Articles posted in the "Queenstown" category
February 4, 2014
Renting a campervan and travelling around New Zealand is an excellent way to get to those “out of the way” places while still retaining some special home comforts: proper bed, hot shower, chilled drinks, and power for your ipod!
Sometimes, though, getting to the end of the road isn’t enough of an adventure . . . sometimes you want to keep exploring. This is where cycling bridges the gap.
New Zealand is on its’ way to creating one of the largest networks of cycleways in the world. For those who are interested, bringing a bike (or renting one while you are here) is the perfect companion to a campervan rental.
First, the campervan provides you with a secure base from which to ride one of the hundreds of developed trails around the country. Second, cycling gives you the opportunity to stretch out and experience New Zealand’s beauty close-up and personal.
So where can you ride? New Zealand roads are notoriously winding and narrow. Fortunately, hundreds of kilometres of developed cycle trails exist around the country. Trails range from leisurely one hour loop trails to 3-4 day cross country adventures. Rotorua and Queenstown are excellent places to ride. Outside these more developed riding centres, many communities have invested in their own trails, giving cyclists the opportunity to get an ‘insiders view’ into some of New Zealand’s most untouched wilderness and rural environments.
Where can you find information about riding? Most communities of 4000 citizens or more will have an official information centre, or “i-Site”. These centres provide extensive infomration about the local region as well as activites within the area. If they do not have a dedicated cycling trails, they will certainly be able to offer advice on where to ride a bike. Towns without information centres will invariably have a garage/petrol station or local shop where you can ask locals about things to do in the area. Alternatively, for those keen on cycling their way around the country, visit the NZbybike link to find out more about some of the country’s network of cycle trails.
Where can you rent a bike? Most larger centres, and some more popular small ones, will have bike shops with rental bikes. Depending on the type of cycling you want to do, shop experts will offer advice on the type of bike to hire, as well as trip plans. Highway/road cycling is recommended for those with signficant road riding experience; however mountain biking is well suited to any age and ability. Some campervan rental companies are now offering hire bikes as part of their ‘optional’ menu.
When planning your trip to New Zealand, consider using a bike as a secondary means of transport. Not only will it keep you fit along your journey, it is an excellent way to discover more of what the country has to offer.
July 21, 2013
I lived in Queenstown for several years, and it remains one of my favourite places in the world. Ever. When talking to people about the Southern Lakes, I often hear, “It’s too busy” or “It’s too commercialized”. Sure, Queenstown is busy, and there are a lot of people that visit every year. But, by taking the road less travelled, you can escape the crowds and have a whole mountain or valley to yourself with a little lateral thinking. Here are some of my favourite places to visit when I’m there.
Queenstown – Special spots to visit around Lake Wakatipu
Queenstown, with a permanent population of just over 13,000, is the adventure tourism capital of New Zealand. Full of activity operators offering jet-boating, bungy jumping, canyon swinging, and of course skiing, the number and scale of the possibilities can be overwhelming. Just 20 years ago, Queenstown was a one supermarket, four pub town. Now, it is home to world class resorts, restaurants, golf courses, and of course, the home of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Yet, in spite of the hype, there are many secret gems to this adventurers’ playground.
- 12 Mile Delta Campground: Along the road to Glenorchy, some 20km west of Queenstown, you will find 12 Mile Delta Campground. Operated by the Department of Conservation (DOC) , the campground has water, basic toilets, and a picnic area. Cost per person is $6 per night. Located on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, it is an excellent campground for those seeking a little solitude. Getting there early will likely give you a lakeside site.
- Moke Lake Campground: Still revered by locals as one of their favourite day getaways. 10km west of town (on the road to Glenorchy) you will see the Moke Lake Road sign. Turn onto the road and drive a further 7km inland until you reach the lake. Note: the road is unpaved and very dusty in summer. Respect others and drive at low speed. Once at the lake, enjoy a spot of trout fishing and swimming (in season) or take a walk on the Moke Lake Loop track (3 hours return).
- Kinloch Campground: Located on the opposite side of the lake from Glenorchy, on the road to the Routeburn track, KinlochCamground is a little used gem of the Dart River Valley.
2. Day Walks
- Mt Crichton Look Track: Historic and scenic, the Mt Crichton track is adjacent to the 12 Mile Delta Campground turnoff. Be sure to take the side track to Sam Summers Hut for a look into gold mining history.
