A lot of people, when quizzed about the New Zealand’s south island, would wax poetic about places like Milford Sound and Wanaka, and would be very quick to dismiss Queenstown with words like ‘flashy’ and ‘crowded’ being thrown around. Coupled with it’s world-wide reputation of being ‘the adrenaline capital’, you imagine it to be a little bit like a subdued Vegas. The difference being that instead of people gambling a few hundred dollars on the blackjack table, folks gather around to gamble their lives in the high stakes game of gravity. The adrenaline companies that make up the inner town work like production lines to throw people off bridges, ledges, and cliff face. Like Vegas, it’s a mecca for the young, the reckless and the soon-to-be broke.
Which is why as we rolled into Queenstown in our little orange camper van, I was more than a little skeptical. We had come to New Zealand to frolic ‘Sound of Music’ style through mountains and countryside, not necessarily to be shoved around a bustling town by flocks of adrenaline junkies. I’m just not really one to be that impressed by towns and cities. Nature and I are pals. Cities generally leave me broke and pining for that new pair of shoes I accidentally glanced at in a shop window.
I’m going to spoil the ending of this article and have you know that I absolutely loved Queenstown. Here’s why:
1.It’s about as cool as it gets.
Queenstown attracts cool people. There is a general ‘I’m loving life’ vibe in Queenstown that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. Maybe its a combination of the adrenaline pumping through people’s veins and the exhilaration of being in a town nestled between snow covered mountains and deep blue lakes. Maybe everybody is just ever so slightly tipsy from one too many beers. Maybe it’s the result of eating Fergburgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whatever it is, Queenstown is cool. The people are cool. And when you’re there, you feel pretty cool too.
2. The views are absolutely gorgeous.
Perch yourself on one of Queenstown’s hills or viewpoints and the resulting view might actually take your breath away. Catching the Skyline gondola up to the top of the hill is a good option if you’re feeling too lazy to waltz up Queenstown hill. Watch as the valleys open up and you get a view over the tops of the pine trees that coat the hills like grass. If you go in the daytime, paragliders swoop and dance overhead- magnificent!
3. Fergburgers are delicious.
I eat a lot of burgers. My other blogging jobs revolve around a eating and reviewing a lot of food, and burgers seem to be having a huge moment in the foodie spotlight. I’ve also found that burgers can be pretty hyped-up; People get excited over some pretty average burger experiences. I’m pretty sure no other burger has been hyped-up more than the Fergburger. People queue up for hours to eat a Fergburger and there is always a line of hungry fanatics lined up outside. You can even buy Fergburger undies if you’re really itching to show your commitment. I can confirm that these burgers are worth it. The patty is perfectly cooked, they offer a blue cheese option (my absolute favourite), and the bun stays nice and intact. Yum.
4. Throwing yourself off things is surprisingly fun.
Heights make me feel kind of sick. If other people are getting butterflies in there stomach, I’ve got full grown pterodactyls flying around in there. So when I found myself strapped into a flimsy harness and standing on a ledge above a 120m drop, I thought to myself ‘Why..?’ Queenstown, that’s why! It sucks you in and it makes you forget that heights make your tummy want to evacuate itself and your palms get clammy. Nevertheless, doing the Nevis Swing was one of the most terrifying, and most fun, things I have ever done.
5. It’s full of hidden gems
Getting off the main shopping streets and into the little lanes that snake through Queenstown Town will reveal cute cafes, bars and shops that don’t just sell Merino wool products. Pop in for a pancake breakfast at Joe’s garage, have a beer at the hipster paradise that is the World Bar, and cap it off with a walk through the Queenstown Gardens that take up the town’s most picturesque peninsula.
I have no doubt that I’ll be back there in the future, hopefully with a pair of skies strapped to my feet. Ever so slightly flashy, a little bit wallet-ruining and more fun than I could have imagined; Queenstown you’re cool.
Have you been to Queenstown? Did you love it or loathe it? Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 thoughts on “Love it or loathe it: Queenstown”
The gardens are so cool, indeed 🙂
Queenstown is crowded and a bit flashy (I feel like we should add ‘compared to the rest of New Zealand’), but what bothered me the most was the ‘fakeness’ I felt overall. I just had the feeling that everything there was made to please, for tourists to enjoy. I also didn’t get to meet as many locals as I’d hoped. I didn’t stay there for long though, enjoyed Wanaka for nearly two months and found it more relaxed and peaceful – so my opinion might be a bit too biased.
Like any city in the world, Queenstown is the right place to be for some, and not so for others. But it is gorgeous anyway, Fergsburgers’ are amazing and there are plenty of little cosy spots to look out for 😉
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