Chapter 6 of GODZone will be hosted by the wider Southern Lakes District with activities being focused around the adventure capital of the World, Queenstown.
Queenstown (Māori: Tāhuna) is a resort town in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand’s South Island. It is built around an inlet called Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu, a long thin Z-shaped lake formed by glacial processes, and has spectacular views of nearby mountains such as The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Walter Peak and just above the town; Ben Lomond and Queenstown Hill.
A resort town, Queenstown boasted 220 adventure tourism activities in 2012. Skiing and snowboarding, jet boating, whitewater rafting, bungy jumping, mountain biking, skateboarding, tramping, paragliding, sky diving and fly fishing are all extremely popular. Queenstown is a major centre for snow sports in New Zealand, with people from all over the country and many parts of the world travelling to ski at the four main mountain ski fields (Cardrona Alpine Resort, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone). Cross country skiing is also available at the Waiorau Snowfarm, near Cardrona village.
The 100-year-old twin screw coal fired steamer TSS Earnslaw traverses Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown has many festivals and events. Examples include Bike Festival, Winter Festival, Jazz Festival and the Winter Games which brings together world leading snow sports athletes.
“It’s the ultimate adventure racing destination. Majestic scenery, adventure activities around every corner, an unrivalled history in the sport as a host location and simply one of the best places on the planet to visit – whether that’s with your team, support crew or family. The course has been a work in progress for almost 5 years and it’s going to be a very special week for those who take part.” – WARREN BATES (RACE DIRECTOR)
Host Resort – Queenstown
What can we say, it’s the place that we call home and it’s the perfect place to run an event like GODZone, to bring up a family and to live life to the full. It’s a place that invites you outdoors and there is an endless stream of things to experience, all of which adds up to a very healthy lifestyle. If New Zealand can be considered the home of adventure racing, then Queenstown has played a huge role in making that the case. It’s hosted many expedition races over the past 25 years and could rightly claim to be the most iconic location in the sports history.
Living in Queenstown gives us a unique insight into delivering what we think will be a truly memorable event. The course has been on our minds since the beginning of GODZone, giving us a full 5 years to formulate the ultimate adventure in the sport. Yes, the terrain and options around Queenstown are unique and limitless. However, you shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Queenstown is also one of the great tourist destinations and there may never be a better time to bring your family over so they get a chance to soak up this wonderful part of New Zealand. Not only that, Queenstown is served by an international airport which is only 10 minutes away from the centre of town and all the action. Sit back, relax, enjoy the flight, stare open-mouthed at the scenery as you descend over Lake Wakatipu and get ready for the Adventure Like No Other.
If you’re into a longer trip or your family is looking for adventure whilst you are out there doing the GODZone thing, there are a myriad of ways to entertain yourself. Sunbathing, swimming, boating, fishing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, parasailing, rafting and kayaking are the way to enjoy Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown has now emerged as a top notch international cycling destination. New trails have opened up iconic landscapes and experiences for bikers looking for everything from daytime dawdling to high energy alpine descents (there will be a few of those at GODZone for sure – new brake pads please). Other more challenging biking options around the region include heli-biking, world-class bike parks and downhill terrain, some of which is accessible via the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola assisted bike lift. If you prefer getting around on your own two feet, it’s also a hiking mecca. There’s plenty of choice around the region, from leisurely lakeside strolls to exhilarating heli-hiking tours and multi-day walks including the Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.For those into climbing, the Southern Lakes region has an abundance of mountains and cliffs to conquer.
As a resort centre, there are many bus services that operate into Queenstown, with most being for package tours, but daily services for the local or itinerant are available to and from Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch, which are the main cities closest to Queenstown. Queenstown Airport receives flights from Australia by Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar and in particular, to Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, and Sydney (the frequency is much increased over the ski season and during summer). Domestic flights operate to Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Nelson and Wellington. It is New Zealand’s busiest helicopter base, also the fourth busiest airport by passenger traffic, and is also heavily used for tourist ‘flightseeing’, especially to Milford Sound and Mount Cook, using both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.
The primary road access to the Queenstown area is via State Highway 6 (SH6), which travels from Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge to Frankton, where a 9km spur (SH6A) leads to the CBD and connects with the Glenorchy Road. SH6 continues south, crossing the Kawarau river before heading down the eastern side of Lake Wakatipu to Kingston before crossing the provincial boundary and emerging on the plains of Southland, terminating in the city of Invercargill. A difficult road over the Crown Range leads to Cardrona skifield and Wanaka, and is New Zealand’s highest paved public road. Queenstown is the departure point for a large number of day trips to the similarly famous Milford Sound, which entails a return trip of approximately 12 hours. There are scenic flights available to Milford Sound. A return flight, including a two-hour cruise, is approximately four hours.
Finally, we couldn’t give you the Queenstown lowdown without mentioning Fergburger – yeah, you might want to get your order in now, it’s that busy. It’s an institution and a visit to Queenstown wouldn’t be complete without a munch on the burger that has it all.
Because of its relatively moderate altitude but with high mountain surroundings, Queenstown has an oceanic climate. Summer has long warm days with temperatures that can reach 30°C while winters are cold with temperatures often in single digits with frequent snowfall, although there is no permanent snow cover during the year. As with the rest of Central Otago, Queenstown lies within the rain shadow of the Southern Alps, but being closer to the west coast the town is more susceptible to rain-bearing fronts compared to nearby Cromwell, Wanaka and Alexandra. The hottest recorded temperature in Queenstown is 34.1°C (93°F), while the coldest is −8.4°C (17°F).
All in all it looks like a an amazing location for GODZone with a climate that can both dazzle and challenge – weather is just another part of the Adventure Like No Other. All teams at GODZone should expect to travel high into the mountains which brings the risk of extreme temperatures, heavy rainfall, snow, sleet and their related dangers. Water temperatures here, on the whole, are chilly (rivers and lakes are invariably fed from glaciers or the high mountains) and teams should keep in mind that long or repeated immersion can cause the body to chill rapidly, even on a sunny day.
What Queenstown Offers