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Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island. It is built around an inlet on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin lake shaped like a staggered lightning bolt, and has spectactular views of nearby mountains.

There are various apocryphal accounts of how the town was named, the most popular suggesting that a local gold digger exclaimed that the town was "fit for Queen Victoria". It is now known for its commerce-oriented tourism, especially adventure and ski tourism. It is popular with young international and New Zealand travellers alike.

The town is the largest centre in Central Otago, and the second largest in Otago, but for a few administrative purposes (such as primary healthcare) it is administered as part of Southland. According to the 2006 census, the usually resident population of the Queenstown urban area (including Frankton and Kelvin Heights) is 10422, an increase of 22.1% since 2001.

Its neighbouring towns and districts include Arrowtown, Wanaka, Alexandra, and Cromwell. The nearest cities are Dunedin and Invercargill.

The Queenstown-Lakes District has a land area of 8,704.97 km² (3,361.01 sq mi) not counting its inland lakes (Lake Hawea, Lake Wakatipu, and Lake Wanaka). It had a 2006 census population of 22,956 usual residents.

Tourism

A resort town, Queenstown is a centre for adventure tourism. Skiing, jet boating, bungy jumping, mountain biking, tramping and fly fishing are all strong promotional themes.

Queenstown is a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, with people from all over the country and many parts of the world travelling to ski at the four main mountain skifields (Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone).

In recent years Queenstown's hostels have become a popular destination for young Australian and American tourists. Queenstown provides adventure tourism during the day and a vibrant nightlife scene during the evenings.

Locally, Queenstown has a reputation as one of New Zealand's wine and cuisine centres. Neighbouring, historic Arrowtown features excellent restaurants and bars, and Queenstown lies close to the centre of a small wine producing region, reputed to be the world's southernmost. Pinot noir produced in this area fetches premium prices.

Queenstown Airport has scheduled flights to Auckland, Christchurch and Sydney year-round and Wellington, Melbourne and Brisbane seasonally. Queenstown and the surrounding area contain many locations used in the filming of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Highlights

Climate

Queenstown has an alpine climate with winters that have clear blue skies and snow capped mountains. Summer has long warm days with temperatures that can reach 30°C (2007/2008).

Transport

Queenstown Airport was upgraded in the 1990s to handle jet aircraft, including international flights from Australia. Due to sustained heavy growth, further terminal expansion was undertaken in 2005 and 2006, with more construction currently ongoing. The airport is serviced by regular domestic services from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Air New Zealand and Qantas also operate regular international services from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, the frequency being much increased over the ski season. Queenstown airport is New Zealand's busiest helicopter base, and is also heavily utilised for tourist 'flightseeing', especially to Milford Sound and Mount Cook, using both fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

The primary road access to the Queenstown area is via State Highway 6 (SH6), which travels from Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge to Frankton, where a 9-km spur (SH6A) leads to the CBD and connects with the Glenorchy Road. SH6 continues south, crossing the Kawarau river before heading down the eastern side of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston before emerging on the plains of Southland. A difficult road over the Crown Range leads to Cardrona skifield and Wanaka, and is New Zealand's highest paved public road.

Queenstown is the departure point for a large number of day trips to Milford Sound. Due to the ardurous nature of the very popular trip (12 hours return), various measures have been proposed to cut the trip time, including a monorail and a new tunnel through the mountains.

See also:Transport to Milford Sound

Sister cities

References

  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4.

External links

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