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Tale of Two Lakes

Lakeside towns Queenstown and Wānaka are drawcards for adrenalin thrills, spectacular scenery and luxury style ... but they couldn’t be more different.

Queenstown is the brash resort town, until recently attracting millions of international visitors wanting world-class activities and luxury accommodation. Wānaka is a quieter, less commercial, laid-back lifestyle town.

Queenstown became the first mover in tourism, pioneering activities like the South Island’s first commercial ski area, Coronet Peak, in 1947; the world’s first commercial jet boat operator KJet in 1958; Skyline Queenstown Gondola in 1967; commercial bungy jumping in 1988 and many more ventures.

Pre-Covid, at certain points of the year, Queenstown had 34 international visitors for every local resident and 55% of the town’s GDP came from tourism.