- 12 Mile Delta to Bob’s Cove Track : A great walk for those spending the night at 12 Mile Delta Campground. A pleasant lakeside stroll perfect for all ages.
- Ben Lomond Track: Ben Lomond is the mountain located beyond the top of the Queenstown gondola. Reaching the top is a 3-4 hour steady uphill climb, but the views from the top are stellar. Depeding on the snow level, you may be able to reach the summit of Ben Lomond in the winter. Speak to the Queenstown Information Centre staff to see if it’s possible. You can make your journey shorter by using the gondola to complete the first third of the journey.
- Queenstown Gardens: You won’t have the place to yourself, but the Queenstown Gardens is a very special spot in downtown Queenstown. Pack a lunch and take a couple of hours of hours to enjoy the loveliness of this town icon.
Parking, particularly for larger campervans, can be a bit tricky in Queenstown . If you’re heading to town for the day, try to get there early. There is 2-3 hour free parking along the waterfront, and all day free parking at the Fernhill Road roundabout (as you head toward Glenorchy). Other good parking places are along Gorge Road (there is limited street parking, but there are 2 large pay per hour parks close to town) and along the lakeside beside the Frankton Arm Walkway.
Enjoy your trip to the Southern Lakes, and don’t forget, Queentown can be yours alone with a little forward planning.
September 28, 2012
Our guest blogger, 5-month-old Ben, shares his first experience travelling New Zealand’s South Island campervan rental. Day 3 in Queenstown
Mum and Dad went back up the mountain today. Nan Anne and Poppa Rog took me on some more walks. I loved it. I stayed nice and warm in my buggy. Mum and dad were back home to the rental campervan nice and early. Much the same story with the snow they said. I was just happy neither of them came home with any broken bones. Last time they went skiing, dad broke his hand. He thinks he is 14 sometimes. He was doing something called a rail slide. What a nerd. That night we had happy hour in the bar. It was really cool. Nan Anne told me lots of stories about my great grandparents. I was so happy to learn about them. My granddad Jim was a very brave man. Jim also loved the mountains. I think this is why my mum loves the mountains so much. I think I am a bit like great granddad Jim.
Mum and dad went out on a date. They went to a restaurant on the Steamers Wharf called Ivy and Lola’s. Mum and dad said it was awesome. Dad gave it an 11/10. He said that the duck was incredible, astounding, amazing, remarkable and marvellous. It must have been good for him to use that many big words in one sentence. Mum and dad had a lovely date and I stayed in the campervan with Nan Anne and Poppa Rog. They are so good to me. They just love me so much. I love them both very much too. I am going to google tomorrow if you can be ‘too loved’. I hope not because I get a lot of love, especially from my mum. She kisses me all the time.
September 24, 2012
Our guest blogger, 5-month-old Ben, shares his first experience travelling New Zealand’s South Island campervan rental. Day 2 in Queenstown
Mum and Dad are not going skiing today. Dad said he was going to take me to his favourite attraction in Queenstown. He used to be a tour guide and has tried almost everything worth trying. And he said he is going to take me to the best. Mum said that I should have a sleep first. I found it hard to sleep as I was so excited. I had my sleep and then we walked to Queenstown. We went to lunch with a lady mum used to worth with called Biz. Whow this lady was excited. I think she must be going to the cool attraction after lunch with us. But I found out later that she was not. Mum said she was like this all the time. The restaurant was called Halo. It was by the courthouse. Biz said it was one of the best in town for lunch and she recommended it to anyone travelling to Queenstown in a rental campervan.
Then it was time to go to dad’s favourite attraction. However mum and dad thought they might buy themselves some cool new kit first. Dad a beanie and mum a top. Both Icebreakers. I think they are Icebreaker snobs. I prefer Annebreaker. (That is what we call the clothes Nan Anne makes for me.) All the shopping made me tired so I had a little sleep in my buggy. What a great sleep. But when I woke up I realised that I missed out on the greatest attraction in Queenstown. Mum and dad went there while I was sleeping. I was devastated. But dad said that we will definitely be coming back in a rental campervan again. Dad has never let me down so I was happy with this. And to top it off I get to hear all about it. On the main wharf in town there is an underwater aquarium. You can put $1 in the slot and food will drop out of a feeder for the fish. Then all these big trout come up and eat them right in front of your face. Mum liked the ducks the best.
Mum and dad took me for happy hour at a cute little bar. We sat outside so we could enjoy the view. Then we spent the evening snuggled up in our campervan.