Navigating Queenstown Like a Local

28th July 2020

Navigating Queenstown like a local – exploring different locations around the Queenstown region

If you’ve been to Queenstown before, you’ll know that there are some great little hotspots within a short drive of the town centre that make a great base for your Queenstown Holiday. Whilst Central Queenstown has some fantastic restaurants, cafes, bars and shops, we have divine locations within 5-20 minutes drive which offer easy access to some of the region’s best activities (think wineries, biking trails, ski fields and hiking routes), and offer a fantastic option to escape away from the masses in town.

With the self-catering facilities of a holiday home, you can enjoy dining at home, cooking for yourself or indulging with a private chef experience or pre-prepared meal delivery, with a few nights out in town peppered throughout your stay to create some really special nights out.

If you’re looking for a beautiful holiday home in the Queenstown area, but would like some local guidance to help navigate the different locations around town, we’ve put together a handy guide to explore the Queenstown area like a local and pick the best part of town for your holiday.


A quaint old goldmining town, with a gorgeous community behind it. There are some great restaurants, character-filled drinking holes, charming gift shops and a fantastic boutique cinema along the main high street, and if you enjoy getting outside, you’ll find some lovely walking and cycling trails here. In Autumn, the town bursts into colour with the turning of the leaves, and the annual autumn festival brings some lovely local events which are worth checking out if it falls over your stay. You’ll find some vineyard cellar doors just a very short drive away from Arrowtown, and a few very popular golf courses in the vicinity.

Perfect for: hikers, bikers, golfers, romantics, foodies, historic buffs and outdoor enthusiasts.

Homes in Arrowtown: WharenuiArrowtown HillsMillbrook

Rural Queenstown/Dalefield

Oh the great outdoors and fresh mountain air – breathe it in! Rural Queenstown/Dalefield region offers large homes with spacious grounds, so you will enjoy privacy and open space in this area. You will need either a rental car, or a chauffeur for your time here, but you’ll have easy access via road to most of the Queenstown regions best bits. This area feels like a total escape – it will be hard to believe the bustling streets of downtown Queenstown are just 20 minutes away. Most homes are not too far from the Queenstown Trail cycling trail which links town and Arrowtown, so many guests enjoy a nice day on e-bikes from homes in this area, and with no restaurants in the close vicinity, we also find guests staying rurally love having a private chef come to the villa for an in-house restaurant quality meal.

Perfect for: large groups, families, those who like privacy, outdoors enthusiasts, nature lovers, those seeking tranquility

Homes in Rural Queenstown/Dalefield: OmaioThreepwood VillaThe Style Sanctuary

Arthurs Point

Close enough to town to be ultra-convenient, but far enough away to feel like you are touching on rural Queenstown, Arthurs Point is a great choice for those who still plan to visit the town centre throughout their stay. You will find ski field Coronet Peak in Arthurs Point, so many of our winter guests enjoy being out this way for easy access to the mountain. You’ll also find the popular Onsen Hotpools and Shotover Jet at Arthurs Point, as well as a couple of restaurants – although with such easy access to town from here, you may prefer to simply head to the town centre for a wider selection of dining options. Arthurs Point also has easy access to Arrowtown via the scenic Malaghans Road, which takes you through rural Queenstown.

Perfect for: keen skiers, those seeking a peaceful retreat very close to town, families

Homes in Arthurs Point: Riverview RetreatArthurs Point Ridge

Lower Shotover

Lovely Lower Shotover area makes the best of most worlds, with a very peaceful location which means easy access to pretty much anywhere! With Frankton on its doorstep, guests in this area can take advantage of the shops, cafes and restaurants in Frankton’s new developments, which grow day by day. Here to ski? Positioned midway between Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, it’s great for anyone who likes to decide on the day which ski field to visit. You’ll also find yourself pretty much midway between Queenstown and Arrowtown, and a well maintained cycling route means you can skip the traffic and cycle in either direction if you’re feeling zesty – we find guests staying in Lower Shotover love having e-bikes delivered to their door for a day or two exploring the trails. If biking is not your thing, you can still enjoy the riverside trails, and beautiful scenery by foot.

