Queenstown is a compact town, with most shops, restaurants, and amenities within easy walking distance. There is no public bus system, but the Connectabus provides excellent all-day service. The central shopping area is bordered by Marine Parade on the lakefront, Camp Street to the north of that, and Shotover Street, which runs into Lake Esplanade. Focus on Beach Street, Rees Street, and The Mall for shopping. If you have a car, keep in mind that parking in Queenstown is limited and expensive. Save yourself a lot of time and frustration and head straight for the new carpark on Man Street (beside the Sofitel). It has space for 400 vehicles and everything is within easy walking distance.
The historic village of Arrowtown is 20km (12 miles) to the northeast. A calm counterbalance to the frenetic pace of Queenstown, Arrowtown is one of New Zealand's last little frontier towns. Glenorchy, now billed as the "Gateway to Paradise," is a 45-minute drive around the west arm of Lake Wakatipu.
The Queenstown i-SITE Visitor Centre, Clocktower Centre, Shotover and Camp streets (tel. 0800/668-888 in NZ, or 03/442-4100; fax 03/442-8907; www.queenstown-vacation.com), is open in summer daily from 7am to 7pm, and from Easter to the end of October from 7am to 6pm. It sells stamps; sends faxes and e-mail; exchanges currency; and makes reservations for accommodations, transport, and activities. The Real Journeys Queenstown Visitor Centre is on the Steamer Wharf, Beach Street (tel. 0800/656-503 in NZ, or 03/442-7500; fax 03/442-7504; www.realjourneys.co.nz). The Department of Conservation Information Centre, 37 Shotover St. (tel. 03/442-7933), is the place to go for information on walking trails and national parks.
While at the visitor center, pick up a copy of the Queenstown Today & Tonight brochure. For a critical lowdown on what to do, get Itag and the Backpackers’ Guide to Queenstown. Also look for the two free tourist papers, The Mountain Scene and Qt Visitor Information.
Get an online introduction to the area at: