Ahhh… New Zealand. Land of the Long White Cloud, Flight of the Conchords and the finest Hobbits. With sheep outnumbering us humans 7:1, we understand how intimidating that could be to a wayward traveler.
Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Queenstown has something for everyone; from a cruise on the lake for the newly-weds, the thrill-seekers, and the family members. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!
God speed, my Fellowship!
Take a road trip to Queenstown!
We highly recommend that you to do a road trip to Queenstown instead of taking a direct flight. The scenery is utterly inspiring. Head west from Christchurch to Queenstown and allocate a 7-8 hour trip to soak it all in. Here’s what you need to see and do along the way:
1. Aoraki Mount Cook – The tallest mountain in New Zealand
Standing at a majestic height of 3,724 meters, stop over at Mount Cook National Park for some photo-op, a bit of trail walking or just enjoy the view with a warm cup of coffee. Go ahead if you would like to try your luck in fishing, boating or even star gazing. The region is excellent for some sky gazing due to its almost non-existent light pollution.
Credit: David Briody [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. Otira Viaduct, Arthur’s Pass
The second highest pass connecting the east coast and west coast of New Zealand, the Otira viaduct is 934 metres above sea level. Pretty impressive!
Credit: By Ville Miettinen from Helsinki, Finland (Arthur’s Pass) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
3. Lake Tekapo
One of the popular pit stops along the route, the painted turquoise colour is not a result of Photoshop skills, but the reaction that occurs when the water from the alps flows down and erodes the rocks and minerals that soon accumulates in the lake. Take a moment to sujud and reflect on the beauty of God’s creation here, it is a sight to remember.
#HHWT Tip: There is a salmon farm nearby, if you’re looking to stock up your food rations and planning a cook out. Rest assured the salmon is fresh!
4. Get Lost in Puzzling World, Wanaka
Puzzling World is a fun-filled place if you’re the kind who likes to torture, er, I mean tease your brains on some puzzles, optical illusions and even a maze!
You can easily spend 2-3 hours here, depending on how fast you are at the Maze Garden 😉
Address: 188 Wanaka-Luggate Hwy, Wanaka 9382, New Zealand
Opening Hours: 8am–5.30pm daily
Entrance Fees: NZD 12 – 20 per pax
Test your limits with extreme sports and other awesome things to do
Queenstown is widely known as an activity town. Test your courage AND skills in things like…
Credit: Rob Chandler
2. Bungee Jumping at Kawarau Bridge
Ask to get dunked in the river!
3. Jet boating through narrow rivers
4. Gold Mining in Arrowtown
In the 19th century, Arrowtown is famous for its gold-mining activities. Remnants of the old mining village is located in Macetown. Head to the rivers and try your luck in scavenging for small nuggets of gold. It is a quirky way to spend some time with friends and family.
5. Take the cable car and zoom your way down overlooking Queenstown
Not only is the cable car the steepest cable car ride on the Southern Hemisphere, it also provides another avenue for a panoramic view of Queenstown, stargazing activities, mountain biking, bungee jumping as well as luge riding 800 meters down Bob’s Peak.
Credit: By Lawrence Murray from Perth, Australia (Queenstown from Bob’s Peak) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
More details can be found at their website.
6. Stare at the Kiwis
It’s clearly not enough to see the Kiwi bird from a keychain, drop by at the Kiwi Birdlife Park. A sanctuary for many species of birds and reptiles, it could be the lull you need from an itinerary packed with extreme activities back to back! All proceeds go to general maintenance of the sanctuary and breeding efforts!
Address: Brecon St, Boydtown 9300, New Zealand (entrance is beside the cable car entrance)
Opening Hours: 9AM–6PM
What’s there to eat in Queenstown?
New Zealand in general is one of the biggest exporters of halal lamb meat in the world. Although it is said that all of the lamb products are halal in this country, it is best for us to enquire on the status from the food establishments.
1. Tandoori Palace
Try the butter chicken and naan here. Generally, the food and service at this place gets great reviews, even among the picky eaters.
Note: Tandoori Palace serves alcohol, but all meats are certified halal.
Address: 62 Shotover St, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
Opening Hours: 5pm–10pm
2. Patagonia Chocolates
Arguably, the national pastime for the Kiwis are eating desserts (especially ice-creams!) Their products are vegetarian friendly, making it Muslim friendly too! Walk down the pier with some sweet treats. You can also bring back some for souvenirs. The banana split ice-cream has won numerous awards to date.
Address: Lakefront, 50 Beach Street, Queenstown, 9300
Opening Hours: 9am – 9pm
To pack things up
Queenstown is a paradox of two worlds. It can be buzzing with excitement from checking of the extreme sports on your bucket list, while at the same time, it is a sanctuary where you can put everything aside and have a quiet time to reflect and ponder. Give it a go and arrive with an open heart, but be warned that it could be stolen away by Queenstown’s embracing arms.