Perfect for: families, skiers, hikers, bikers, foodies, wine fans, golfers

Lower Shotover Homes: Shotover PointThree PeaksPinnacle Villa

Kelvin Heights

Sunny spot Kelvin Heights often gets overlooked, but this gorgeous peninsular is a great option, and a favourite spot for many locals. Basking in all day sunshine, Kelvin Heights overlooks Queenstown from the opposite side of the Frankton arm of Lake Wakatipu. A ferry service across the water is a charming and unique way to travel to town, but should you wish to drive, the opening of the two-way bridge a couple of years ago (replacing the out dated one-way bridge) means access to Queenstown and Frankton by car is easy too. There is a golf course, a gorgeous lake-side walking/cycling trail, and The Hilton Hotel has a few different restaurants if you want to stay on the sunny side of town – there is also an increasing number of restaurants, shops and cafes at Frankton, just 5-10 minutes away, offering convenient variety to your stay. If you’re visiting for the snow, The Remarkables skifield access road is very close by.

Perfect for: sun lovers, hikers, bikers, golfers, skiers

Kelvin Heights Homes: ShimmerlakeAbsolute Lakefront

Queenstown Hill & West Queenstown

Very close to central Queenstown, and elevated for great views, Queenstown Hill and West Queenstown homes are popular for their convenient location to town. For the active amongst us, it is possible to walk to/from the town centre, although the uphill location can put some people off! High on the hill, you’ll enjoy postcard views of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, and you’ll be positioned in an easy location to head out of town towards Frankton, Arrowtown and the rest of the region. This area is really just an extension of the town centre, but you may find the prices more favourable. The houses tend to be a little more densely packed as expected in central locations, so embrace thy neighbour! You can take advantage of this fact if you are travelling with another family, and pick two houses side by side or very close by.

Perfect for: those wanting to be very close to town, lake-view lovers

Queenstown Hill & West Queenstown Homes: KahurangiBraesideTonic LodgeQueenstown Heights

Central Queenstown

Queenstown is a pretty unique destination – there are world class restaurants, bars, cafes and shops in what is essentially a very small town. There are activities a-plenty, and the scenery is very special! For many first time visitors, the preference is to stay right in the town centre, amongst the hustle and bustle, and if you are planning to visit without a rental car, this can often be the easiest option. You will pay a premium for location, with central homes being slightly above average in cost, but you will have the convenience of being able to walk everywhere, and most activities have a town centre pick up point. With the central location, expect the property to be either part of a complex, or semi-detached at least, so you will need to be conscious of your neighbours – no problem if you’re a night owl, as you’ve got many establishments to choose from on your door step. Town can be busy during peak times, but this gives a bustling atmosphere which is exciting to be a part of – just keep this in mind if you are travelling during these peak times, you will need to book early to avoid disappointment.

Perfect for: first timers to Queenstown, those who like to dine out every night, those without a rental car

Homes in Queenstown: Kakara MoanaThe PenthouseUpper Bay Views


So close to the town centre, you could almost call homes in Fernhill central Queenstown – 5 minutes’ drive will have you smack bang in the centre of town, and with regular buses running constantly, and walking link trails, it’s easy enough to stay in Fernhill without a car (although, the clue is in the name – it can mean an uphill slog or most opt for a taxi ride to get home uphill from town…) Fernhill offers the million-dollar-views of Lake Wakatipu and the mountains from its elevated position, so if you’re looking for those Instagram shots, look no further, and the homes tend to be a little larger, so there are some great options for groups and families. Apart from one restaurant, one take away and a couple of hotel restaurant/bars, there is not much in Fernhill for you to explore and experience per se, but with the town centre so close, this really isn’t a problem and shouldn’t deter you.

Perfect for: large groups, families, those seeking something close to town, people who live for the scenic views

Homes in Fernhill: BellbraeAmaroo50 Aspen GroveMatakauri House

You can view our full range of accommodation in Queenstown here – if you’d like to chat to our team of luxury accommodation experts about the most suitable area of Queenstown for your next holiday, get in touch!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to know the latest news and special offers from MajorDomo


Talk to us

Have you got more questions or would you like to talk to us about a custom trip?


© 2023 MajorDomo. Website by Webstudio