Saturday, 4 December 2010


After visiting the Gladden Fields, we finally moved on to Queenstown.

Up to this point we had heard many stories about this little town. Queenstown is without arguing the most popular town of all New Zealand for tourists. Having this reputation it is amazingly small. Wikipedia says Queenstown is home to a mere 10 000 people. Keeping that number in mind, the number of tourists that visit this little town very year exceeds one million. With an inhabitant/tourist ration of 1/100 it is not surprising that it is quite rare to meet a local in the town. In fact, when we asked for the information centre we got lucky getting the answer: "Oh you are lucky. I think there's a local over there. See the lady in the blue dress? She might know".....

Yeah so its not only a very touristy town, but a town of tourists. So we asked ourselves why the town grew so popular among tourists over the years. The secret lies within the average age of NZ travellers. New Zealand attracts mostly younger people seeking excitement and adventure, while experiencing the natural beauty of New Zealand's landscape. And that's exactly what Queenstown specialized in. With its small size, the town has nothing of the grey concrete jungle of a metropolis. From anywhere within Queenstown you can see the surrounding mountains and the crystal clear lake Wakatipu giving the town the feel of a small recreation town on the shores of a huge lake. And concerning adventure and excitement Queenstown brought forth hundreds of outdoor companies offering the whole range of possible activities, including Skiing, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, mountain biking, skateboarding, tramping, fly fishing and many more. And if you have had enough excitement, you can relax on the lakeside or go to the surrounding remarkable hills for a hike.

the Remarkables (the hills surrounding Queenstown)
For us all this was a bit disappointing. While we recognized the beautiful location at lake Wakatipu, the outdoor activities didn't have the appeal it has to other visitors. But most of all we were in NZ to meet and get to know New Zealanders, and not other tourists. So we did not feel very comfortable in town.

Nonetheless we found two attractions in town worth visiting. First the central store of Cookie Time. A all-NZ company making the most yummy cookies you can buy (only our self-made cookies exceed them in yummyness). Here they are served fresh and with a variation of additions like vanilla ice cream. yuuuummmmmmyyyy

Second the one and only Lord of the Rings store in NZ. Because of the high number of filming locations, the increasing number of location hunters coming to NZ and the concentration of tourists, Queenstown is probably the only place where you can open a store solely based on Lord of the Rings. The store's stock ranges from Middle Earth flags, to miniatures and even "the one ring beer".

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