Queenstown by paul bica

This article was written by Poppy Bending Beckett, published on 9th August 2010 and has been read 3350 times.

The outdoors-y city Queenstown has got to be, without the shadow of a doubt, New Zealand’s adventure capital. This stunning town enjoys a picture perfect setting and is a must, whether you’re planning on settling in here or just on a brief visit. Queenstown is an eclectic mix of loyal locals and enthusiastic seasonal workers. Every year, hundreds of twenty-somethings flood the place looking for work over the summer and winter seasons, which gives the place a really fun, vibrant feel.   

Why should I choose Queenstown for my year abroad?
The city's always buzzing with people, giving it an active feel. Workers arrive early and fight it out for the numerous jobs in the adventure sports industry, along with the usual bar, café and hotel work so popular with seasoners. The winter season sees the two ski resorts, the Remarkables and Coronet Peak, packed with passionate skiers and snowboarders alike. The resorts are small, in comparison to those in Europe and Canada, but the parks are big and the backcountry endless. So whether you’re just starting out, or a bit of a pro, there’s something for everyone. The summer season sees long sunny days and swimming in lake Wakatipu’s crystal clear waters. Take a steam boat trip out on the lake down to Glenorchy, the site of much of the filming for the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy or simply pick one of the many bars and restaurants along the waterfront to enjoy chilled Kiwi living. High above Queenstown, accessed by a Gondola is the skyline restaurant and viewing platform. Offering stunning panoramic views, this is an excellent spot for a bite to eat as the sun is setting. However, if you feel your adrenaline needs a boost, the skyline luge is a fun-packed, gravity- fuelled ride suitable for all ages and abilities. If you think you’re a bit more hardcore, the brave can do the skyline ledge bungee. A small ledge teetering on the edge of the hillside, with the streets of Queenstown hundreds of meters below – this is not for the fainthearted!

Going for a drink is one of the finest things about the Kiwi lifestyle and Queenstown has a lot to offer... Morrisons bar is a wee Irish bar found upstairs in the mall on Beach Street serving the best pint of Guinness in town. This small bar bags heaps of character, and is frequented by a loyal group of regulars all striving to join the elite in the infamous NZ Guinness club. Slightly out of the way, this place is a hidden gem with fantastic live music every Friday and Saturday night. The pig and Whistle is next on the list, with an atmosphere very much like a British pub, the sunny terrace out the front ensures good pints in good company. There’s also an excellent mulled wine to keep you warm on a cold winters after ski night. Bunker is an almost secret, tiny bar that serves amazing cocktails in an intimate and cosy setting. Local DJs hit the decks the weekends.

If you’re out and about for a bite to eat, make a detour to Winnies famous for its gourmet pizzas. Come along on a sunny evening, and enjoy the incredible opening roof! This place turns into a pretty lively bar as evening turns into night and it’s worth sticking around for. Fergburger might hit the right spot with you burger snobs out there as the meat and bun combo has a bit of a reputation as the ‘best’ gourmet burgers in town. It’s as simple as that. A must for the end of the night where you can munch away to chilled beats until daylight. Patagonia chocolate cafe: This place not only serves up the best hot chocolates in town, it also does some pretty amazing pastries and gelato all at a beautiful location down by the lake shore. The Cow (the restaurant, not the animal) serves up wonderful, unpretentious food in a cosy fire-lit setting. The freshly baked loaf and garlic butter is a must have along with a bottle of red in front of the fireDux de lux, Latin for ‘masters of the finest’ this place does not disappoint. This attractive restaurant serves up the best vegetarian and sea food dishes in town. Clubs here are pretty good, though if we had to recommend a couple, you should check out Tardis, the number one joint for old school Hip-Hop fans in town. Debajo’s underground dance music and 1970s sleek decor will have you bouncing along to some pretty good beats til the small hours.

So, to recap, Queenstown is awash with fun-packed activities, from jet boating to skydiving to white-water rafting to mountain biking – there is something for everyone. The scenery is spectacular, and the locals are more than friendly. With endless options for accommodation ranging from cheerful hostels to boutique hotels, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. For those looking to stay longer term, apartments are easy to come by and there is an abundance of willing flatmates! Queenstown really is a magical place, and a visit here will certainly not leave you disappointed.

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