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Queenstown and its surrounding areas have been drawing in visitors for hundreds of years. Early Maori made regular visits to the Southern Lakes region in search of highly prized Pounamu (Greenstone), which was traded widely with other tribes. In the 1850s early European settlers followed, in search of fertile grazing land. Gold was subsequently discovered in Arrowtown in 1862, triggering the gold rush of the 1860s and marking the beginnings of an international enchantment with the Queenstown region. With the development of New Zealand’s tourism industry in the 1940s and 1950s a new kind of pioneer appeared, interested in visiting the area for its natural beauty and abundance of activities. The tourism industry has gone from strength to strength since then, and continues to grow to this day.
By choosing to book your holiday to Queenstown you will be joining almost 2 million other visitors who are drawn to the area each year to get experience the many things it has to offer. From jaw-dropping scenery and non-stop adventure, through to a place to breathe the pure mountain air whilst relaxing and rejuvenating, Queenstown has something to suit everyone’s taste.
Queenstown International Airport (ZQL) is only 10 minutes drive from central Queenstown. There are currently direct international flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, and domestic flights depart from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Rotorua on a regular basis. The flight into Queenstown is regarded as one of the most scenic landings anywhere in the world.
There are a number of routes in and out of Queenstown by road. By far the most popular with tourists are either via State Highway 6 which travels down the rugged West Coast, over the Haast Pass and through Wanaka, or via State Highway 8, which heads from Christchurch, over the Canterbury Plains and then past the lakes and canals of the Mackenzie basin.
Travelling via State Highway 8 will take you past one of New Zealand’s most photographed views – that of New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki Mt Cook, framed by the impossibly turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki. Further south you will drive over the Lindis Pass and into the famous wine country of Central Otago as you get closer to Queenstown.
Drive Times from Central Queenstown
No-one’s ever visited Queenstown and said, ‘I’m bored’. Looking like a small town, but displaying the energy of a small city, Queenstown offers a mountain of activities
Queenstown has four distinct seasons:
Summer: December 1-February 28. With average temperatures ranging between 20° and 30°C, summer in Queenstown offers wonderfully long, hot days. During the height of summer, dawn breaks at 5am and the dusk sets at 10.30pm.
Autumn: March 1-May 30. Average temperatures range between 12°C and 25°C, and you can expect settled weather and cool evenings. The colour of the hills turn an array of rich golds, deep reds and burnt oranges as the deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves prior to winter.
Winter: June 1-August 31. Average temperatures range between 0°C and 8°C and snow coats the surrounding mountains and ski fields. Mornings are frosty and days are generally cold and clear, offering spectacular views of the snowcapped peaks in between the southerly storms bringing in fresh snow.
Spring: September 1-November 30. Winter breaks in September, with average temperatures range between 8°C and 22°C. Shorter daylight hours give way to long days and warmer temperatures. Trees burst out in blossom all over the region, whilst new-born farm animals find their feet. Springtime is a fresh start for the region, offering both fantastic skiing and lakeside fun for all.
|Dec - Feb||Summer||20 - 30C|
|Mar - May||Autumn||12 - 25C|
|June - Aug||Winter||0 - 8C|
|Sept - Nov||Spring||8 - 22C