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Located on the northern shore of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is on New Zealand’s South Island. From the mountain range that frames the picturesque city to a working sheep station and farm, Katie shows us around Queenstown in this Everyday Postcard.
With seven continents, nearly 200 countries, and more than 7.5 billion people in the world, there is a lot to experience. The world is so vast and amazing that even the most avid traveler with a large bank account couldn’t truly do it justice in one lifetime!
Through the Everyday Postcard series, one of the world’s everyday wanderers shares postcard-worthy photos and real-life travel experiences to bring a piece of the big wide world to you.
Based in Sydney, Australia, American travel blogger Katie Dundas took a long weekend trip to Queenstown, New Zealand. After snapping this adorable pic of a shaggy highland cow, she penned this Everyday Postcard.
Greetings from the South Island! New Zealand has got to be one of the most spectacular places on the planet. I’m staying in Queenstown and visited the Walter Peak Station, a working sheep station and farm. It’s wild and rugged out here, just like this shaggy highland cow! I couldn’t resist a few snaps of his gorgeous face, but from a safe distance, since those are some big horns!
There’s so much to see and do in Queenstown, and I’m having an amazing time!
Meet Katie Dundas
Katie Dundas is an American travel blogger and freelance writer based in Sydney, Australia. She loves the outdoors and can often be found running, hiking, or swimming and diving around Sydney. For more on her adventures, check out The Accidental Australian.
In addition to her blog, be sure to follow Katie’s adventures via social media:
How did you decide to visit Queenstown?
I had been to the South Island once before but wanted to return since it is such a spectacular place to visit. It’s only also a short flight away from Australia, making it an easy getaway for a few days.
What's the best way to get to Queenstown?
Queenstown is easily accessible by domestic and international flights, as the town has its own airport. If you’re road tripping around New Zealand’s South Island, it’s also easy to get to by car.
To get to Walter Peak, specifically, the most exciting way is to arrive via the TSS Earnslaw, a historic steamship. This gorgeous heritage vessel, built in 1912, is an Edwardian vintage twin screw steamer, originally built for transporting livestock and workers to and from the sheep stations of the area. Since retirement, it is now used for tourism, providing multiple trips per day on Lake Wakatipu, to and from the station. It’s an incredible ship to travel on, and guests can actually enter into the steam room itself to learn more about how it works.
How did you travel around Queenstown?
Queenstown is easily walkable, or can also be explored via a cruise on the lake, such as the TSS Earnslaw. I would recommend walking around town, as there is limited parking and traffic can be heavy. A stroll through town lets you pop in and out of the boutique shops, cafes, or restaurants, and is really enjoyable. Do check out the shores of Lake Wakatipu, especially at sunrise or sunset, as the moody and dramatic lighting of the lake, next to the region’s mountain range, known as the Remarkables, is unlike anywhere else.
Did anyone travel to Queenstown with you?
I travelled alone, and New Zealand is a great choice for solo travel. It is extremely safe, very friendly and welcoming, and you can find accommodation for all budgets, including hostels, in just about every town.
What sights cannot be missed when visiting Queenstown, New Zealand?
There is so much to see and do in Queenstown! Some of my top recommendations (in addition to visiting Walter Peak, of course!), including taking the Skyline Gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak. From there, you get the best views of the city, and there are some fun things to do at the top. The Skyline Luge is a lot of fun, as is Ziptrek Ecotours, a ziplining experience back down the mountain. There’s also lots of hiking and mountain biking trails to check out.
If you’re visiting in the winter months (May-Sept), there is some fantastic skiing in town. Coronet Peak, Cardrona, or the Remarkables Resort have skiing and boarding for all levels of experience, along with lessons.
In spring, Queenstown Gardens is in full bloom and is a sprawling and impressive botanic garden. Situated right on the lake, it’s incredibly picturesque and a must-see for avid gardeners.
At any time of year, I think Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables are one the best things about Queenstown. Go for a hike, enjoy a sunset over the water or a lake cruise, or simply have a glass of wine at one of Queenstown’s lovely waterfront restaurants. The serenity and beauty of the lake is relaxing, inspiring, and might end up being the thing that keeps you coming back to Queenstown!
Pro Tip: Explore more of the Adventure Capital of the World with this interactive scavenger hunt.
One of the best parts of travel is experiencing the local flavors. What was your favorite meal in Queenstown?
This is an easy one, as I am still thinking about how great this meal was! On my last night in town, I stumbled across an intriguing looking bar and restaurant, Muskets and Moonshine. The southern American inspired spot had a great atmosphere, great cocktails, and the food…oh, the food! I tried a New Zealand rump steak, with jus, hand-cut fries, and something called a Texas coffee dry rub. The tender meat melted in your mouth, and I couldn’t get enough of the hand-cut fries. Check it out if you’re in town!
That being said, if you are vegetarian or vegan, there are many restaurants and cafes in town that offer this.
What's the weather like in Queenstown?
Weather on the South Island can be pretty cold and windy, even in the summer months. I had a mix of sunny days, strong winds, and heavy rain- but you can often get all three in one afternoon! Just be prepared and take an umbrella and raincoat out with you each morning. Even a rainy day in Queenstown is still a lot of fun, so don’t be put off by the weather.
Did you bring home any memorable souvenirs during your trip?
For me, photos are the best souvenir, as I love photography and always make memories of my travels through my photography. However, if you’re looking for something memorable, I would recommend a scarf or sweater made from New Zealand merino wool- it’s soft, warm, and of a high-quality that will last for years.
Manuka honey, a local type of honey, is also used in a wide range of beauty products, including chapstick, lotions, and soap, so that makes a great gift to bring home for friends. It has a lovely, subtle smell, and is very moisturizing.
What's one thing travelers can't forget to pack when they visit Queenstown?
A jacket or windbreaker, as the weather can be really unpredictable on the South Island, but rain and wind is pretty much a guarantee. Also, your camera and an extra sim card, since everywhere here is so gorgeous, if you’re anything like me, you’ll come home with tons of photos!