wanaka - Wanaka and Queenstown, the cities of the extreme
May 2018,  New-Zealand,  Oceania

Wanaka and Queenstown, the cities of the extreme

On the South Island in New Zealand, they’re two cities very close and really incredible that you need to visit. These are the cities of Queenstown and Wanaka. They’re nicknamed the cities of the extreme, and you will quickly understand why!

We start with Wanaka on our side because we come from the north. The arrival in town is quite nice, We arrive in the early evening during the weekend, we feeld a festive atmosphere. The city is surrounded by mountains and at the edge of a beautiful lake.

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Otherwise the city is a real pleasure ! We walk along the lake, the weather is very nice. A good beer on the terrace overlooking the lake, and after that, an excellent burger at the Red Star Burger Bar (point 265). It was really delicious.

We parked for the night on  the  side of the road, I think this is the only place where you can really stay for the night legaly. Their “free zones” are really hypocrisy … 1km along a road with NO parking , a joke ! Fortunately we found at point 263, just before the city. On the other hand, you can expect locals horns, common against backpackers in New Zealand. (Thanks the ear plugs: D).

Wanaka is quite famous in the world for his tree in the lake. You have already seen this image at least once I’m sure. There are also great vineyards to visit such as Rippon at the exit of the city (free tasting, we took the opportunity to buy a small bottle of white wine, and that was excellent ).

For treks, the famous roys peak, very well known. and we did it in 2 hours, it’s just pure climb quite steep, and again, with training. Some peoples do it in 3 hours. But once arrived at the top, it’s magic! We enjoyed a sunset and their beautiful lights. Sometimes you have to suffer to appreciate nature even more.

The following days,we made some other tracks : the diamon lake and rob roy track, the latter is located more than 2 hours drive from the city. Towards the end are miles of gravel road and fjords to pass ( big holes of water, be careful, we broke something under the car because of that, be carefu l). But we finally could see a glacier very closely. Compared to Franz joseph glacier,it’s more impressive and beautifull  !  And the track was really nice through the forest .

After a few days in Wanaka, we move!

I advise you to take the nationalroad to reach Queenstown and not the highway. It’s really nice and we go through several friendly viewpoints, including the Crown Range Road Scenic Lookout. The parking is big enough to make our dinner with a nice view. After that, we try the little trek from the parking and that cliiiiiiiimb . I stopped after 1:30 but we could continue to an observatory, approximately another 1 hour more. The trek is really nice to do, I recommend it. A 360 view of an unlikely landscape typical of the Rohan style (in the movie :  the lord of the ring s). With fresh air full lungs, we take the road for the rest …

Queenstown is considered as “the” big city of the south. The equivalent of Paris for outings, cultural interests and population (and also a lot for extreme sports). It’s swarming everywhere, it’s alive, it’s fun, I like it.

Did you know? Bungee jumping was invented in Queenstown!

To stay when I arrived, I recommend the pinwood lodge which has the bonus to having a parking. Because yes, parking at Queenstown is a bit of an extreme sport too. If you are looking for a free accommodation or to stay some night with your campervan, I advise you to look at the FREE ZONE map for Queenstown. From our side we stayed at point 277 on my google map. We stayed here for a few nights in a row without any problems. (But be careful not to overdo it, …).

Just before the city is Arrowtown. A city supposed to be an old-fashioned western setting. In fact is just a shopping street with the usual shopping famous name under a western architecture, nothing typical, don’t go there.

It made us feel good to finally enjoy a dynamic and quite pleasant city. To walk in town along a lake again, what happiness! Here is a small list of the things we did or recommend to you:

  • Go eat a Burger at Feg Burger, considered as the best burgers in the country. Just that ! It is not difficult to find it, there’s always a lot of people waiting outside. But it’s relatively fast. So we tested the burgers and they are very good. However, they don’t deserve  the “best of New Zealand” label: D
  • If too much peoiples at Feg, try Devi’ls Burger, some friends told us that is really good to !
  • Taste fudge at The Remarkable Sweet Shop. Sweet delicacies that can be tested for free! I took snicker taste and Loic orange taste. Sooooo good ! (We tested all of them at once).

The little tricks of Louis in the city (Our super compatriot found on the way)

  • To pay  cheaper for your drinks at the bar: The London, just ask at the bar the little red sticker to stick on your smartphone for example. ( Say your here for a seasonal job in the city). Thanks to that, you’ll pay your beers $ 6 instead of $ 9.
  • In this same bar, happy hour from 22h to 23h, the pints are at $ 3 and yager bomb at $ 4.
  • Domino’s pizzas cost $ 6 in Queenstown. But if you made your order  to take away online on the website,it’s still 5$.

After that there are also the extreme paying activities, or not … for which the city is world famous: (we did not do them, but here is the list)

  • Parachute jump over Wakatipu.
  • Tyrolean over the void.
  • A lot of trails and mountain bike trails
  • A jet shot ride, these ultra fast boats on the rivers.
  • A bungee jump
  • Horseback riding

And what about trek then? There are some nice  in the area. Our choice is focused on Glenorchy, especially to see the spot of Isengard,from the movie:  the Lord of the Rings. Who is just around the corner of a road … it’s a little surprising to say that’t is the scenery of the film ^^ ‘on the spot, we do not feel much.

We also did the little track: Glenorchy walkaway. 2 hours of small way arranged between the marshes very peaceful.

Many backparckers are trying their luck in the winter to find jobs in ski seasons. I would advise you to go to Blenheim in winter. The climate is very mild and it is 1000 x less hard to find a work and place to stay (and even more cheap housing). Contact Nicolette at …. (sms) At the end of May for work on Blenheim in the winter season, she works for the government, very ruled. (To rent a bedroom try to send a text to Abbal which has several houses with rooms at $ 100/week, minimum confort but it’s okay ),

And here we are for our passage in these cities. We filled up with civilization, so we leave now for the milfords sound and then after to the beautiful est coast and the caitlins, we can not wait ! hiiiii

Adventures to follow so ….

wanakaTree - Wanaka and Queenstown, the cities of the extreme

Merci à Loic.naes pour les deux grandes photos de cet article 🙂

Now you have all my tips  !

Did it help you? Do you have others good plans?

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