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Queenstown, the city in South Alps

Queenstown is located on the west coast of the South Island. On the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Otogo region, the city is a lively and touristy place. It is best known for its range of mountain activities and thrills (bungee jumping, rafting, speedboats, paragliding, parachute, etc.). During the winter season, many skiers slip on the Remarkables, mountains located not far from the city.


Queenstown in the night


In the heart of the Southern Alps

Located in the Alps, it is expected to find many sports activities in all seasons. Hiking, mountain biking, climbing, there is something for everyone.

It is possible to leave for several days in the surrounding mountains. Beautiful hikes await you with views of the mountains and the lake such as the Queenstown Hill Track or the Bon Lomond Track.

I would recommend the Ben Lomond Tracks which will take you the day. But a magnificent view awaits you at its summit. I spent the night to see the sunrise and it was magical!


Bon Lomond
Sunrise from Bon Lomond with  Queenstown in firstground


For more information about the tracks around Queenstown, download the DOC document:


Of course out of the way, it is also possible to climb. The inside you will be served. Indeed, the place is ideal for climbing. The rock is perfect! It is schist, or sedimentary rock (mostly limestone) which has undergone metamorphism (increase in pressure and temperature). You have many climbing spots everywhere in the vicinity.

Climbing with Wakatipu lake in background (source:


If weather is not good, It is possible to climb indoors at the Queenstown Sports Center. By having the membership card, you will be able to climb for 6$ the evening.

For more information:

After that you can also go mountain biking in the mountains. Trails are set up with a lift by cable cars.

Wakatipu Lake


Lake Wakatipu
Le lac Wakatipu


If Queenstown has so much charm it is also for the lake. It is the longest in New Zealand with a length of 80km and an area of ​​291 km². This lake on the edge of the mountains makes a magnificent landscape that should not be missed!

The lake is home to a species of freshwater eel, Anguilla dieffenbachii. It is also home to common trout, rainbow trout and salmon.


Many legends are associated with the lake (source wikipedia)

Te Raikaihaitu

Te Raikaihaitu was a famous Māori chief who was the first explorer of the interior of the island of the south. He would have taken with him a large wooden shovel from his home country with which he would have dug the great lakes of the South Island. Lake Wakatipu would have been the most difficult because of the rocks and mountains making up its surroundings and would have required an extreme effort as well as many incantations.

The giant Matau

Manata, the daughter of a local chief, was forbidden to marry her lover Matakauri. One night, the giant Matau kidnapped Manata. The chief promised his daughter’s hand to save her from the clutches of the monster. Taking advantage of the darkness, Matakauri saved Manata and finally married her with the consent of her father. But Matakauri wanted to make sure that Matau no longer threatened his wife. As the giant slept on the side with his legs folded, Matakauri set the monster on fire. The fire dug a hole in the form of the elongated giant, and the heat melted the snow from the surrounding mountains, which then filled the hole to form the lake. Today, Glenorchy is at the head, Queenstown at his knees, and Kingston at his feet. The heart of Matau, which beats still, causes the oscillation of the level of the lake.

Life in Queenstown

Queenstown is a lively and tourist city! The center is alive with many bars (Zephir, Vinyl, etc …) and many street shows. Indeed, along the lake, you will be able to see many of musical show, juggling and others!

Music and fire juggling at Queenstown


Moreover you can try the slackline or the juggling in the park border of the lake. It’s there, I spend my time everyday (when the weather is beautiful).


Slackline and juggling

In the surroundings of the lake.

Following the road going north, we arrive at Glenorchy. This city is known for two things.

The many hikes in its surroundings that are beautiful. Including the Great Walk Routeburn:

Many scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy have been shot in the vicinity of Queenstown, mostly in Glenorchy. Thus the scenes of Isenguard were shot in the vicinity.


Glenorchy Isengard
Landscape at Glenorchy (Isenguard)

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