Stop #17: Queenstown

Number of nights: 3
Distance: 77 KM (4,101 KM Total)

Queenstown is a short drive away from Wanaka, situated right in the centre of New Zealand’s mountain playground. Playground is the the operative word here, as the town feels like was it designed solely for entertaining tourists. Think of any extreme sport, and Queenstown has it in spades: bungie jumping, speedboat tours, paragliding, you name it. They even had some sort of shark-like boat that dove into the water at high speeds.

Because of the over-developed commercialism of the town, we kind of liked Wanaka better. That being said, it was still a beautifully situated little town with plenty of areas to hide away from the droves of tourists.

We took the Crown Range Road from Wanaka to Queenstown, which was a smaller highway than the main route that climbed steeply over a mountain range. This photo was taken at the top of the pass, and you can see Queenstown way off in the distance.
We had many hikes to choose from in Queenstown, and the first one we chose was the Queenstown Hill Walking Track, which was a short hike up a nearby hill for beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
This was the view once we reached the top of the Queenstown Hill Walking Track.
This is the furthest distance I could run to make the 10 second self-portrait. Any further and you’d see the back of me running toward Dominique.
On our way down we shared the trail with this little fella.
We took the Bob’s Cove Track to climb a little rocky hill that jutted out between Bob’s Cove and Lake Wakatipu, the main lake that Queenstown borders on.
We took another hike along the nearby Mount Crichton Loop Track, which led through all sorts of countryside. This was taken on the way down through the forest.
There were a lot of interesting things to explore along the hike, including this man-made fissure, which was created to drain mining debris.
Another highlight of the Mount Crichton Loop Track was Sam Summers Hut, an old hut that was built by a gold prospector back in 1930. I tried to pose like a gold-digger, but it just didn’t work without a hat or pickaxe.
Inside the hut. You’re actually allowed to sleep here at night, although I would question the contents of those mattresses, there was quite a funny smell in there.
Rope swing! What you don’t know is that I just pushed Dominique in such a way that she hit her foot hard on the nearby rock, so she’s really angry at me in this photo.
Sunset on Lake Wakatipu, taken from the Queenstown Gardens, a nice park just next to the main town area. It was unique in that it also housed a Frisbee golf course.
Watching a reflective sunset from Queenstown Gardens.
We went to a tiny mining town at the other end of Lake Wakatipu called Glenorchy. An old mining settlement, it’s known more for being the starting point of the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.
Dominique taking a short walk on a long pier.
The road, and the view, from Queenstown to Glenorchy.
This nice gazebo cafe was situated right between the touristic Queenstown shoreline and Queenstown Gardens.


We took the Queenstown Skyline, a cable car that goes up the Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve. It was overrun with tourists, but just a 20 minute hike away we had the whole mountain to ourselves.
Looking down at Queenstown below, with the Queenstown gardens sticking out like a thumb.
About a 20 minute drive away was a cute village called Arrowtown. It felt very much like what a ghost town would be before the ghosts.
Every building in Arrowtown was cute and photogenic.
The Edith Cavell Bridge, which crosses the Shotover River. A lot of the rivers in New Zealand were blue like this, it’s just rare that you’d see them in this colour since it’s cloudy most of the time.