Queenstown (Māori:Tāhuna) is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island.
It is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak,Walter Peak and just above the town; Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill.
Queenstown has an urban population of 13,150 (June 2015 estimate), making it the 29th largest urban area in New Zealand, and the third largest urban area in Otago, behind Dunedin and Oamaru.
The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 square kilometres (3,361.01 sq mi) not counting its inland lakes (Lake Hāwea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka). The region has an estimated resident population of 32,400 (June 2015 estimate). Its neighbouring towns include Arrowtown, Glenorchy,Kingston, Wanaka,Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill. Queenstown is known for its commerce-oriented tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism.
|POPULATION :||• Urban 13,150|
• District 32,400
|FOUNDED :||January 1863|
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone NZST (UTC+12:00)|
• Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13:00)
|LANGUAGE :||English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)|
|RELIGION :||Anglican 13.8%, Roman Catholic 12.6%, Presbyterian, Congregational, and Reformed 10%, Christian (no denomination specified) 4.6%, Methodist 3%, Pentecostal 2%, Baptist 1.4%, other Christian 3.8%, Maori Christian 1.6%, Hindu 1.6%, Buddhist 1.3%, other religions 2.2%, none 32.2%, other or unidentified 9.9%|
|AREA :||• Urban 25.55 km2 (9.86 sq mi)|
• District 8,704.97 km2 (3,361.01 sq mi)
|COORDINATES :||45°01′52″S 168°39′45″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.1%|
• Female: 50.9%
|AREA CODE :||03|
|POSTAL CODE :||9300|
|DIALING CODE :|
Queenstown is a world renowned resort town in the South Island of New Zealand. The town sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipuand is surrounded by the Southern Alps.
What was once a small, remote, South Island town has transitioned since the 1980s, first to a busy ski destination, and now to a year round tourist mecca and centre for adventure tourism. It is a world famous destination attracting around 1.9 million visitors every year, undoubtedly the tourism capital of the South Island if not New Zealand, and a must-see stop for most visitors to New Zealand.
Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, one of Otago and New Zealand's most scenic lakes, surrounded by mountains, it's not hard to see why its stunning scenery draws people here year round. Queenstown happily caters for all visitors with a full range of attractions, activities, accommodation and eating options for any budget, from backpackers to five star luxury. This popularity is not without its problems though - in many respects Queenstown can be a tourist trap. However, reasonable prices and a few bargains can be found for those prepared to look for them.
Queenstown is a bustling town throughout the year, peaking over summer and during the ski-season. There is a vibrant night life with the town's small central area packed with bars and restaurants. If you plan on getting a good nights sleep, then you might consider staying slightly out of town. It's common to see people on the streets up to 05:00 returning from disco or pub. If you're looking for a relaxing scenic holiday, Wanaka (just over an hours' drive away) is smaller and more tranquil with less of a manic teenage party atmosphere.
Māori settlement and presence
The area was discovered and first settled by Māori before non-Maoris arrived. The first non-Maori to see Lake Wakatipu was European Nathanael Chalmers who was guided by Reko, the chief of the Tuturau, over the Waimea Plains and up the Mataura River in September 1853. Evidence of stake nets, baskets for catching eels, spears and ashes indicated the Glenorchy area was visited by Māori. It is likely Ngāi Tahu Māori visited Queenstown en route to collect Pounamu (greenstone). There was a settlement called Te Kirikiri Pa occupied by the tribe of Kāti Mamoe which was situated in the location of the current Queenstown Gardens, but by the time European migrants arrived in the 1860s this settlement was no longer being used.
Subsequent European settlers
European explorers William Gilbert Rees and Nicholas von Tunzelmann were the first non-Maoris to settle the area. Rees established a high country farm in the location of Queenstown's current town centre in 1860, but the discovery of gold in the Arrow River in 1862 encouraged Rees to convert his wool shed into a hotel named the Queen's Arms, now known as Eichardt's. Many Queenstown streets bear names from the gold mining era (such as Camp Street) and some historic buildings remain. William's Cottage, the Lake Lodge of Ophir, Queenstown Police Station, and St Peter's Anglican Church lie close together in a designated historic precinct.
There are various apocryphal accounts of how the town of Queenstown was named however the following is the most likely:
When William Rees first arrived in the area and built the homestead the area was known as The Station although miners soon referred to it as The Camp from 1860 to 1862.
The miners and especially the Irish had taken an interest in the ceremony held for a small town called The Cove in Ireland which was renamed to Queenstown in honour of Queen Victoria in 1850. They may have had their own ceremony at the intersection of Rees and Beach Streets replicating some of the elements in the renaming of the Irish town.
Subsequent to this a public meeting was held for the purpose of naming thetownship on the lake in January 1863 (probably the weekend of the 3rd and 4th) in which the town was officially given the name of Queenstown in reference to Ireland's Queenstown. By the 9 and 10 January 1863 the town was being reported with the name of Queenstown from several reports written by a correspondent in the Otago Witness on Monday the 5th and Tuesday the 6th. It was during the meeting there may have been a reference by a miner of the town being "fit for a Queen" (this is one of the most popular accounts of how the town was named).
The Māori name for Queenstown of Tāhuna means shallow bay.
Because of its relatively moderate altitude ( 310 metres) but with high mountain surroundings, it has an oceanic climate . Summer has long warm days with temperatures that can reach 30 °C while winters are cold with temperatures often in single digits with frequent snowfall, although there is no permanent snow cover during the year. As with the rest of Central Otago, Queenstown lies within the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, but being closer to the west coast the town is more susceptible to rain-bearing fronts compared to nearby Cromwell, Wanaka and Alexandra. The hottest recorded temperature in Queenstown is 34.1 °C (93 °F), while the coldest is −8.4 °C (17 °F).
Climate data for Queenstown
|Average high °C (°F)||21.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||15.8|
|Average low °C (°F)||9.8|
|Source: NIWA Climate Data|
Queenstown is situated on the shore line of Lake Wakatipu, the third largest lake by surface area in New Zealand. It is at a relatively low altitude, for a ski and snowboarding centre, just 310 metres above sea level, on the shores of the lake, but nestled among mountains, and there are close-by gorges and some plains suitable for agriculture.
Residential housing in the Queenstown is quite expensive due to the town being a tourist destination and it is rated the second highest average cost per property in New Zealand with only Auckland being higher as of 2016.
Central Queenstown contains many businesses, apartments and homes but is near many suburbs or large areas of housing which are: Fernhill,Sunshine Bay, Queenstown Hill, Goldfield Heights, Marina Heights, Kelvin Heights, Arthurs Point and Frankton. Just outside Queenstown are the areas of: Arrowtown, Closeburn, Dalefield, Gibbston, Jack's Point, Lake Hayes Estate, Shotover Country and Quail Rise.
There are several internet cafes to be found in Queenstown with cheap rates. Some hotels charge plenty for internet, others offer it free. Most of the town is covered by Wi-Fi. Pick up a prepaid card at reasonable rates.