Queenstown: My Favorite New Zealand Town
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | April 9th, 2018
New Zealand is filled with so many great cities and towns - Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch, Wanaka, Queenstown - the list goes on and on. I was fortunate to visit all six of the cities listed above this past February, and I have to say, Queenstown was definitely my favorite. Of course, I recommend visiting each of them, but if you only have time to see one, or if you're looking for somewhere to make your home base, then here is why Queenstown is my pick.
Milford Sound is the number one visited attraction in all of New Zealand, and it's only a three hour drive from Queenstown. Most of the Milford Sound tour companies actually operate out of Queenstown making it a great place to stay if you want to be close to this star attraction.
There's a reason Queenstown is called 'The Adventure Capital of the World' - it's a thrill-seekers delight! There's skydiving, paragliding, jet boating, rock climbing, and of course, bungy jumping. AJ Hackett, the first person to open a commercial bungy jumping business in 1988, now has several locations all over New Zealand. I had never been bungy jumping before, so I knew that I had to try it while in Queenstown. The Ledge, Hackett's Queenstown location, sits high above the town and gives jumpers gorgeous views as they take a running leap off of the bungy platform. If you're looking for an adrenaline rush during your NZ vacation, then I highly recommend bungy jumping at The Ledge.
The most iconic landscape in all of New Zealand is hands down the Mt. Cook region. The snow-capped peaks, bright blue lakes, and breathtaking scenery is a MUST-SEE while visiting Kiwi Land. Only a three hour drive from Queenstown, Mt Cook is a spectacular area to hike, photograph, and take a scenic drive.
Fergburger is a famous burger and milkshake eatery located in downtown Queenstown. There are two things to know about this place. First of all, the burgers are DELICIOUS and well-deserving of the hype. Second, there will ALWAYS be a line. Sometimes, a very long line. But trust me, these burgers are worth the wait. They are open 8am-5am daily, so head over to Fergburger and try their renowned Fergburger Classic, or if you're feeling really adventurous, go for the BIG AL.
Glenorchy is a quaint lake town located about 45 minutes from Queenstown. Situated along the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu, this quiet and peaceful town attracts visitors looking for a relaxing day. Horseback ride through the golden hills, kayak the serene waters, or wander filming locations from the Lord of the Rings trilogy in this charming place.
About an hour north of Queenstown is lovely Wanaka. This beautiful town is known for fantastic wine tasting, epic hikes (Roy's Peak, anyone?), and the famous Lone Tree. It makes for a great day trip from Queenstown, and can easily be combined with a visit to Mt. Cook.
Onsen Hot Pools
After all your New Zealand exploring you're going to need a place to completely unwind. Onsen Hot Pools is that place! Enjoy a relaxing soak in one of their private hot pools and marvel at the incredible mountain views. Be sure to book early! Reservations sell out quickly.