Why live in Queenstown?

In Queenstown, every day is an opportunity to explore breathtaking landscapes, engage with a vibrant, inclusive community, and contribute to a pioneering vision for a sustainable future.

Queenstown is small enough to have a strong community spirit and big enough to be a melting pot of cultures. Migrants and newcomers are a key part of our vibrant community life, with many locals moving here after falling in love with our people, place, and lifestyle.  

Moving to a new place is exciting but settling into your new home can also be challenging. Here’s some helpful information on working, living, and getting involved in your local community to make your transition as smooth as possible.

 

Where is Queenstown located in New Zealand?

Situated in the southwest corner of New Zealand's South Island, Queenstown is a gateway to some of New Zealand's most dramatic landscapes, including Fiordland National Park to the west and the arid Central Otago region to the east. Its proximity to these regions makes Queenstown a perfect base for experiencing the diverse beauty of the Southern Lakes and lower South Island of New Zealand. 

Getting to Queenstown is easy, with options to fly, drive, or take a coach. The international airport offers daily flights from major New Zealand cities and direct services from Australian cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Once in Queenstown, getting around is simple and affordable with the local public bus network, where fares are just $2 with a registered Bee Card. Other transport options include the water taxi, car rental services, and Uber and taxi services.

Aerial shot of Queenstown on a winters evening with town street lights glowing and snow capped mountains in the background

Aerial view of Queenstown from Bob's Peak


What is the economy like in Queenstown? 

Queenstown's economy blends tourism, film, adventure sports, and innovation, making it a hub for many to work

Tourism is a significant driver in Queenstown, the birthplace of many popular adventure sports and home to two ski fields. Beyond tourism, Queenstown is experiencing growth in other sectors, including hospitality, real estate, and construction, driven by its increasing popularity as a place to live and work.  Technology startups, film endeavors, sustainable agriculture, and the wine industry further diversify its economic landscape. 

Queenstown is also a key destination for conferences and events, offering venues and accommodation options supporting an international visitor experience.

The region's commitment to sustainability and innovation fosters an environment for entrepreneurs and businesses aiming for global impact. This innovative economy continues to fuel job creation and growth. 

 

What is the weather like in Queenstown?

Queenstown offers a unique alpine climate with a diverse weather palette. In summer, temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C, perfect for getting out and about on the lake. Autumn sees the region turn into a vibrant show of red and gold foliage as the temperatures cool. Winter transforms the region into a snowy wonderland, with temperatures often dipping below freezing. This alpine temperament supports the many winter sports and events the region is famous for. Spring brings snow capped mountains, green valleys, spring blooms and sunny days.

Kayaking on Lake Whakatipu, Queenstown

Kayaking on Lake Whakatipu


What’s it like living in Queenstown with a family? 

Living in Queenstown offers families a life filled with outdoor activities suitable for all ages, from skiing and biking to hiking and water sports. Educational facilities range from primary schools to tertiary institutions, providing quality education and study options. 

The town is lively and safe, with community events and festivals bringing locals together throughout the year. Residents can access fresh, local produce, and there’s a shared focus on outdoor living. 

Family playing on rope swing in Queenstown Gardens

Rope swing by the lake edge


What facilities does Queenstown offer?

Queenstown offers an array of facilities catering to both residents and visitors. Supermarkets, recreation options, and gyms are easily accessible to all suburbs. 

Lakes District Hospital services the town and offers comprehensive medical care, including emergency, inpatient, and various outpatient services. Many private healthcare facilities also provide specialised physiotherapy, dentistry, and mental health support. 

Numerous general practices, medical centres, and pharmacies are conveniently located throughout the area.

Getting around is easy and accessible with an efficient public transport system

 

Setting in Queenstown

  • Visa Assistance: If you need help with your visa, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can assist you with inquiries and contact Immigration NZ.
  • Bank Account Setup: You will need a New Zealand bank account to be paid a salary, so we suggest opening one before you start work. When setting up your account, you’ll need your passport/ID and proof of address.
  • Tax Obligations: All residents must pay taxes on their income. Learn about tax responsibilities and how to apply for an IRD number here.
  • Power, Internet and Phone: You can compare electricity, internet, and gas providers online. Switching your mobile to a New Zealand SIM card is recommended and available in local shops for purchase.
  • Waste Management: Queenstown is committed to sustainability. For all rubbish-related information, including how to reduce your waste, visit the QLDC website. You can also sign up for weekly bin collection reminders.
  • Community Engagement: Connect with your community by meeting neighbours, exploring local activities, and joining clubs or groups. Visit local libraries and recreation centres or consider volunteering.
  • Local News: Stay informed with local newspapers like Mountain Scene and Lakes Weekly Bulletin or online at Crux. Engage with the community through Queenstown Trading or Upper Clutha Trading Post on Facebook and other social media groups.
  • Transportation: For convenient travel, use Queenstown's public bus service (Orbus) and daily ferry services. Timetables and Bee Card information are available at ORC Transport. Explore the city by walking, biking, or scootering the trails at Queenstown Trails. For ride-sharing, check community Facebook pages or platforms like Queenstown Carpool. If you are driving, remember to travel on the left. For guidance on driving in New Zealand, visit NZTA.

 

Community support

 

Connecting with your community

There are many community associations that actively represent and advocate for the needs and interests of their local community. They also provide local news and opportunities to connect with the community in your area. Check out some of the associations on the QLDC website.

The district has wide range of community groups and services that support how we live, work and play. The Community Connect directory will help you find a way to pursue your passions and meet other like-minded people.

 

Additional resources

  • New Zealand Now: Government website with information, advice and contacts to help newcomers to get settled. 
  • Live and Work in New Zealand 
  • Queenstown Lakes District Council: QLDC is a proud member of the Welcoming Communities programme and is always happy to help newcomers with queries about living in the district. 
  • Otago Regional Council: ORC is responsible for sustainably managing Otago’s natural resources of land, air and water on the community’s behalf. 
  • iSite: Queenstown's official Visitor Information Centre provides information, local advice and bookings for activities, accommodation, and transport. 
  • Department of Conservation (DOC): DOC protects native wildlife and manages about one-third of New Zealand’s total land area. To learn about local walking tracks or NZ’s Great Walks, get local weather conditions, buy maps, or book hut tickets, visit a DOC Visitor Centre or visit their website. 
  • Business Chambers of Commerce: Advocacy, support, networking, education, and promotion opportunities for business community members. 
  • Ministry of Social Development: MSD’s nationwide service provider directory is a helpful resource for individuals and families.  
  • Ministry for Ethnic Communities: Information, advice, and services for ethnic communities in New Zealand, including funding to support community development. They offer resources in many languages.