In today’s world traveler, we are going to take a close look at Queenstown, New Zealand. We are in the South Island in the vacation center of the country. Heading south, we are going to fly down to Queenstown, passing some splendid scenery along the way, flying past what’s called the New Zealand Alps. And these are really some high mountains. Mount Cook is the most famous of all the mountains in the South Island. But this whole of spine of the island is lined with these majestic Alps.
And then we make our descent and landing at the Queenstown, where we are met by our bus driver who is going to be our guide for the next few days and take us around. It’s a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. its great for walking.
Queenstown, New Zealand
There is pedestrian mall area right in the center. But Queenstown is most famous for its natural setting and the lakes and mountains around it. There is a lot of nice day trips that you can take out from Queenstown and there is boating, hiking, fishing, relaxing, picnicking, all kinds of activities to do here in Queenstown and the surrounding are.
This is Dennis Calin for world traveler in Queenstown. We are on the South Island of New Zealand towards the southern end of the South Island. So we are pretty far down there. It’s a beautiful place. It’s on the lake as you see here Wakatipu. And they have got boating, they have got paragliding, they have got all kinds of outdoor adventures. Most famous for their jet boats. The shot over jet boat. You can go for a boat ride on the lake or you can go on several of the nearby rivers especially the shot over river, that’s the most famous one. it’s a wild ride. And just the scenery, you really don’t have to do anything except sit on a bench and look around you. If you wish for some very entertaining sights, there are mountains all around here. And then the town itself is really cute. It’s only a small place. It’s about 5 blocks wide 5 blocks deeps. Right along the lakeshore. There’s a lot of shops. There’s a lot restaurants, cafes and bars, postcard places, souvenir shops. And a lot of clothing stores, a lot of outdoor gears shops as well. Now this town is small enough that it has the feeling of a quaint village and yet large enough that there is a lot of things to do here. A lot of the shops downtown will keep you busy for the shoppers. And they say, they have got 300 restaurants and café in town. Pretty remarkable numbers! That’s not even counting the hotel dining rooms. So you will find plenty to keep you busy here in Queenstown.
Just behind me, you see a large steamboat. It’s the Earnslaw. Its been cruising the lake for over 90 years. You can take a ride across the lake for a hour and a half round trip or you can get off at the other end and have dinner and watch a sheep show. And then cruise back later in the evening. Either way it’s a nice experience.
Here in Queenstown, there is just so many things to do. There’s easily a dozen fun activities that can keep you busy for three days here in Queenstown, maybe more. So you don’t wanna spend just 1 day here. But if that’s all the time you got, hey it’s worth it just to see the surroundings. The beautiful mountains, the Remarkables. And some of the nature trails are worth a stroll. There is a botanical gardens in town as well.
And the town is nicely laid out right along the waterfront here. They have got a beach. You can swim in the lake although its pretty nippy. They say that the average temperature of the water never varies more than a few degrees throughout the year because the lake scooped out by the glaciers. As most of the landforms around here, the mountains, the valleys, all carved out by the glaciers eons ago. And that’s why we have such a dramatic landscape.
These mountains in the Southern Alps are called, in the South Island are among the most vertical mountains in the world. There are so dramatic, they go straight up for thousands of feet. In many cases it’s a vertical cliff face. And most cases, it’s the sharpest most dramatic mountains you’ve ever seen. Maybe not as high as our Rocky Mountains in America but more vertical. So they seem higher. They definitely are mountainous like the Alps in Switzerland and that’s why they are called the Southern Alps.
We will take you in a small stroll now through Queenstown and show you some of their main shopping streets. They have only got like 5 shopping streets. And they are quite fun. So lets go, take a walk and have a look at them. Running right through the middle of Queenstown is the Queenstown Mall. It’s a short pedestrian promenade lined with shops and cafes on both sides. And its really the heart and soul of town. It’s the center of action. There’s some very good restaurants here for example the Tatler, there’s Chicos, there’s wine shops, there’s clothing stores. And it’s just a fun place to hang out. And then there’s Beach Street one block over. And then Shotover Street, which is a bigger, commercial street with some traffic. It’s a wide street now. And its got lot of stores and outdoor activity centers as well. But I think that the most tranquil spot in town is really the Mall and the waterfront. And they are connected right here in the center of Queenstown. So it’s very easy to find your way around. And there’s some really nice hip cafes. You can come for your morning cappuccino or perhaps a brunch. Get a croissant and read the local papers. Meet some local folks and just generally hangout here. Of course most of the time while you are in Queenstown, you are gonna be kept busy with the activities. The adventure activities out touring the countryside, which is really the main reason for coming to Queenstown. Not to hangout at a pedestrian mall. But you will have some downtime in the evening certainly. And this is a place to gravitate back too. You will find that these shops open late, until about 9 o clock. And the reason for that being that almost everybody is out during the day, out in the countryside, on the lake, on the river, off to Milford Sound. Doing full daytime activity, so they are not in town as much during the day shopping. So therefore stores stay open late to accommodate 7 days a week.
There are actually 20000 people living in the general area here. So it isn’t that tiny. But the heart of town really is small. Small but compact and really well designed. The way they have done it, they have done a beautiful job