It is true that the view of the nearby Wakatipu Lake is beautiful, but without the right marketing and correct choices made this wouldn’t be enough to make this town a tourist’s favorite. Today Queenstown is a resort town, meaning that the main industry of the place is tourism. The ski capital Otago does this so well, that it was ranked number two, after Milford Sound, in an international survey about the best travel destinations.
There were a large number of stories about the name of the city. The most popular says that it was “fit for Queen Victoria” so this name tells everything about the city. If this is true or isn’t, it’s not important these days, because it looks that it is fit for a large number of local and foreign people. The population was around 8000 in 2001 and in only five years surpassed 10000, which is a growth with over 20%.
The tourism was the only option for the city to develop and become popular among tourists from around the world. It was a quite logic move to focus on tourism because of the natural aspects. The larger Queenstown area has access to three inland lakes. This makes the city a perfect place for the water sports lovers to spend their holidays.
In the winter season the most part of the hotels are full. When the weather is suitable, the ski resorts are crowded all day. Four major ski fields operate in the proximity of Queenstown. Maybe the best known is the Cardrona Alpine Resort. It has tracks covering 200 meters of difference in height, with beginner, intermediate and advanced areas perfect for anyone. Snowboarders will appreciate the four half pipes and the terrain park especially made for them. Mostly it is a one-day trip, but you can sleep a night or two at the on-mountain motel. A weird tradition also lives on here: women leaving the town have to leave their old bra at the bottom of the mountain.
Those who consider visiting Queenstown in the 2008/2009 winter season can be the first to try the freshly renovated – still in progress – ski fields of Coronet Peak. Here you can identify which track is for you simply by their names: Big Easy, Greengates and Exchange Drop. As you guessed the first is for beginners, the second for intermediates, while the last for experts. It is also good news that as part of the renovation a hundred snow cannons will be placed around the tracks ensuring the needed snow for skiing and snowboarding.
Coronet Peak is not unique in using technology to ensure excellent conditions for skiing. The Remarkables is another ski resort, which offers visitors great field for both skiing and snowboarding. A recent addition is the terrain park for freestyle snowboarders. Being just at a 45-minutes drive from the city it can’t be missed by any skier, who visits Queenstown.
Treble Cone offers the most expensive skiing season pass in the world, at least according to the locals. If during winter, the prices are spicy, during summer you can enjoy the hills free, of course this time not with skies but riding a mountain bike. The mountain became so popular among the mountain bikers that in 2007 almost 200 bikers competed against each other at the first downhill competition of the NZ Community Trust National Series. The high ticket and season pass prices help to raise money for the proposed gondola. If everything goes according to plan in 2008 visitors will be able to watch the beautiful sight from the heights.
In recent years, the majority of tourists coming to Queenstown are in their twenties. Because of this the nightlife of the city has undergone a radical change and today many clubs and bars are opened to ease the youths’ hunger for parties. Besides the vibrant nightlife, numerous events are held each month to make the city even more popular among the tourists, mainly Australian and American.
If the nights are about parting and skiing, resorts are crowded all the time, than it is wise to have some refined restaurants offering various specialties of the local cuisine. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a tasty meat or any vegetarian food a good wine is necessary. Queenstown is known as the world’s southernmost wine producing region. The pinot noire produced here is sold at pretty high prices, which is a guarantee of quality.
The movie fans surely know that many parts of the blockbuster trilogy The Lord of the Rings were shot here. While in the city, you can visit these.
Several other attractions are in and around the city, which are very popular among the visitors. Such is the TSS Earnslaw, which is a steamer. Today this transports tourists to a nearby farm where heritage tours are held.
Another old farm also became a visitor’s favorite over the years. The 150-year-old wheat farm became the Millbrook Resort, which is a luxury resort. It a perfect place to relax offering a restaurant, bar, café and spa. Around the resort operates an 18-hole golf course.
As an addition to the 90-year-old ship and the one and a half century old farm, another classical means of transportation is available in Queenstown. For those who don’t want to stay with their feet on the earth the Skyline Gondola is the perfect choice. Having its route from Queenstown to Bob’s Peak travels no less than 730 meters with a 450-meter vertical rise, this gondola operates all year long.
Those who want more fun should try any of the extreme sports in Queenstown. This city is a real center of extreme sports: you have the chance to try bungee jumping, paragliding or sky diving. If you are afraid of height than the jet boating and river surfing is for you.
It is hard to imagine that anyone who visits Queenstown not to enjoy every moment of the holiday spent here. The rich cultural and social life is completed by the waste variety of sports practicable here.