How Queenstown Became the Adventure Capital of the World
Queenstown was carved out of the land by glaciers, rivers and lakes, but it has been shaped by innovative adventurers and entrepreneurs drawn to the region from all over the world to make this place home.
Thanks to generations of daring and determined people, Queenstown is a diverse adventure playground, easily accessed by visitors from around the globe. But it wasn’t always so. Before the ease of travel we now take for granted, getting to Queenstown was an adventure in itself – often an incredibly difficult one.
For centuries, Maori had forged trails through the region for seasonal hunting prospects and prized pounamu (greenstone). However, early attempts to reach Lake Wakatipu by European adventurers failed miserably until Maori chief Reko guided the first party to the shores of Lake Wakatipu in 1856.
Once an access way was established, the first pioneers of the district quickly followed, looking for fertile pastureland and soil for farming. Queenstown delivered, but at a price. Lake Wakatipu and the wide, rapid rivers it linked with claimed the lives of many who tried to cross. Back on land, steep mountains, flash floods and heavy snow were just a few of nature’s hardships these sturdy settlers had to overcome.