New Zealand Discussion Group. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our knowledge & does not replace official sources & your research.
👏 This travel experience is shared by Sam Apauca'Lips Rolling-Stone, a member of Dronemade's community; "Our world, seen from above"
With a population of roughly 16,000 people, Queenstown, or Tāhuna, is ranked 10th biggest town in New Zealand's South Island, and known in Aotearoa to be the go-to place for thrill-seeking adventurers. Nested between The Remarkables mountains and Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown will be the perfect destination for you to have the adventure of a lifetime while catching some amazing landscapes on the way. Whether you're an outdoorsy or a party goer, Queenstown has it in store for you.
Where is Queenstown and how to get there?
Queenstown is located in the Queenstown Lakes District and is sitting at the border between peaceful Otago and majestic Fiordland. To get to Queenstown, you can either drive and have a vanlife adventure, or simply fly in.🚗 you can drive from Christchuch and Dunedin if already in the South Island. Whether you decide to drive South through the West Coast or following the notorious road 8 that will take you through breathtaking places such as Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Omarama's Clay Cliffs, and even Wanaka's tree.
✈️ Whilst you can technically drive from Auckland or Wellington to Queenstown, most locals will go by plane. The town's airport serves the two cities and a few Australian capital cities namely: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
What to do in Queenstown?
🥳Queenstown is famously known for its nightlife and vast backpackers community. Whether you're after a chilled vibe or an all-out place where you can dance the night away, Queenstown has it all. There are many bars in Queenstown but the one that got our heart is Perky's Floating Bar.
🍹 As you can see, you get to enjoy cocktails and fine beers on a boat in the heart of the town which is a perfect location to start the night. A nice way to continue is to head to World Bar and enjoy their famous Teapot Cocktails, a good way to get the fancy experience for a tad cheaper would be to head there during their Teapot happy hour from 9pm to 10pm.
Hiking 🥾 Queenstown, nestled in the heart of New Zealand, is an ideal destination for immersing yourself in the captivating wonders of the great outdoors. Within a convenient five-hour drive from Queenstown, you'll discover three of New Zealand's esteemed Great Walks. Among them is the awe-inspiring Routeburn Track, commencing in the scenic town of Glenorchy, just under an hour's drive away. Embarking on this magnificent journey will lead you all the way to The Divide, where you'll be presented with a delightful dilemma: descend to Te Anau and potentially embark on the picturesque Kepler Track, or venture towards the enchanting Milford Sound for a cruise through one of the world's most majestic fiords. If you're fortunate enough to secure a booking for the renowned Milford Track, you'll be treated to an unparalleled hiking experience, brimming with breathtaking vistas.
While these Great Walks undoubtedly offer unparalleled beauty, they tend to attract large crowds, particularly during the summer season. However, as you traverse the renowned Milford Road, you'll uncover lesser-known yet equally awe-inspiring trails, such as the captivating Lake Marian Track and the invigorating Lake Gunn Track.
In closer proximity to Queenstown, a myriad of captivating walks awaits, allowing you to embark on unforgettable adventures. The renowned Ben Lommond Track beckons, offering panoramic views and a thrilling hiking experience. Additionally, the Devil's Creek Track presents an enticing option for those seeking a picturesque stroll amidst nature's bounty.
Biking 🚲 While there are many bike trails to have fun on, we recommend not missing the newest cycle trail: Lake Dunstan trail. This 40km trail will take you from Clyde to Cromwell and is absolutely breathtaking from one end to the other. You will come across bridges, narrow trails, bike right between rivers and cliffs on a path sometimes dug directly in the rocks. While this track is doable with a regular bike, we recommend hiring an e-bike as the trail is quite long and the uphills can be quite tricky.
🚌 It is usually recommended to book transport that takes you to Clyde and picks you up at Cromwell. If, like us, you end up spending too much time at the vineyards located on the trail and don't have enough time to finish the trail, that's fine, the bike renters are used to it and you are usually one phone call away from being picked up at one of the vineyards directly.
