This article is written for a friend of mine, who is studying tourism, or something. It’s basically about how and why Queenstown became a home to me for so long, and why that was such a great thing.
Queenstown is a highlight on everyones trip to New Zealand, it’s a town cram packed full of awesome adventure activities, luxury hotels, fancy restaurants and burger bars, some of the best bars in the country and some epic landscapes as well. It’s got a little of something for everyone, and a lot for a lot of people. In winter it’s a haven for snow lovers from around the world, while summer is just as popular with those enjoying the longer days and warmer nights. It’s (allegedly) got more bars per person than any other town in the world, which is believable when you consider how focused on tourism this town is.
And it’s this that makes Queenstown such fun to live in, the constant ebb and flow of backpackers, holiday makers and tour buses through the town mean each night is totally different, and always a party. With so many coming through, and so many wanting to stay the lucky ones that find work are truly grateful and it means everyone is happy to be there. The atmosphere in the streets is one of positivity and enjoyment as even a short stroll through the streets offers magnificent views of either the gorgeous lake or the stunning mountains (including the mountains of Mordor)
I was fortunate to be offered a job working for Peterpans, the company I had worked for in Australia, while I was still traveling in South East Asia. A couple of flights after cutting my trip just a little shorter and I was coming into Queenstown to work a job I already knew I loved. But the attitude of the other residents be they British, German, Canadian or actual Kiwis was so welcoming and friendly I soon met people who I now consider some of my best friends. Working and living in a town as small as Queenstown (and it is a lot smaller than you’d think) mean you soon get to know the barstaff and waiters, receptionists, managers, and all the rest of pretty much any business you go into regularly. Within only a couple months it was possible to walk into almost any bar in town, get a cheeky discount drink and a decent chat with the staff. Or if it was busy, just the cheeky drink, making you look like a big shot in front of todays load of fresh backpackers.
There was a carefree attitude towards what people were up to, and gossip was less prevalent than other places, mostly because folk weren’t bored enough to spread rumours or anything like that, we were all too busy enjoying ourselves. Thinking on my time there now, I really wish I could go back. Back to days where walking down the street might take half an hour, because you’d bump into so many others you’d know, and no one worried if you were late, so you’d catch up quickly, sharing the latest adventure either on or off the mountains. It rare to feel so welcome in a foreign country, but in Queenstown I felt more at home than I ever did in the UK, and cold bleak place by comparison, filled with moaning people who don’t even know enough to wish they could live like those in NZ.
Not to mention I got a crazy amount of freebies through work that it was rarely more than a couple weeks between bungys, swings, biking, snowboarding or something equally exciting.