A Visit to Queenstown – Backpackers Guide

Adventure travelers who make New Zealand a stop shouldn’t miss Queenstown. Backpackers from around the world have found the city, the third largest in the Otago region to be exceedingly friendly and a great place to serve as headquarters for their adventure.

Queenstown is surrounded by New Zealand’s southern Alps and is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, a crystal-clear lake, formed by glaciers that left it’s long and jagged lightning-bolt shape behind. The lake and the surrounding mountains make Queenstown a year-round lake and alpine holiday destination.

Adventure Awaits

The summer season in Queenstown falls between December and February. The long days of sunlight and temperatures that range from the mid 70s to around 90F (20-30C) make the area a fantastic place to enjoy outdoor adventures, including jet boating, hiking, canyon swinging, tramping, wine trails, not to mention breath-taking scenery. No matter what type of adventure you’re seeking you’ll likely find it in Queenstown. Backpackers and other young travelers from around the world flock to this area each year because of the many things to see and do while experiencing New Zealand, which is often called the “adventure capital of the world.”

During the winter months Queenstown is a hub for snow sports; and people come from all over the world to ski the powder at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone. Cross country skiing is also a great way to enjoy the area’s pristine beauty in the winter months.

Yesterday and Today

The city of Queenstown was founded in the 1860s as a gold mining camp. The origin of the name is somewhat debated, however the most popular is tells the tale of a gold miner who was so taken with the town that he proclaimed it “fit for Queen Victoria.” Today is a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city surrounded by beauty and adventure. The city has a very active night life with live jazz, wine bars, DJs, and garden bars with locally brewed beer.

Getting There and Finding a Place to Stay

If Queenstown is the first of your places to visit during your backpacking adventure, it’s an easy destination to get to with major airlines flying into Queenstown daily. Or, if you’re starting in another part of the country there are scenic coaches or even rental cars that can get you where you want to be when you tire of walking. The city itself is actually pretty compact so walking makes a great way to explore it.

Backpackers accommodations are plentiful and affordable. No matter if you’re looking for a quiet place to stay or a more lively hostel where you can meet other travelers to share your adventures, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the Queenstown backpackers are located within historic buildings or areas; or, if you prefer more modern accommodations, you’ll find plenty of those as well. There are also opportunities for farm or home stays which will allow you to get to know the locals and learn more about the area’s culture and heritage.


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