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Queenstown is a magnificently located town on New Zealand's South Island. In summer you can make beautiful hikes through the mountains and in winter it's a popular place for skiers.
In the town itself live approximately 10,000 people, but the entire district has almost twice as many inhabitants.
Queenstown is located in the southwest of New Zealand's South Island, on Lake Wakatipu. This huge lake is formed by glaciers and is shaped like a Z. Queenstown lies roughly in the center on the north shore. Opposite Lake Wakatipu you'll see the Remarkables, a mountain range, which can indeed be called remarkable, because the peaks look like the teeth of an enormous saw.
Queenstown's economy is largely based on tourism in winter months, although more and more people also visit the town and surroundings in summer. There are four large ski runs nearby: Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone. There's also some small-scale winegrowing which makes it the world's southernmost wine region.
Queenstown Airport is situated 10 kilometers east of the center. Besides domestic flights to Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, the airport also maintains connections with Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Coolangatta (Gold Coast) in Australia. The approach route is by the way spectacular: the runway is surrounded by the mountains of the Southern Alps. The airport is easily reachable by rental car via Frankton Road (State Highway 6A). The exit to the airport is clearly signposted.
There's a limited local bus service with three lines, exploited by Connectabus. This bus service isn't cheap though. All buses stop on Camp Street, near shopping center O'Connell. During weekends, there's a night bus from that bus station to Frankton, Arrowtown and Kelvin Heights. There are also bus services to other cities on the South Island, including Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch. A hundred-year old steamboat organizes boat trips for tourists on the lake.
It's easy to find your way around town and there are more than sufficient parking facilities. The city lies along freeway SH6 from Cromwell to Kingston. A branch of that road (SH6A) runs to Queenstown. The freeway is in good condition, but on most other roads around Queenstown you need to watch out. The roads through this hilly area can be narrow and winding. The road to the Cardona skiing area is particularly difficult.
Queenstown has a large choice of accommodations ranging from hostels for backpackers to luxurious lodges as well as bed & breakfast, apartments and hotels. Queenstown's center is an entertainment area with restaurants, cafés and discos. At night it can be noisy, so if you like peace and quiet, you better find accommodation just outside the city, for example at the much quieter Wanaka, a one-hour drive from Queenstown.
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