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Is Queenstown worth the time?

Jacksonville...
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Is Queenstown worth the time?

We only have 7 days in New Zealand. Is Queenstown worth the time? I would like to see as much of New Zealand as possible but, going to Queenstown will take at least 2 days and not leave much time for Christchurch or Wellington. I am thinking that Queenstown, NZ, is much like Tahoe, CA, USA. Is this an accurate assessment?

California
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1. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

There's more to see and do in Queenstown than in Christchurch, and the scenery is 10x better as well.

If you post your itinerary, with dates and interests, maybe we could offer options that would appeal.

North Yorkshire
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2. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

Would pick Queenstown over Christchurch and Wellington.

Christchurch, New...
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3. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

There is a reason (or many reasons) why Queenstown is NZ's #1 tourist destination & it would be a pity not to get to the Southern Lakes area. Generally, with only 7 days I recommend skipping the cities apart from arrival & departure. What time of year are you travelling?

Nelson-Tasman...
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4. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

I would definitely put Queenstown ahead of christchurch and wellington. But in saying that Im not that fond of queenstown to stay. A day or two is enough. Its more that it is a gateway to Fiordland national park, routeburn track, dart valley etc

Queenstown, New...
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5. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

I've been told Queenstown area is a bit like Jackson hole Wyoming ?

The drive down the west side of the southern alps is truly unique in the world, that is worth seeing.

New Zealand
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6. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

I wouldn't try to compare Tahoe and Queenstown at all.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoy Tahoe - but there is tree cover everywhere. Queenstown's scenery is certainly far more spectacular with a far prettier lake. Plus it produces some amzingly fine wines with it's temperate climate.

Jackson Hole - I seem to recall the mountains being more dramtic than the Remarkables - but it lacks the adventure activities of Queenstown.

Queenstown is a unique destination - well worth a couple of days. Chch and Wellington I would skip on such a short visit.

San Antonio, Texas
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7. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

Queenstown and surrounding area is absolutely can't-miss, and I would advise spending all of your time in Queenstown, Glenocrchy, Wanaka, Aoroki/Mt Cook, Te Anau, other than your arrival day, as driving any distance right upon arrival after such a long flight from the US is really tough and pretty dangerous.

Some major differences between Queenstown and Tahoe:

1. There is nothing at all comparable anywhere in the lower 48 of the US that compares to Milford Road on a rainy day for waterfalls. The road seriously looks like a hybrid of Hawaii and Switzerland. On a rainy day on Milford Road there is absolutely nothing in the US other than Hawaii that compares for impressive waterfalls. Not Yosemite. Not Yellowstone. Not Niagra Falls. Nothing. On a rainy day at the Homer Tunnel I must have counted at least 30 waterfalls more than a couple thousand feet tall, and that's a very conservative count. The boat tour up Milford Sound is impressive as well, especially Mitre Peak. I also saw a really rare Fiordland penguin there, and have read you can occasionally see whales (no luck with the whales on my tour there though). You might also get lucky and see keas at the Homer Tunnel. They are large alpine parrots with the inquisitiveness of toddlers.

2. There is no rainforest around Tahoe, but from Te Anau to Milford Sound there are many spots with very dense rainforest. A short level walk at the beginning of the Kepler Track just outside Te Anau takes you through some really cool rainforest. Plus the birdcalls at dawn in Te Anau are really impressive. The gray warbler really has an impressive and long song.

3. There are no major glaciers around Tahoe. I know where to find a few in Yosemite, but we're talking multiday backpacking tours. By contrast, near Wanaka you can do a half-day hike to Rob Roy Glacier. At Mount Cook, which you could stay a night or two at between Christchurch and Queenstown, you can take a boat tour through the proglacial lake under the Tasman Glacier with tons of icebergs around. In Queenstown you could take a helicopter tour up to Earnslaw Burn, which is where that glacier scene from The Hobbit was shot.

San Antonio, Texas
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8. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

I agree with WL on the Jackson Hole comparison. The Remarkables are indeed that, but aren't nearly as dramatic as the view of the Cathedral Range of Lower, Middle, and Grand Teton together with Teewinot, Mount Owen, and Mount Moran in Grand Teton NP in Wyoming.

San Antonio, Texas
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9. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

Sorry, I don't mean to imply you should visit all of Queenstown, Glenocrchy, Wanaka, Aoroki/Mt Cook, and Te Anau, as that would be pretty tough in 7 days. But I would focus on 2 or 3 of them.

San Antonio, Texas
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10. Re: Is Queenstown worth the time?

There is just such a concentration of great scenery in the area in and around Queenstown.

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