Try to make time to go for a walk around the lakeside in Queenstown. You don't have to walk miles and miles! Go as far as you feel comfortable, enjoy the scenery, sit by the lake at one of the many seats and enjoy!
We came across the Statue of the founder of Queenstown near the wharf area.
He was William Gilbert Rees [827-1898]who with his wife Frances settled near this point in 1861 and built the first buildings by the lake. Rees was paid compensation of 10,000 pounds for the part of his farm that included Queenstown and he moved to Kawarau Falls.
The statue of him and a Sheep is located here.
Accessible from Queenstown is the reknown 3day 32 kilometre Routeburn hiking track. Spectacular views through stunning mountains and valleys, this trek is well worth the effort.
Crossing both Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, it is part of Te Wāhipounamu – South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, making it quite a special activity to include in your travel plans for NZ.
The start of the track on the Queenstown side, is at the head of Lake Wakatipu, beyond Glenorchy.
It's necessary to book your beds in the huts, so use the website link to book your dates. Numbers are limited hence restrictions on how many can stay in the huts, or are let on the track. You do need a reasonable level of fitness, and very good weatherproof gear. Bad weather including snow can occur at any time of year even in the summer. Wind and waterproof jacket is essential, as are at least some thermal undergarments, and good hiking boots. As you can see from my photos, you do climb up into the mountains, all via walking tracks, no technical climbing. You will need to arrange transport back to Queenstown from the TeAnau/Milford road. When I did this walk, we did the Routeburn and then the Greenstone Valley walk, taking us back to Lake Wakatipu where a boat returned us to the Glenorchy road to meet our transport.
On my last visit in Queenstown I learnt about a great opportunity to go on alpine walks even if you have left your gear at home.
Alpine Sports do not only sell everything you could need on a track but also hire all the stuff.
I think you should at least have your own tramping boots although you can hire them for $5 per day, but you surely know that you should not walk long distances in new shoes.
They also hire tents ($15 per day), backpacks, sleeping bags and liners, trekking poles, raincoats and -pants, gaiters, stoves, cooking pots, sleeping mats, ice axes and crampons, most at $5 per day.
The only thing you have to do yourself is walking... ;-)
If you do not do many overnight walks it is surely a great way to hire the gear instead of buying everything for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
In addition to all the overhyped and overpriced “adventure” activities Queenstown offers, it also offers some outstanding and free hikes. One of the most rewarding day hikes is the Ben Lomond Summit Track, an 11-kilometer hike with a 1400-meter ascent. The there-and-back walk will take anywhere from 6-8 hours depending on your level of fitness and desire to slow down and enjoy the fabulous views. Your calves will be burning on the way up and your knees aching on the way down, but you will be rewarded with some of the finest views the area has to offer.
So I lived here for 2 months, and it seems like people do extreme stuff during the day and at night drink as much as they can. The city only has around 17000 inhabitants but the tourist industry is well and vibrant. This is a very very young town. I would say nominal age would be around 22. This is a party town that stays out late. Compared to the US the slopes are horrible, it might take 5 minutes to get down a run and 15 minutes to take the lift back up. I skied Remarkables, Coronet, and the other one and they were all pretty miserable. You'd think if these mountains got fresh snow more runs would be open and it would be better conditions but you're wrong. They close off a majority of the runs on these small mountains when it snows due to avalances. Everyone goes to the slopes when there's powder so it's just miserable as if you want to speed down the slopes, people yell and scream at you because they're every where. This is a horrible place to go skiing. The bungy jumping is incredible. I purchased the thrillogy package (A.J. Hackett Bungy) and even if you don't buy the package, no trip to Queenstown would be complete without the Nevis Jump!!! Milford Sound is amazing, go on the boat tour, reminds me of the fjords in Norway. Also, if you hire a car drive to Paradise. We would camp there and make big fires, hike etc. Most beautiful place I've been on my travels, and you will most likely not see another living thing out there.
Although Wanaka is actually another town it doesn't have its own airport so the best access is to fly to Queenstown and drive from there. It takes about an hour.
Wanaka was a nice day trip for us, mainly to see the scenery and make use of our rental car which we only had for a day. Other reasons to visit Wanaka (in winter) is for the skiing as popular Treble Cone and Cardrona are located near here. There are plenty of other outdoor activities in the area, such as hiking in Mt Aspiring National Park and Trout Fishing in the lakes and rivers.
Many a nice hiking trail in the Queenstown area. This one is along the way to Ben Lomond...
I think that most any trail in the Queenstown area would make for nice photo ops on a sunny day...