Queenstown is an international resort town where you can enjoy every style of working holiday. The town is situated in the region of Otago, in the south of New Zealand's South Island. It is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin lake formed by glacial processes that is shaped like a staggered lightning bolt and enjoys spectacular views of nearby mountains.
The town is the largest centre in Central Otago and the third largest in Otago. In recent years, Queenstown's hotels, B&Bs, lodges and hostels have become a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. Queenstown provides adventure tourism during the day and a vibrant nightlife scene during the evenings that is a magnet for all ages and walks of life. Consequently living here is by no means cheap but you get what you pay for - and Queenstown is stunningly beautiful. Queenstown also has a reputation for being the 'Adventure Capital of the World', with an alpine climate of winters that see clear blue skies contrasted against the surrounding snow-capped mountains. Summers have long warm days with temperatures that can reach 30°C. Queenstown is the ultimate cosmopolitan resort town. With views over Lake Wakatipu and the majestic Remarkables Range, it is the perfect destination all year round. Nearby historic Arrowtown is a quaint town that has been beautifully preserved. With its picturesque tree-lined streets and preserved miners' cottages, it’s a walk back to the 19th century.
There is a huge amount of employment in hospitality in this region. Queenstown is a tourist mecca with an international reputation as the adrenaline capital of New Zealand and has two seasons - winter for skiing and summer for outdoor pursuits. Just down the road is Arrowtown and this little town is a historic gem with several great restaurants and cafes. Central Otago produces award-winning wines and there are many wine-makers in the region with cellar door openings and cafes on site. Fruit pickers are also in demand in Central Otago because, due to its cold frosty winters and hot dry summers, the area is ideal for growing a wide variety of fruit. Central Otago's climate is the closest approximation to a continental climate anywhere in New Zealand and is part of the reason why it is a successful wine-growing region.
Population: 27,100 (June 2009 estimate).
According to the 2006 census, the resident population of the Queenstown urban area (including Frankton and Kelvin Heights) is 10,416, an increase of 22.1% since 2001. Its neighbouring towns and districts include Arrowtown, Wanaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill. The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 km² (3,361.01 sq miles) not counting its inland lakes (Lake Hawea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka). It has an estimated resident population of 27,100. Queenstown is the largest centre in Central Otago and the third largest in Otago. There are a few administrative functions (such as primary healthcare) that are currently administered by the neighbouring province of Southland.
Land area: 8,704.97 km2 (3,361 sq mi)
Main Centres: Queenstown, Arrowtown
The Maori first came to Queenstown in search of food, fibre and stone resources. After discovering the moa (a giant flightless bird), and pounamu (greenstone) they visited the area seasonally to hunt and gather greenstone. William Gilbert Rees and fellow explorer Nicholas Von Tunzelman were the first Europeans to settle the area. Rees was in search of pastoral land and he established a high country farm in the location of Queenstown's current town centre. However the Rees’ farming lifestyle was to be short-lived. In 1862 goldwas discovered in the Arrow River, a short distance from Queenstown. The nearby Shotover River saw the second largest haul of gold in history, as well as the government's purchase of the town. Picturesque Arrowtown is home to the superb Lakes District Museum, often described as one of New Zealand's best small museums. Wander the banks of the Arrow River and discover life as it was for the thousands of Chinese miners. Their humble village can still be seen tucked into the riverbank.
Activities: What to do there?
Queenstown enjoys a multitude of things to do, especially if you are a thrill-seeking junkie. You’ll be spoilt for choice with jet boating, whitewater rafting and parapenting just some of the many adventure activities on offer. Queenstown is home to the world famous bungee jumping and in winter you can ski and snowboard to your heart’s content. Visitors come from all over the world to join in the fun at the annual Winter Festival. Or if you want to get your breath back take a ride on the vintage TSS Earnslaw steamer that has been beautifully restored to its original condition. Another great way to relax is to enjoy a round of golf at some of the most scenic courses in the world, including one at award-winning Millbrook Resort. Wine tasting is fast becoming one of the more popular ways to see the greater Queenstown region. So, with adventure tourism, skiing, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, mountain biking, tramping and fly fishing, plus a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, what more could you want?
Queenstown also now hosts an annual International Jazz Festival. Recent international performers include Anika Moa and Di Bird. Queenstown and the surrounding area contain many locations used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy as well as the more recent 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The area has also been the location for the films Willow, The Rescue and The Race for the Yankee Zephyr, the first major motion picture filmed in the district in 1981. The town has over 150 licensed premises to choose from, with plenty of late night bars, discos, pubs and live music. The Skycity Queenstown Casino is located in Beach Street and opens from noon until 4am. Minus 5 is an ice bar where everything is made of ice. Only short stays are possible. It is located at Steamer Wharf next to the lake.http://www.queenstowneguide.com/entertainment.php
Airport: Queenstown has an international airport with flights from Australia by Air New Zealand and Qantas and in particular from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney (the frequency is much increased over the ski season).
Queenstown Airport has scheduled flights to Auckland, Christchurch and Sydney year-round and Wellington, Melbourne and Brisbane seasonally. Queenstown Airport is New Zealand's busiest helicopter base and is also heavily used for tourist 'flightseeing', especially to Milford Sound and Mount Cook, using both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. www.queenstownairport.co.nz
Roads: Queenstown is accessible by road and air but not by rail The primary road access to the Queenstown area is via State Highway 6 (SH6), which travels from Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge to Frankton, where a 9-km spur (SH6A) leads to the CBD. SH6 continues south, crossing the Kawarau River before heading down the eastern side of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston beforeemerging on the plains of Southland. A difficult road over the Crown Range leads to Cardrona skifield and Wanaka and is New Zealand's highest paved public road.
Queenstown is the departure point for a large number of day trips to the famous Milford Sound. This entails a return trip of approximately 12 hours. http://www.justqueenstown.co.nz/Transport-in-sitename-Roads.cfm
Buses: As a resort centre, there are many bus services that operate into Queenstown, with most being for package tours, but daily services for the local or itinerant are available to/from Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch which are the main cities closest to Queenstown. http://www.connectabus.com/
Buses: Take a ride on the vintage TSS Earnslaw steamer, which has been beautifully restored to its original condition. It leaves from the town’s foreshore. http://www.realjourneys.co.nz/
Train: Queenstown is accessible by road and air but not by rail
Cycling: Queenstown has many possibilities with cycling from mountain biking to road bikes http://experiencequeenstown.com/cycling/