💡Arrowtown River trail which is part of the Otago Central Rail trail. This trail is usually taking 4 to 6 days to be completed, but we simply followed the trail from Clyde to Arrowtown and did a loop by following the river back to Clyde. This will take you a good part of the day and is such a good way to explore the land and take the time to breathe it all in.
Winte tasting 🍷 Wine or bike, why choose? Queenstown is in the heart of Otago and several vineyards around Queenstown are famous for their pinot noir. On the Lake Dunstan trail, we highly recommend stopping at Carrick vineyard and sipping on a nice glass of pinot noir, relaxing in one of their bean bags on the grass, pretending like there is not another 15km to bike.
Now did we not say that Queenstown is the country's adrenaline capital? Well let's say it again: Queenstown is the adrenaline capital, and for good reasons.
🌠 If you happen to find yourself driving towards Queenstown, you might notice a small toilet sign along the road. This is likely your entrance to Nevis Bungee Jump which is poorly marked. So, yes, you might pull over thinking it's just a restroom break and unexpectedly find yourself embarking on a spontaneous bungee jump. Talk about a truly remarkable toilet break!
🪂 But the thrill-seeking adventures in Queenstown don't end there. If you're craving an adrenaline rush, why not consider a 15,000ft skydive with NZONE Skydive? It's a fantastic way to experience the breathtaking landscape firsthand while soaring through the skies.
💡This is best way to get amazing aerial shots of Queenstown region, just saying..
While you're at it, don't miss the opportunity to book a speedboat ride, offering 25 minutes of pure exhilaration as you navigate close (and I mean very, very close) to cliffs along the way. We could continue listing the countless adventures awaiting you in Queenstown, but that would require an entire article of its own.
What we must mention, though, is the indispensable app called BookMeNZ. By downloading it on your phone, you'll gain access to local deals and a treasure trove of incredible adventures waiting to be explored in and around Queenstown.
Where to stay and eat in Queenstown?
🏨 When it comes to finding accommodation in Queenstown, a renowned tourist hub, you'll discover a plethora of options catering to various budgets. As we embarked on our adventure-filled journey through Queenstown, our top choice was the YHA LakeFront. Not only does it provide comfortable lodging, but the delightful staff also possesses insider knowledge about the town's best pies. Staying in a hostel offers a wonderful opportunity to meet fellow travelers and join forces for exciting escapades in the lively downtown area.
😋In terms of dining experiences, we wholeheartedly recommend indulging in a meal at Fergburger. This iconic establishment has practically become a New Zealand institution, attracting pilgrims from afar who seek the chance to savor their legendary burgers. Trust us when we say that the Big Al burger feels particularly satisfying after a bungee jump, but we advise against having it before the jump.
While you're there, make sure to glance next door and visit the Fergbakery. Treat yourself to their delectable baguettes or croissants, which are an absolute delight. And don't miss out on their pies, which are hands-down the best in town.
Can I fly my drone in Queenstown?
✅ Currently, there isn't any restrictions on bringing drones within New Zealand as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person). The entire Sotuh Island is suitable for drones (aside from urban areas and national parks).
🚨 Sadly the entire valley is a strict no fly zone due to the ri busy international airport but also the many air based adrenaline experiences happening nearby the town. This said, if you drive 5-10mins out of Queenstown, you will start finding some sweet spots to take off.
Queenstown drone fly map
✅ Conveniently, New Zealand offers an interactive no fly zone map for all drone enthusiasts tho use for free. Powered by airshare, you can find it here anytime. We highly recommend you use it during your trip in this beautiful country.
What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in New Zealand?
The severity and extent of the fine will vary based on the nature and seriousness of the violation. Judges will also consider factors such as intent and any commercial purposes involved. However, local authorities have specified that fines ranging between NZ$500 and NZ$5,000 have been issued for non-compliance, see Phil's recent travel experience.
✅ Please leave a comment or update the New Zeland Drone Forum when you receive news and/or gain experience in Queenstown! Have fun over there and make a lot of good memories!
Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone regulations
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