New Zealand – Queenstown
Our first stop in New Zealand was in the beautiful charming city of Queenstown. Located on the south island very close to the famous Milford Sound and Routeburn trails, this little town doesn’t have anything to envy to Switzerland and Patagonia famous Bariloche. It is just in front of an amazing colourful lake and surrounded by stunning mountains. The city is high seasonally booked all over the year. To give you an idea of the traffic generated by tourism let’s talk about the population. The actual urban population of Queenstown turns around 15,300 habitants. Nonetheless during the high season of tourism (10 months a year) population raised until 90,000 people. Mainly people from Asia but also Europe (specially Germans or Swiss) go there. The city has everything to offer. First it is extremely charming. Even though it is small you would feel like home by the cosy architecture of the houses and hotels but also thanks to the beautiful lake view and park surrounded it.
What to do in Queenstown and around
1. Outdoors activities
As the most popular resort town in New Zealand, Queenstown boasted as many outdoors activities as you could imagine. From skiing, snowboarding, jet boating, rafting, bunny jumping. mountain biking to paddle surf or simply spa afternoon. Activities are quite expansive though.We chose to go for a very close by trek to the Ben Lomond nearby mountains which offers a stunning view.
2. Restaurants and bars
As a resort city you will find plenty of options to go out, eat, snacks.. Our favorite and unmissable place was the #FergBurger. The reason why you can’t miss it is because from Mornings to evenings you will see a huge line of people queuing to get their amazing burgers. Even though the flow of clients is so tremendous the service goes fast and the quality is there. Our recommandation? Go at midday, don’t be afraid of the line as it usually goes fast. Get your food, buy a couple of local beers and go enjoy your delicious meal in front of the lake.
Queenstown is located close the to very famous Fiordland region. Within it most famous trail is the #MilfordSound. An easy path thought a lushly iconic Nature. Almost every traveller chooses this trail as it is very easy and also feasible on one day tour or spending a night. The trails ends directly at the fiord where you can take a cruise of few hours to enjoy an impressive scenery surrounded by blue, green surreal water and luxuriant green mountains. As it is the most famous trail, it is very often fully booked from more than a year and a half in advance. We experimented as we could not book any spot at the Hut. Our only option left was the private lodge at an unfordable price for our budget.
We decided to book the alternative trail the #Routeburn track. It is 32kms walk feasible in two or there days depending on your condition. An elevation of 700mts makes it a bit challenging but still not too difficult. We really loved this trail as the scenery is mystical. We were caught by a heavy rain and mist which gave to the mountains an even more mystical touch. We felt like being in the “Lord of the rings” movie scene. Nature is amazingly stunning and breathtaking. And here and there you can hear birds calling which makes the experience even more unique. Another impressive point was the speech given by the Park Ranger at the Lake Mackensie hut. This man had a perfect hilarious british sense of humour. But most importantly he is an unconditional fervent defender of birds preservation. He gave us a lot of historical facts and history around the fauna and flora making the evening even more interesting.
After 2 intense days of trek we arrived at the end of the trail on the Divide Shelter side around midday just on time to start our Cruise on Milfordsound Fiord. We took a bus which would led us to the Fiord and then back to Queenstown. It would take 1h from the Divide to the Cruise and then 4h from there to be back in Queesntown. We booked our transfer and cruise with #GoOrange agency in Queenstown. They were very helpful and reliable. They also rent any gear you could need on the trail such as sleeping bags.
Here is our Gallery of this amazing first step into Newsealand