Queenstown – Where Adventure-sports Are King

Wake-boarding on Lake Wakatipu

Ever fancied jumping out of a plane, platform or cliff? Riding a go-cart round a downhill racetrack? Wakeboarding on a giant lake surrounded by snow-dusted mountains? Come to Queenstown.

Queenstown Bay

The Ohau crew had decided to touchdown in the buzzing lake-side city of Queenstown for the weekend.

We checked in to a fairly priced (for Queenstown) hostel called Nomads. The doomrooms were 8-10 beds at $28-33 NZD pp per night, which quickly skyrocketed for the choice of double rooms.

But hey, a 26 year old traveller crashing in a messy (un-curtained 👎🏼) bunk bed-ed dorm with 18 year olds wasn’t all bad… I just felt old!

Nightview from Queenstown Gardens

There’s two types of travellers here, those come to experience the nightlife, as Queenstown sports some pretty lively pubs and bars in town. And the ones who come for the extreme sports.

We hit up an authentic looking Irish pub called Pog Mahones. Some come to participate in the 1000 pints of Guinness challenge. If you drink Guinness here, every pint is stamped on to a scorecard.

Winnie’s pizza restaurant had a lively bar with a DJ upstairs which you could dance the night away once the lights had dimmed (fortunately). Pizza’s could be ordered well into the drunken night.

Tiki Trail

A little walk from the centre is a Queenstown’s Skyline; a Gondola ride that takes you up for some spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest lake at 77km.

Pine forest along the Tiki trail

I decided to walk the Tiki trail through thick forests of pine trees. An hour long walk to the top.

Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

This view of Queenstown, the lake and The Remarkables ski field was well earned on this beautiful bright day.

Luge up at Skyline Queenstown

The trail passes many zip line and bungee jump stations for the daring. There is also a rather wild mountain biking trail running down the hill.

We decided to try the Luge which was stationed at the top of the Skyline, boasting great views whilst roaring around banked corners and through tunnels in a little go-cart.

Street Market by the lake

If you are the type to avoid bars jam-packed with loud teens and ski staff, and don’t fancy hurling yourself off a bridge with an elastic band tied to your legs, there is plenty of shopping to do too.

On Saturday the square near the lake turns into a quaint craft market, selling local wares. The stores in town sell a wide variety of designer ski and activewear.


The lunch place of choice for locals and tourists alike is Fergburger. Their generous portions of juicy beef, venison, chicken, lamb and veggie artisan burgers will draw quite a crowd to the front doors. Be prepared to wait. Worth it!


I enjoyed my short stay here in this expensive little adventure-town. The views were fantastic and I was surprised for free by a couple of interesting street performers here too.

A Mauri choir sang “Hallelujah” in their native language and a guitarist with his singing dog played next to the lake.

Next time when I have a little longer I will take advantage of the extreme sports here. I would quite like to try the world’s largest swing – with a 900m arch.

Traveller’s Tips:

Nomads. Backpackers Hostel. Check in 2pm. Check out 10am. Has kitchen, cinema room, sauna, showers/bathrooms, coin-laundry, communal space. Free dinners at LOCO bar.

Dorm mixed/female: $33 per night. Small lockers in rooms and some wall sockets.

Luge. 1 go $12, 2 goes $23, 3 goes $32… Can get a deal of 6 goes + return gondola ride for $54. So much fun. Coin lockers $2. Photographs $6 each. 

Restaurant at the top of Skyline Gondola. Toilets here. 


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