As you travel around the South Island, look for the sign you can trust. i-SITE is New Zealand's official network of visitor centres. i-sites in the Southern Lakes district
- QUICK FACTS ABOUT QUEENSTOWN
- 17,040 in the Queenstown Lakes District
- Four distinct seasons; under the spring sun, the region starts to bloom. At this time skiing is often at its best, restaurant tables creep on to the sidewalks and beaches fill with relaxing sun-seekers; Long summer days to seriously rejuvenate the soul; a backdrop of reds and golds in Autumn, it’s the season to relax and soak in the beauty of the autumn leaf fall; winter brings a magical season of snow-capped mountains and blue skies.
- Famous for
- Internationally known for its stunning locations, Queenstown is the star of screens the world over. Feature films such as Vertical Limit and The Lord of the Rings have had a considerable impact on the region leading to the development of a sophisticated skill base. Queenstown is home to three-time Emmy Award winner Julian Grimmond (Amazing Race) and internationally famed actor Sam Neill.
Queenstown is also internationally known as the adventure capital of the world. From the mild to the wild there’s adventure here for everyone irrespective of adrenalin threshold. Step out, jump off or climb up to explore a wildly exciting natural physical environment that offers every conceivable adventure pursuit. Queenstown is home to the world’s first commercial jetboating operation, first commercial bungy jump, and the world’s first commercial river surfing.
- Queenstown is well served by major airlines. Air New Zealand flies direct from Sydney twice weekly for most of the year and extends this service to encompass Brisbane and Melbourne in winter. Qantas has a year round weekly service out of Sydney and in winter direct flights from Melbourne. Domestically there are several connections each day from New Zealand’s main cities. To soak up more of the region’s beauty, access Queenstown by self drive or a scenic coach tour.
In Queenstown, access around the resort is easy. A small heart of the town, with all shopping streets, restaurants and bars within walking distance. To explore further afield, drive to scenic Glenorchy (45 minutes) and historic Arrowtown (20 minutes).
GoDo is an online booking service for activities. We work with hundreds of activity suppliers across New Zealand so that you can book the perfect activity online instantly – be it tandem sky diving, hot air ballooning or V8 racing – on the particular day that you want to go. We’re trying to make the process of planning your weekends, holidays and days off as painless as possible with thousands of activities to choose from.
GoDo Activities Queenstown
GoDo Activities Fiordland
This region offers an abundance of food and wine experiences. In the Queenstown and Arrowtown areas, discover the ultimate in taste sensations with more than 150 great eateries to choose from in Queenstown and Arrowtown, not counting the winery restaurants between Lake Hayes and Gibbston.
And of course sampling a decadent drop or two of one of Central Otago's award-winning wines will provide the finishing touch to a heavenly dining experience.
Central Otago wines continue to be celebrated the world over. Skilled and innovative wine producers put the shaly soils and perfect wine growing conditions of the world's southernmost wine-producing region to good use, adding their own flair to create a rich family of varietals including the much sought after and acclaimed Pinot Noir, as well as Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and celebratory bubbles.
There are 75 wineries in the region serving 177 vineyards. Local vineyards have between 900 and 1,000 hectares in production, producing more than 3,500 tonnes of grapes annually. Thirty two 'cellar door' operations can be visited under your own steam or with a wine tour. The area’s first commercial vineyard, Gibbston Valley Wines near Queenstown, features a wine cave and tour, seriously good lunches, wine tasting, an elegant gift shop and a cheesery. Wanaka is the location for the world famous Rippon Vineyard, one of the first in the Southern Lakes – and arguably the most beautiful setting for a vineyard anywhere in the world.
Central Otago is a place of sheer indulgence – whether it’s fine dining, a casual al-fresco lunch or café culture. You will be spoilt for choice when enjoying local fare and award winning wines at the great selection of cafés, restaurants, cellar doors and country pubs. There is no more perfect climate or location in which to enjoy al-fresco dining in New Zealand. If the mood takes you fill your backpack with a selection of gourmet foods, wine and fresh fruit and take to the hills to find a rock with a view to have lunch upon.
Most wineries offer visitors wine tasting and the opportunity to buy their wines. This cellar door experience provides access to the high quality wines of the region’s many small producers. It is more personal than going to a store or restaurant, as you are likely to meet the growers and/or winemaker.
Join an organised wine tour or nominate a driver to visit the area’s distinctive wine-growing sub-regions, each bearing their own matchless wine characteristics brought forth by the rugged, mountain landscape. Savour tastings at individual wineries, sampling the contrasts and complements of flavours and complexities, in a stunning, natural environment.
Spend time in the area’s largest wine-growing sub-region, the Cromwell Basin, where you can enjoy wineries at Bannockburn in the south, and Lowburn, Wanaka Road and Bendigo to the north. Going south, visit vines in the localities of Alexandra and Clyde, nestled among rugged schist tors in a dry intermontane basin.
