Last time I was in Queenstown with the Kiwi Experience it became apparent that this little town by a beautiful lake, full of adrenaline fuelled activities is also the life of the party - quite literally.
Considering how small the town is, especially when compared to the likes of Auckland and Wellington, it really packs in the punch. There are bars, restaurants and quirky coffee shops on every street. There are quite a few shops if your purse permits it, plenty of beautiful views and of course, if you get bored you can always opt to throw yourself off a bridge at A J Hacket like I did last time I was here.
This time it was a different affair, our stop here was short and the weather not on our side. With a smaller budget and grey skies we decided to keep our visit less on the ‘party till’ you drop’ side and more on the ‘relax and explore’ one.
Here is a breakdown of helpful information if you are planning to visit
We were travelling by camper van and thus far had been trying hard to stay in Free Campsites to keep costs down. This option worked really well for us and I am planning to write a Blog Post reviewing all the campsites we used.
There aren’t that many free campsites in or close to Queenstown and unfortunately the ones that are available were all full due to a marathon that was taking place whilst we were visiting. Most of the hostels were fully booked too, which for a good few minutes left us frantically making phone calls to find accommodation.
Fortunately, we were able to book a camper van spot at Blacksheep Backpackers for two nights. With showers, a kitchen, lounge area and free WIFI we were happy with our find, especially as it was only a short 10 minute walk to the town centre.
The cost of an unpowered site was $40 per night - not cheap but the amenities were good and we were happy to pay the price considering our limited options.
I enjoyed staying at this hostel and I would stay here again.
Walk around the town centre and the lake
Pretty self explanatory, on one afternoon the weather blessed us with some sunshine so we took the opportunity to walk around the little cobbled streets of the town centre and along the lake. The views are amazing.
I didn’t do this last time I was in Queenstown and I am glad I did it this time. The views are breathtaking. A ride up to the top (and back) costs $33. On the way up, you are able to admire the view from the glass pod which gets more spectacular as you make your way further up and off the ground.
Once at the top you will find an outdoor viewing platform, a souvenir shop, a restaurant and a coffee shop. You have the options to combine your ticket for the gondola with other activities to form a package for example you may choose to ride the gondola + have a meal at the restaurant, or another fun option is to go lugeing...read here for more information
FOOD & DRINK
There are a lot of options when it comes to wining and dining in Queenstown. To my great disappointment, we decided not to splurge on fancy meals in favour of keeping within budget, so I didn’t get to sample the exquisite cuisine (or so the reviews tell me) at Rata or Number 5 Church Lane.
Instead we cooked in the hostel kitchen, with one exception - You can’t go to Queenstown and not go to Fergburger! Home of the so voted ‘Best burger in the world’ .
This place really is quirky and as we sat there, waiting and waiting for a Burger I was mind boggled by the fact that although there are so many other venues which serve burgers, this place is constantly heaving.
The queue is always long & the seating area is limited, yet despite this people are more than happy to wait in line for 40 minutes to eat their burgers standing up…I guess the moral of the story is - Their burgers really are THAT good.
I am not going to sit here and pretend that we did much more than eat a good burger, walk around the shops, take a ride to the top of the mountain and make the most of the sofa and free Wifi at the hostel...because we didn’t. After weeks of travelling in a camper van that was exactly what we needed. However, there is much more to do in Queenstown than that, so if you are interested here are some of my suggestions, based on research and what I would personally do during a longer stay (with perhaps a larger budget!)
OPTION 1 - Go on a Cruise of the gorgeous lake Wakatipu
OPTION 2 - Jet Boat Ride on the Shotover River
OPTION 3 - Try the best Tacos in Town at Taco Medic
OPTION 5 - Take a wine tour!
Anyhow, I hope you will find my personal experiences and suggestions helpful if you plan to go to cool and quirky Queenstown!
Next up on the road trip MILFORD SOUND!!