After almost a year of being in New Zealand and having EVERY person tell me I need to visit Queenstown, I finally made it. I decided to spend a week in Queenstown to really see if it lives up to all the hype.
Overall, I liked Queenstown but I think it’s a little overhyped. While everything I did and saw was amazing, everything cost a lot. I really had to narrow down what I REALLY wanted to do and stuff I could pass on. This is something I guess you could expect from a place like Queenstown but it is also a little depressing when you’re not rich and don’t have the money to blow on all the awesome activities at your feet. I still managed to have a pretty cool time in Queenstown but I would not say longer than a week for fear of my bank account actually hitting 0.
So, this is what I did in Queenstown…
All the Adrenaline
Queenstown is known for being the adrenaline capital of New Zealand. If there is an activity that could get your adrenaline pumping, Queenstown will have it. Of course, I had to try at least a few of the activities.
Canyon Swing – I’ve known about the Canyon Swing years before planning my trip to New Zealand thanks to Departures. It looked super fun and there was no way I was going to pass up on the opportunity. My favourite part about the Canyon Swing is choosing how you want to go over. Forward, backwards. Upside down. Cut away. On a chair (which was my favourite). It’s all a possibility. Let your imagination run wild. The staff actually made it really fun as well and will mess with you while out on the platform. Seriously, a top activity in Queenstown.
Luge – Skyline Queenstown is a great place to get an overview look of the town and the scenery. Taking the gondola up just for that only is worth it but, being Queenstown, there is the option for a luge on the mountain as well. I was a little skeptical how good the luge would be but I actually really enjoyed it. I only bought 3 runs for the track and wish I had more – or the track was longer.
Paragliding – Paragliding is something that I didn’t think about doing until I actually arrived in Queenstown and saw it as an option. This is a bit more relaxed out of the adventure and adrenaline on offer but it was amazing. I chose the paragliding that started over Coronet Peak Ski Field. It started off as a relaxed glide over the skiers before having some fun with me controlling the parachute and swings and spirals just before landing. Seriously, paragliding can get a little crazy. I ended up parallel to the ground at some points. I’m really glad I decided to include paragliding.
Party – While it may not be exactly adrenaline inducing, Queenstown is just as well know for their party scene as the adrenaline activities themselves. I didn’t actually go out a lot while in Queenstown and saved it all for a one night pub crawl. A pub crawl is probably the most economical way to party in Queenstown. It included a lot of the bars you’ll hear about including one of the ice bars in town (there are 2 ice bars in this little town). The other perk was that you didn’t need to wait in line and you got a free shot or drink at each one. It’s also really good if you’re like me and travelling solo. You can quickly make friends with the other people on the pub crawl and have a good social night out. Well worth the $25 in my opinion.
Of course, I didn’t do everything there is to do in Queenstown. There are jet boats and the highest bungee jump in New Zealand in Queenstown. But I was limited by time and money – like with every travel adventure.
While Queenstown is popular for all the adrenaline activities, there is more to it to enjoy. Actually, I may have enjoyed the non-adrenalin part of Queenstown even more.
Scenery – I was amazing by the scenery alone. Between jumping off cliffs and racing down mountain, take a look around. The mountains, the lake, the forest – it’s all beautiful. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to such wilderness at home. Sure, Canada has it but it’s not outside my door living in Toronto. My favourite thing was walking along the water and through the forest in the late afternoon. It was beautiful and one way to relax after an adrenaline packed day.
Restaurants – I was trying to not spend too much money and usually opt to cook my meals at the hostel instead of eating out. I found it hard to resists in Queenstown. I caved when it can to Fat Badgers’ pizza and Ferburger’s burger. I had to try it. Both were amazing. There were plenty more restaurants around Queenstown I wanted to try but actually managed to resist.