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 Queenstown 

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Queenstown is known in the for corners of the world as the capital of the radical sports. Doesn't matter were you go in Queenstown, you will see shops and more shops offering tours that you could never imagine such a thing exists. Queenstown is located in the South Island of New Zealand on the margins of a beautiful lake surrounded by high mountains. It is like a fairy tail town where the first thing that comes to mind is that you've seen it before in a Cinderella movie or alike. The city is small in a way that you can easily walk its whole extension. The population is only 9000 people but it can double every day depending about the tourist influx. There are no lack of things to do in Queenstown, resulting in your bank manager of credit card administrator show you an unhappy face. Anyway, things I did in Queenstown I will never forget for life.

The city is an attraction itself  with some streets reserved only for pedestrians. Buildings from the last century are preserved giving an atmosphere of the past with a foot in the future. A world of souvenir shops seel all kind of products to tourist. From sheep wool artefacts to gemstones, woodcarving, Papua shell ornaments, skin and facial oils, perfumes, and so many other things that I could fill up this page. On the street margin the lake, the view is not only astonishing but there are restaurants and cafes lake side for an enjoyable day of night. (we had a grilled rack of land and vegetables that was simple supreme). Everything in Queenstown is tourist including the prices, but is ok to indulge yourself once in a wile. If you are travelling in a budget, there are eateries (of course without views) that serves god food for a reasonable price. There also some alternatives in the shopping centre as the traditional American take away. At the lake there are plenty of water activities from a contemplative slow tour on an old paddle boat to parasailing and other that your hear will try to jump out by your mouth. Walking to the hill on the back of the lake, the happy tourist will find a cable car that take you to the top. On the way up the view is already fantastic, but even better when you reach the top. There, a restaurant offer drinks and delicious dishes with a view capable of make Kiwi cry. Also there are attractions such as the "luge", a kart which you ride way down the hill, in great speed. If you think everything is boring, you can excite you life doing a Bungy Jump from a tower to the emptiness of the valley ahead. If you still are not adrenalinated yet, you can go down the hill by a tandem flight under a paraglider.

The mountains opposite to town are called the "Remarkables", due the fact it is impossible to miss except in a very stormy day. During the Winter months (June/October) these rocky valleys are covered by snow transforming the area in one of the busiest ski fields bottomless skiers from all over the world come to experiment how soft the snow is as well as photographers come to register falls and spectacular crashes. Jokes apart, the ski field offer tracks for all levels of skiers, from beginners to professionals, a great time up in the mounting is guaranteed. Some times festivals happens over there with music bands, demonstration shows, ski competitions and night rides illuminated by querosene torches and lamps. You can hire all the ski gear over there including garments, or you can hire it in town. A dose of a strong alcohol beverage or a hot chocolate will help you to keep warm up there. Just don't forget to bring your credit card with you. (we found out that our credit card even in temperatures below zero still debit us pretty well).

Tip: If you decide to rent ski gear in town, make sure the ski boots and your feet become extremely good friends. A wrong size ski boot is the worst enemy I ever had. Even worst when you find out that the shop you hired it from, is that illuminated spot far away in the horizon, 2000 metres below. In some cases it is cheaper to rent in town, by with this lesson learned, from now on, I prefer to pay more up in the mountain but at least I can exchange the gear if something fits wrong.

Radical Sports contributed with the fame of Queenstown among young people. The city became a paradise for crazy jumps, rides, and overdose of adrenalin. The unfeared tourist can choose radical things to do according with the nerves. For example, my classification f Queenstown radical tours goes from "L" meaning little radical to "XXXH" (extra hard). One of the tour we enjoyed very much (classification "X") is one which we went by helicopter to a valley and dropped in the margin of the shootover river. Following that we entered a river raft and went down the river jumping over waterfalls, evicting rocks, having cold water battles with other raft and much more. Suddenly the river ended and we went through a tunnel carved in the rocks, finishing the ride on a calm part of the river. After changing back into dry cloth we went on a ride in a river jet boat. It goes at incredible speeds in a gorge, passing centimetres far from the gorge walls. The boat does spectacular curves following the river and by the end it does a 360 turn. A barbecue was offered after all and we were taken by bus back to our accommodation. It was a great day tour despite being salty at NZ$ 230 per head.

Before the tunnel Light at end of tunnel getting out of the tunnel

Other attractions and tours in Queenstown sum up about 270 different options of thing to do while my wallet had the same number in Kiwi dollars. In you really want to have lots of fun, better plan the things you want to do in advance. As average for "incredible tours & Radical sports" reserve something around NZ$ 200 for each attraction. The most famous bungy jump for example charges NZ$ 199 for the jump. We could no find any tour that cost less than NZ$ 40 except the cable car to the hill top, the mini golf, and the paddle boat tour. Everything else was very expensive to engage in a spree of one tour per day. There are so many options to choose from that sometimes is difficult to decide which one to take. To complicate, there are similar tours offered by the tour operators, split in combination packages and so on. We spent one week in Queenstown and despite the fact we an unforgettable time there, the expenditure we did in Queenstown topped any other place in New Zealand. There are plenty of accommodation, but the cheapest ones gets the classic "No Vacant" sign most of the time. For sure, the best time to visit Queenstown is when your rich uncle decides to go with you, or if you plan your budget carefully for this trip.

Study in Queenstown

Tourist Attractions of Queenstown

Distances by road from Queenstown to:

Christchurch 488 km 7 hours
Picton 830 km  13 hours & 15 min
Dunedin 281 km 4 hours & 25 min
Te Anau 175 km 2 hours & 30 min.
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