A Pioneering Past to an Innovative Future

Queenstown's history of innovation traces back to the 1860s Otago gold rush, which ignited a transformative era in the region.

As prospectors flocked to the area, drawn by the promise of riches, Queenstown rapidly evolved from a secluded settlement into a bustling hub of activity and creative -thinking. This influx of people from diverse backgrounds brought a surge of entrepreneurial spirit, laying the groundwork for a culture of innovation that persists today.

The rugged landscape's challenges and the need to support a growing population spurred transportation, communication, and infrastructure developments, setting the stage for Queenstown's future as an adventure tourism centre.

An old photo of historic Queenstown

Becoming the Adventure Capital of the World

In the following years, Queenstown leveraged its natural beauty and adventurous spirit, marking it as the birthplace for commercialising ski fields, the first bungy jump, and the inception point for jetboat tours, tandem paragliding, and skydiving.

The 20th century saw Queenstown emerge as the world's adventure capital and a global tourism destination. Harnessing its unique landscape, it offered experiences found nowhere else on Earth.

Queenstown's history from the 1860s onwards embodies a spirit of exploration and a willingness to push the boundaries of what's possible. This enduring character now defines the town, which has diversified into a hub for creativity, technology startups, and film projects.


Travel to a Thriving Future

Queenstown Lakes aims to be a carbon-zero visitor economy by 2030.

Its regenerative tourism plan centres on people and places and ensures everyone can enjoy this beautiful region for years to come. We would love for you to join the mission and get involved, and we hope our stories will inspire other destinations to do the same.


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