September 24, 2016

Everybody loves Queenstown

I’ve noticed a pretty consistent rivalry between cities in New Zealand — and between the North and South Islands. But the battle for bragging rights gets put aside whenever the topic changes to Queenstown. Everybody loves this quaint and compact alpine town. And so do I.

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Despite its small size, Queenstown is a huge tourist draw. Visitors come from all over the world for the adventure sports, the vineyards, the scenic beauty … and the Fergburgers. More on that later.

Even during the winter, Queenstown is bustling. People arrive in droves to ski The Remarkables, the nearby mountain range. I’m not into snow sports, so I enjoyed my view from a distance. Still pretty remarkable!

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Besides skiing, Queenstown offers plenty of other options for the adventurous. There’s sky diving (nope), bunjy jumping (nope) and parasailing (nope). And then there’s the Canyon Swing, known as “the world’s highest cliff jump.”

(HELL NOPE!!!!)

I do like watching their promotional video, though.

I also liked watching the paragliders who landed next to my hotel. See The Remarkables in the distance?

A popular, much less extreme, Queenstown adventure is taking the Skyline Gondola to Bob’s Peak for scenic views, food/activities and fun (optional) luge rides. That’s what I did.

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My favorite local activity, though, was the most subdued — peaceful walks through Queenstown Gardens and along Lake Wakatipu. Heaven!

But no matter where your taste for adventure leads in Queenstown, your stomach will probably lead you here at some point.

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Fergburger is a Queenstown institution. Their tag line is “Ferg loves you a lot” — and a lot of people love him right back. So much so that this gourmet burger joint (just one location) is open 21 hours a day, seven days a week.

While there were a lot of choices on the menu. I kept my order pretty simple: A Fergburger w/cheese please.

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Order up!

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For folks who don’t like burgers, Ferg Bakery next door offers sweet treats and savory pies. And next door to that, Mrs. Ferg (the shop) serves coffee and gelato. All of the “Fergs” offer very limited seating, but that’s no problem in Queenstown.

Fergburger + bench + beautiful view = sweet as

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In fact, everything about Queenstown was sweet as.

Even leaving Queenstown was a pleasant experience. The city’s airport is just a few miles outside of town, so getting there couldn’t have been easier. I used the Supershuttle for transport and, just like my experience arriving in Auckland, the service was convenient, efficient and decently priced. Just $20 NZD ($14.50 USD) for my door-to-door ride.

But it was so hard to leave! I can’t say enough great things about Queenstown, or New Zealand, or the six weeks I was lucky enough to spend there. I’ll write a “last call” post soon to list Kiwi goodies I’ve yet to mention … but I’ll be treasuring the memories of those NZ experiences — and the people — for a long, long time.

Here’s one final, beautiful view from above. Next stop: Australia!

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