Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown is a scenic town in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the most beautiful regions and offers year round attractions. The town sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. The most remarkable sight is the Remarkables, which is a saw-toothed range of mountains on the opposite side of the lake from the town.
It lies at the outlet to Lake Wakatipu, one of Otago and New Zealand's most scenic lakes. It caters for tourists on a wide range of budgets, from backpackers to luxury tourists. In many respects Queenstown can be a tourist trap. However, reasonable prices and bargains can be found for those prepared to look for them.
Is a party town during high seasons. if you plan on getting a good nights sleep, then you might consider staying slightly out of town. It is common to see people on the street up to 5AM, coming back from the disco or pub. If you are looking for a relaxing scenic holiday, Wanaka (an hour drive) is smaller and more tranquil (with less of a party atmosphere).
The town and surrounding area was originally settled by Europeans and a substanial Chinese population for gold mining and farming in 1860s. After the decline of goldmining, Queenstown became a sleepy rural town, popular as a summer getaway.
In 1947, New Zealand's first commercial skifield, Coronet Peak, opened and since then the town has grown into a world class tourist resort. There are now 4 commercial skifields within easy driving of Queenstown.
Queenstown is a relatively safe town. However, visitors should still take care to ensure their own personal safety. Many of the other people in town are also visitors.
The most common offense committed against tourists in the Queenstown are car break-ins. Remember to always lock your doors and do not leave valuables in your vehicle or unattended.
Although limited in number, the police in the Queenstown area are intolerant of disorderly behaviour and are prepared to arrest for quite minor offences. As with anywhere in New Zealand, they have no tolerance for possession of drugs.
Other emergency services in the area operate on a volunteer basis.
Rental car companies have restrictions in their rental agreements to prevent their vehicles being operated on some high country roads. New Zealand's ski-field roads also take many visitors by surprise, but driving to suit the conditions will considerably reduce any risk.