Queenstown, known as Tāhuna in the Māori language, is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Otago province in New Zealand’s South Island.
A popular resort town, Queenstown is surrounded by imposing mountainous peaks and is close to some of New Zealand’s impressive glaciers, making it a popular destination for adventure tourism as well as skiing and snowboarding.
Although not one of the largest cities in New Zealand, Queenstown enchants all of its visitors with its natural scenery and the chance to participate in exciting outdoor activities such as jet boating, bungee jumping, and river rafting.
Discover the travel documents you need to visit this famous beauty spot in New Zealand as a foreign tourist below.
Do I need a visa to travel to Queenstown?
All foreign citizens wishing to travel to Queenstown for tourism will either need to obtain a visa or an approved eTA for New Zealand in advance of departure from their country of residence.
Although a number of foreign travelers are visa-exempt for New Zealand for short stays, they are still required to apply for an eTA (Electronic Travel Authority) online and receive approval in order to enjoy a tourist stay in Queenstown.
An approved NZ eTA allows the holder to enter New Zealand multiple times during its validity, for a stay of up to 3 months with each entry (or 6 months for UK citizens).
It is valid for a total of 2 years from the date of issue, meaning there is no need to submit a new eTA application before every visit to Queenstown.
How to apply for a NZ eTA for Queenstown
Visitors to Queenstown eligible for the Electronic Travel Authority are able to submit a New Zealand eTA application form and receive approval through a simple online process.
Applicants are required to complete the online form with simple personal, passport, and travel information, as well as to answer a few questions related to health and security matters. The pàssport used to complete the form must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the expected arrival date in New Zealand.
NZ eTA requirements also state that it is necessary to pay a processing fee using a valid credit or debit card, as well as an associated tourist levy, which is used to invest in sustainable tourism and conservation projects in New Zealand.
Note: Australian permanent residents of a third country are npt required to pay the added tourism levy, due to an agreement with the government of New Zealand.
Finally, before submitting an application, it is important to ensure that all the information provided on the eTA form is correct and matches the details of the applicant’s travel document, in order to avoid any delays in processing the electronic authority.
Although it usually takes up to around 72 hours to process an eTA for Queenstown, applicants are advised to submit an application at least a few business days before departure in case there are any unexpected processing delays.
Can you fly into Queenstown with an eTA?
Yes, an approved NZ eTA is valid for air travel as well as for those arriving in New Zealand by cruise ship.
Holders of an eTA arriving on a flight to Queenstown are simply able to present the same passport they used for the application to gain entry to New Zealand, as the travel authorization is electronically linked to the same passport once approved.
Queenstown Airport is not known as a major international travel hub, and the majority of arriving flights come from other cities in New Zealand. Therefore, it may be necessary for international passengers to transfer through Auckland, Christchurch, or Wellington to reach their final destination.
However, a number of flights also operate to Queenstown from airports in nearby Australia, including Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney.
Things to do in Queenstown
The majority of visitors to Queenstown come for the wealth of adventure activities available in the surrounding area, including skiing and snowboarding at the world-class Coronet Peak and The Remarkables Ski Areas, scenic helicopter flights over the region, and a number of excellent hiking opportunities.
The following spectacular natural attractions should be included on the Queenstown itinerary of any traveler to the area:
- Milford Sound – One of New Zealand’s famous fjords and located in Fiordland National Park just a short distance from Queenstown. Milford Sound is consistently ranked as one of the top beauty spots in the world and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
- Routeburn Track – A world-famous hiking trail that stretches from the Queenstown side of New Zealand’s Southern Alps to the northern end of Lake Wakatipu close to Milford Sound.
- Ben Lomond – Named after the Scottish mountain of the same name, this imposing summit is located approximately 3 miles northwest of Queenstown and offers climbers 360-degree views over the Wakatipu Basin upon reaching the top.
Those traveling to New Zealand to discover the Lord of the Rings filming locations in the country are also able to see some of the backgrounds used to bring Middle Earth to life in the Queenstown area, many of which are clustered around the nearby village of Glenorchy.