Whether you are looking for a short weekend getaway, lengthy family break or fun-filled adventure holiday Queenstown has it all. Designed with visitors in mind, the small alpine town famous for its abundance of adventure activities and beautiful alpine landscapes is a popular choice for thrill seekers, skiers, snowboarders, foodies and those who just wish to relax and soak up the grandeur of the surroundings.
Spread along the banks of the beautiful Lake Wakatipu with majestic views out across the mountains beyond, Queenstown central is buzzing with tourism operators, cafes, restaurants, galleries, shops, boutique stores and a wide variety of accommodation providers. The Queenstown nightlife is equally vibrant with a mixture of differently themed bars, clubs and eateries on offer.
Though only a few blocks square, Queenstown’s central shopping district is filled with many interesting vendors and there is plenty to explore and entertain visitors of all ages. Along with the highlights mentioned below there are also an abundance of convenience stores, pharmacies, souvenir shops, banks and even a NZ Post shop where you can pack and post gifts for the family back home.
Enjoy access to a smorgasbord of local eateries, all with their own character and something different to offer. Whether you crave a burger, a salad or are seeking a more high-end dining experience, there is plenty to choose from.
Try Winnies for gourmet pizza, Taco Medic for some epic authentic tacos or head over to The Grille by Eichardts on Marine parade for something a little bit special. There are also Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese and American themed restaurants along with plenty of options for the health minded like Rehab on Camp Street, the perfect place for a quick on the go smoothie or raw food snack.
Open year round including during the picturesque snowy months of winter, the Queenstown Mall and it’s array of vibrant shopping and restaurant venues form the backbone of the bustling shopping district set in the heart of Queenstown central.
You will find an eclectic mix of proud local stores and world-class retail brands. Depending on individual interests and budgets, here you can purchase everything from luxury items and designer brands through to local hand-made goods such as sheepskin, leather items and sweets.
A centrally located multi-storey shopping centre, O’Connells plays host to a range of homeware, gift, specialty wine, fashion, sportswear, stationery, shoe, accessories and technology stores along with an extensive food court offering a good selection of local and international cuisine.
Open from 9 am to 9 pm O’Connells provides convenience and selection at your finger tips all within easy walking distance.
Why not do the rounds and explore the artistic offerings of the Queenstown art galleries. Paintings, sculpture, drawings, crafts and photography are all on display. The Central Art Gallery situated on Beach Street showcases hundreds of paintings by emerging New Zealand artists and is one of New Zealand’s oldest privately owned galleries.
The Artbay Gallery is another one well worth a visit, it offers an ever-changing diverse range of contemporary art from award winning New Zealand artists. Or seek out the artistic delights of the Queenstown Arts Centre, Milford and Mountford Galleries, Gallery Oceanic, or the Toi O Tahuna… the list goes on and on.
Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Queenstown, there is a wide variety of budget, mid range and high end specialty accommodation options on offer. Travelers will find Hotels, Motels, Backpackers, Youth Hostels, Resorts, Apartments, Chalets, Lodges, Bed and Breakfasts, Holiday Parks, Cottages and Homes for rent, all very centrally located.
For the budget conscious the Queenstown YHA is an excellent choice with various multi-share and private options available. For something at the opposite end of the market take a look at Eichardts Private Hotel. One of New Zealand’s most lavish hotels, Eichardts offers fine dining, luxurious surroundings and outstanding customer service (which includes a butler, private chef and a driver when hiring out their most expensive suite – rumored to be around ten thousand NZ dollars per night).
Keep in mind when looking for accommodation in Queenstown it is highly recommended that you book in advance in order to avoid disappointment, particularly in the winter months of June through August as this is Queenstown’s busiest season.
With so many great things to do in Queenstown the biggest problem is deciding what to do and how to fit it all in! Here are or top picks for family fun, an action packed adrenaline rush or just a bit of rest and relaxation.
There are loads of family friendly activities and attractions in Queenstown, with some even offering reduced prices for children accompanied by an adult. For some simple family fun keeping in line with the alpine theme, why not take the kids ice skating. The Queenstown Ice Arena is just a few minutes’ walk from Queenstown’s central township and presents an awesome all weather option for kids of all ages. Be sure to check the website for public session times and opening hours.
For the adrenaline junkies among us, the ultimate must-do while in Queenstown is the famous Bungy Jump. AJ Hackett Bungy offer several options in and around Queenstown including the Nevis Bungy, at an impressive 134 metre jump height and the Kawarau Bridge Bungy at 43 metres, along with various Zipride and Swing options. Jump on your own and freestyle it or go tandem with a friend, whatever you choose this will definitely be the highlight of everyone’s trip.
After a hard day hitting the slopes, horse riding, mountain biking or jumping off bridges you might be looking for the best way to unwind and relax in Queenstown. The Onsen Hot Pools offer the luxury of purpose built thermostatically controlled Cedar Hot Tubs with spectacular views out over the Shotover River canyon. The hot pools are located just a short ten minute drive from central Queenstown, booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.
Queenstown’s event calendar is overflowing all year round. Whether it be sporting, musical, family fun or social, an event provides the perfect opportunity to mingle with the locals and create really fun memories. For up to date information on current Queenstown events its best to check one of the many event websites available upon searching the internet but here are a couple of the big ones you won’t want to miss.
One of the nicest things about the central Queenstown area is its proximity to Lake Wakatipu, after exploring the shops or wandering through the art galleries you can take a stroll along the waterfront, pick up a coffee or enjoy a picnic beside the lake with delicious food picked up from one of the many local cafes. Whatever your reason for visiting Queenstown by the end of your trip you’ll end up wishing you never had to leave!
Need transportation to make the most of the area? View our full range of affordable Queenstown rental cars and explore the best of Queenstown at your own pace.
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