About Queenstown

From Lonely Planet

Queenstown is New Zealand's self-styled outdoor-adventure capital, but when the adrenaline ebbs and the party-goers have called it a night, stunning Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains materialize as the truly intoxicating attractions. The aptly-named Remarkables and the Eyre Mountains form a breathtaking backdrop to this super active town - superlatives can't do justice to the sight of snow-capped peaks at sunrise or ion the afterglow of dusk.

History

The Region was deserted when the first Pakeha arrived in the mid-1850s, although there is evidence of previous Maori settlement. Sheep farmers came first, but in 1862 two shearers discovered gold on the banks of the Shotover River, precipitating a deluge of prospectors. A year later Queenstown was a mining town with streets and permanent buildings. Then the gold petered out and by 1900 the population had dropped from several thousand to a mere 190.

The lake was the principle means of transport and at the height of the mining boom there were four paddle-steamers and 20 other craft plying the waters.


Information
This compact town slopes up steep hills from the lakeside. The main streets are the pedestrian-only Mall and Shotover .St, with its activity-booking offices.

The Queenstown Visitors Centre - the biggest booking agent in town
( 0800 668 888, info@qvc.co.nz )

Destination Queenstown - doesn't do bookings but is very informative
( 0800 478 336, www.queenstownnz.co.nz)

The Station - one of the prime activity-booking offices
( www.thestation.co.nz )