food. Certainly a stop not to be missed.
Central Otago is an award winning wine region in New Zealand, renouned for varieties such as the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Riesling. Otago is the region in New Zealand where Queenstown is located with a deep traditional farming history of scottish heritage. The region is full of little-known natural and historic treasures ready to be explored.
Wanaka was voted one of the world's most romantic destinations by Time Life. and is just 1 hours drive via the highway from Queenstown. Wanaka is famous for its location on the beautiful lake with many luxury resorts, holidays homes and snow fields.
Queenstown Hotels & Accommodation
Accommodation in Queenstown caters for travellers of all budgets. Queenstown accommodation ranges from centrally located backpacker hostels that are great for socialising, to 3, 4, or 5 star hotels and B&Bs as well as homestay and farmstay options.
Queenstown winters (June-August) are cold and icy, perfect for ski season! Temperatures generally do not get higher than 8°C and can get well below 0°C. Spring (September-November) temperatures range from 8°C to 22°C and days can be erratic including sunny days followed by spring showers. Summer (December-February) is great in Queenstown with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. In autumn, the temperatures can vary between cold to mild, sometimes below 0°C to 25°C, so it is recommended that you pack some layers.
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