Here are a selection of vineyards that we recommend you include in your South Island journey. For further inspiration, please visit http://www.centralotagonz.com/New-Zealand/Cellar-Door_sbt_arm=0_stm=0_st=126_.html and http://www.queenstown-nz.co.nz/information/searchresults/?category=vineyards&district=queenstown
Mt Rosa Winery, Queenstown
Mt Rosa is a new Central Otago winery steeped in the agricultural history and culture of southern New Zealand. At 36 hectares, the vineyard is one of the largest in the Gibbston Valley. Directors Jeremy Railton and Guy Boanas are passionate about creating quality wine, helped by viticulturist Gary Crabbe and winemaker Dean Shaw. Look out for its pinot noir, chardonnary and sauvignon blanc.
Brennan Wines, Queenstown
A family owned and operated vineyard and winery, situated in the dramatic Gibbston sub-region of Central Otago. The majority of the vineyard is over 10 years old, representing some of the most mature vines in the area.
Brennan Wines was established by Sean Brennan with the intention of producing limited quantities of iconic wines that truly represent the potential of this exceptional wine region.
Peregrine Wines, Queenstown
Located by the rugged mountains and lakes of Queenstown. Peregrine lies under the snow capped mountains of the region with its vineyards in the valleys below, a continental climate giving the area hot and dry summers with cool nights.
Como Villa Estate, Alexandra - Specialising in high quality wines situated only 3kms from Alexandra on
Earnscleugh Road. The property has unique historical value having had a vineyard before the turn of the century.
The Shed, Cromwell - Situated just 5 minutes from the bridge on the Tarras-Cromwell Highway “The Shed” sits in a stunning tranquil setting offering a true Central Otago experience for visitors.
Rippon Vineyard, Wanaka
The land upon which Rippon Vineyard stands has been in the Mills family since 1913. Granted the custodianship of this very special piece of land, the primary interest for all at Rippon is to foster wines which are an accurate reflection of the property.
Fiordland has an excellent network of walking tracks within the National Park giving this area a reputation as the ‘Walking Capital of the World.’ Amongst these are the ‘Great Walks’ the Milford, Kepler and Routeburn Tracks. Te Anau makes a great start and end point for these trips. Walkers can stock up on provisions, and check the weather and track conditions before leaving.
In addition to these multi-day tracks there is a range of short walks on diverse terrain, providing walking opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. These walks enable access to the rainforest, lake and alpine vistas for those with limited time or fitness.
Fiordland weather is notoriously unpredictable and walkers should be prepared for rapid changes in conditions including cold temperatures, strong winds and heavy rain at any time of year. It is essential to carry warm and waterproof clothing (even on a day trip), and sunscreen.
If you are travelling through Wanaka, park up your campervan and escape into nature at its best. There’s no need to get out your hiking boots either, with lots of gentle lakeside strolls to choose from. Here’s our suggested short and easy tracks that will take less than 2 hours:
Mount Iron Walk
1.5hr return – 4.5km
Mount Iron is an impressive, glacier-carved, 240-metre rocky knoll. From its summit a great panorama unfolds: Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, the Cardrona and Upper Clutha Valleys and all the surrounding peaks; many of them in Mount Aspiring National Park in the west.
Eely Point Walk
20min – 1km
Eely point is a popular, sheltered boating and picnicking area. From Wanaka town follow the lake shore to the right, past the marina, and on to Eely Point. Carrying on round the point for another five minutes takes you to Bremner Bay, a good family swimming spot.
Beacon Point Walk
30min – 1.5km
A well-formed shoreline track linking Bremner Bay to Beacon Point, with great lake and mountain views along the way. It suits all ages and abilities, baby buggies and bikes. From Penrith Beach it’s a 30 minute walk to link with the Outlet Track.
1hr – 2.5km
Spectacular scenery and popular with walkers and bikers, the track follows the Clutha River/Mata-Au from its start/finishes at the Lake Wanaka outlet and Hikuwai Reserve in Albert Town. This stretch of the river is world-renowned for its trout fishing.
Waterfall Creek Track
1hr – 2.5km
It starts from the west end of Roys Bay, and soon reaches Wanaka Station Park, a beautiful picnic area, on the left. The track then winds along the lake’s western shores for superb views, the track passes Edgewater Resort and Rippon Vineyard and on to Waterfall Creek.
Queenstown has a growing reputation as a year-round international golf destination, where it’s easy to find the perfect round. For some that means the immaculately groomed greens of a resort course while others long for a simple fairway kept in check by a flock of high country merino sheep.
The New Zealand Golf Open at The Hills (jeweller Michael Hill’s private course) in late 2007 and early 2009 and 2010 has helped to shine the international golfing spotlight on the region.
Right next door, the Sir Bob Charles designed Millbrook course is considered by some to be one of the finest alpine golf courses in the world. The course has had nine new holes added, and the existing championship 18 has undergone a makeover.
The region’s newest golf course at Jack’s Point, set on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, combines breathtaking terrain and cutting-edge golf architecture to create a golfing paradise
Wanaka also provides a superb golf experience. The Wanaka Golf Club is a 18 hole course set among mature trees with magnificent lake and mountain views. Suitable for golfers of all abilities, pro shop, clubhouse and full hire facilities including motorised carts.
If you are travelling further south, dust off your clubs at Te Anau golf course with beautiful views of the lake and mountains from almost every green and is perfectly positioned to catch the late afternoon sun. With very reasonable green fees and a warm welcome to visitors the Te Anau golf course provides a relaxing afternoon.