Updated 2016

Queenstown is the sort of city that people consider moving to right after they first arrive. The city center itself is compact and charming and the scenery in every direction is hypnotically gorgeous. Set on the edge of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown is almost impossibly beautiful yet it offers many different varieties of fun both day and night.

What To Do

During winter Queenstown is a major skiing and snowboarding area that draws people from thousands of miles away to its four world-class ski fields. But there are outdoor activities to fill up the rest of the year as well. Bungy-jumping had its commercial beginnings at the Kawarau Bridge just outside of town and there are many more bungy options today. White water rafting is also huge in the area and a famous jet boat has been performing amazing stunts while full of passengers for the last 50 years.

If the above activities exhaust you just reading them then fear not. In addition to the lovely city center to see there is an aerial tram that takes visitors nearly straight up the mountain for incredible views, cocktails, food, and even a cement luge track. The southernmost vineyards in the world are near Queenstown so if wine tasting is more your thing they’ve got you covered as well.

Read: 7 Stunning Lakes of the South Island.

Getting There

Many people will arrive in Queenstown by car or campervan, and there are backpacker buses that connect all the main cities, but if you aren’t nearby already you’ll want to fly into Queenstown International Airport (code: ZQN). You can fly there from other cities in New Zealand and Australia, but if you are coming from elsewhere you’ll want to fly into Auckland or Christchurch and then get a connecting flight.

Read: The ABCs of Traveling New Zealand.

Where To Stay

Being a major tourist city there are loads of hotels in Queenstown as well as quite a few hostels in Queenstown for the enormous backpacking crowd in New Zealand. The city center is compact and the nightlife is lively and late so if you are more concerned with adventure during the day and sleeping at night you might consider staying a bit out of the center of town.

Read: 9 World Class Wine Regions of New Zealand.