Queenstown is one of the most popular places to visit in New Zealand and it’s easy to see why. The whole town has a great atmosphere and there are so many amazing things to see and do – you really are spoiled for choice!
Because I was in New Zealand in July, I was certain that I wanted to go skiing in Queenstown. I had never done it before but had always wanted to so this was the perfect opportunity, particularly because two of the friends that I was with are great skiers and offered to teach me how to do it/promised me I wouldn’t hurt myself or die.
There are two places to ski in Queenstown – The Coronet Peak or The Remarkables. We opted The Coronet Peak because Kirsty had been there before and thought it would be fine for a beginner. We hired all of our equipment in the centre of Queenstown – you can also get your ski pass and bus ticket from the same place, so it’s very convenient. It is worth keeping an eye on the website Bookme because they have lots of deals and you can save quite a bit of money (it’s basically like New Zealand’s Groupon and we used it a lot for things like the Waitomo Glowworm Caves and Whale Watching in Kaikoura). I definitely didn’t realise how expensive skiing would be when you include the equipment hire, the ski pass and the bus to the slopes but I already had my skis on by the time I heard the final price so I just had to bite the bullet and I am so glad I did. If you’re planning on skiing in Queenstown, I would recommend being a bit more prepared than I was so that you can work it into your budget.
I would definitely say that skiing is unmissable if you’re in Queenstown in winter – the views were incredible and it really was like nothing else I experienced when I was in New Zealand. If you’re a beginner like me, please be warned that it is exhausting and your whole body will hurt (especially if you’re like me and throw yourself to the ground whenever someone snowboards past you…) which can be hard going if you’re combining skiing with the amazing nightlife in Queenstown!
There are lots of bungees to choose from in Queenstown. While we were there, two of my friends did The Nevis Bungee which is one of the highest in the world. They loved it and got amazing pictures… I went for brunch instead!
The famous Queenstown Shotover Jet has been operating since 1965. The high speed boat reaches up to 85km/hr and does 360 degree spins down the river. It was so much fun and is definitely something that appeals to all ages – there were lots of families on the boat when I was there. This is definitely not one of Queenstown’s biggest thrills so if skydiving and bungee jumping is your thing, this may not be scary enough for you but I still think it would be great fun. Two of my friends that I went with had done a bungee that morning and they certainly still enjoyed it! One word of warning – it gets very cold when you’re going so fast so wrap up well; my ears were so sore by the end!
Food and Drink
Queenstown is not only a place for adventures; as a well established holiday destination there are lots of great bars, restaurants and nightclubs to choose from to make your holiday complete.
My Favourite Meal
We went to the world-famous Fergburger for some of the best burgers I have ever had. The Queenstown branch is the only one in the world and there is always a huge queue at any time of the day or night. They employ people as ‘Fluffers’ whose job is to go along the queue handing out samples and generally making sure that everyone is ok – this includes handing out suncream in the summer! This was my friend Kirsty’s job while she lived in Queenstown so we were lucky enough to be able to skip the queue – I don’t think I would have been dedicated enough to have three Fergburgers otherwise! This is definitely part of the Queenstown Experience!
The Best Brunch
I was in Queenstown for three days, so you can be certain that I made sure I sampled as many of the best brunch places as possible. After my (albeit limited) research, I can conclude that my favourite Brunch spot was… Vudu! It was super busy when I went but we didn’t have to wait too long for a table and it was definitely worth it. There are two restaurants too (Beach Street and Rees Street), so if you can’t get a seat in one it’s worth having a look in the other one. It was a perfect remedy to sampling the best (and possibly worst) of Queenstown’s bars the night before.
An Unmissable Bar
We went to the (somewhat ironically named, given it was July) Sundeck which is a rooftop bar, and part of The Bunker for a lovely evening of drinks. There were comfy seats, wood burning stoves to keep you warm and they sold mulled wine and cider. Coupled with the amazing views over Queenstown Lake, what more could you ask for to enjoy an Apres Ski?!
This is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in Queenstown – I think it is the kind of place that you could easily return to again and again and experience new things each time. You can also do Queenstown very differently depending on your budget and it is now firmly on my list of places to go when I have won the lottery so I can make the most of the amazing spas and hotels in the mountains!