(Last Updated On: April 20, 2021)
Queenstown, New Zealand is Neverland: Why I miss it!! 1

Do you ever have a memory so vivid projects itself in front of your eyes. It’s like you can reach out and touch it, you can smell those familiar smells, feel the air around you, hear the voices like you’re transported back there once more living through it?

That’s just happened to me so I thought I would tell you all about it and a little town known to backpackers as neverland in New Zealand

In this post we’re going to go on a little trip down memory lane, I’m not sure where this post will lead.

New Zealand is at the far reaches of the world, for many of us, the furthest country away from home, sitting in the shadow of it’s huge cousin Australia. But New Zealand, isn’t just a shy little cousin. New Zealand is voracious, exciting, and full of mystique. Hot lava runs through its veins and It’s body made up by the two main volcanic Islands that make this country.

The country itself is famous for it dairy, has a reputation for having the best lamb on earth, indigenous Maori people, volcanoes hot-springs, glaciers, mountains and the southern Alps. It’s home to the intimidating Haka and where middle earth (Lord of the rings) came to life.

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And Queenstown takes its place within this country, with it’s own fames and uniqueness and is a favourite amongst many a backpacker in Queenstown.

However to get to Queenstown, or Neverland as we backpackers like to call it, we need to go on a journey…No, excuse me I mean an adventure through middle earth to reach it.

Neverland can be found in the South Island of New Zealand, so you will have to prize yourself away from the gorgeous Abel Tasman National park in the north tip of the south Island and cruise down the west coast.

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Pass the western style old town of Greymouth and see the clouds descend and seemingly touch the ground when you reach the incredible but receding Glaciers of Franz Joseph and Fox.

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Once you’ve tackled the glaciers, you’ll be treated to a series of lakes including Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. The lakes will soon be in your rear view mirror as you compromise through the narrow, twisty deep valley roads nestled within the Southern Alps.

You will feel like you’re getting nowhere, twist after twist of valley road, but then just like that out of nowhere, the road opens up and civilization greets you.

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 4

queenstown, new Zealand

Ok, then, now we’ve made it down the coast let’s savour in what Queenstown has to offer:

  1. Feel the energy of Queenstown
  2. Tourist town or for locals?
  3. Arriving is easy, leaving is difficult
  4. Becoming a local
  5. Being broke in Queenstown leads to adventure 
  6. I can feel it 
  7. The adventure capital of the southern Hemisphere
  8. Just ONE more!
  9. Oh, that other thing 

Feel the energy of Neverland

While heading down Frankton Road you will start to feel it, the energy will start to hit you, it’s mesmeric powers will feel like you’re getting sucked into a bubble. As you head down the hill and see the quaint town below, fumes of coffee and malt wine engulf your nose and the crisp air bites and encase every fiber of you.

You are now in the bubble, the rest of the world doesn’t exist, you have arrived in Neverland – More commonly known as Queenstown, New Zealand.

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 5

Is Queenstown for tourists or locals?

You know there are certain places in the world that are just horrible tourist traps, while I normally hate tourist towns, Queenstown isn’t one of them. There is this special atmosphere floating around the place, that just makes you fall in love with it.

I’ll be honest, hundreds if not thousands of tourists and backpackers pour in and flood the town every single day, no matter the weather or season because it caters for all weather conditions. We the floaters and roamers of the world arrive, feel the magic, and it becomes our sanctuary, our playground and that’s why backpackers call this place Neverland.

Queenstown puts a spell on you

This magical atmosphere is generated from the melting pot of tourists, backpackers, thrill seekers, adrenaline junkies and sprinkled with locals. Once you’ve tasted from the pot, It’s hard for us to leave. There are people I know who arrived as backpackers but never left.

This mixture of people coming together creates such a unique atmosphere and high energy that I have never felt or experienced anywhere else in the world except for Portugal. When you’re in Queenstown New Zealand, you’re not just there; you become a part of it and become lost to the rest of the world.

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 6

Becoming a local in Neverland

It’s funny when I arrived I was just another face, another backpacker in Queenstown but just after a few weeks, I was seen by the locals as a local. With the town being so small everybody who lives there knows each other; it doesn’t matter if you’re a backpacker living there, a local family, or a business owner. Once your face becomes familiar, you’re seen as a local.

Originally, I was a backpacker in Queenstown, like many others, I was backpacking through the country. I spent a few days there, instantly I felt it’s energy, but I had to carry on my travels. I knew though I would be back, I had to go back, I needed to feel that energy once more. A few months later, I was back, this time to stay. Like I mentioned, within weeks I was seen and recognised as a local and even got myself a job.

It had that real small town feel under all all the tourists. In Queenstown you know you’re a local when you start getting charged local prices and when you: 

  • Walk into the local cafe and your coffee is ready for you without ordering it
  • Walk into the local store and the clerk already has your smokes ready for you 
  • The sandwich shops saves a breakfast roll and a lunchtime sandwich for you without asking 
  • The bars have a beer a waiting for you knowing what time you will walk in
  • Everybody knowing you by name 
  • The tour shops, promotion staff all leave you alone walking down the street 

It wasn’t just me, it was the same for anybody considered a local. 

Being broke in queenstown

There was another side to living in Queenstown, being swept up in the vortex of the adrenaline bubble. With New Zealand being quite expensive, even though I had a job in the local call centre which was purely for backpackers the Queenstown lifestyle meant I was always broke.

We party hard in Neverland, practically every night. Money stretched as far as paying rent, some groceries and getting fucked up. There were times though when I was dirt broke. I mean not a single penny to my name, go days without a meal but I still loved it. I had been broke before in Australia, and it sucked at times, while of course it was a shitty situation here, but because of the energy, even the shit times felt good.

Soo, broke

To give you an idea of just how broke I was at points, there was a period a friend and I didn’t have a penny to rub between us. We lived in a shitty little hut with no heating through a queenstown winter, days passed by when our only meal was some Haribo sour worms, we lived off vouchers I received from work.

That period was undoubtedly one of the worse times I went through in my backpacking life, but somehow because of the energy of Queenstown, we were able to laugh through it, there were still some enjoyable moments and we got through it.

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Queenstown, New Zealand is Neverland: Why I miss it!! 2

The good times

On the flip side, now there aren’t many times I was flush with money, but there were times we magical times. There were times it felt like an outer body experience, those days being up in the snowy mountains, venturing through the forests or the crazy adrenaline fuelled nights out. Never have I been in a place where I’ve been so cold but sat outside in a beer garden with a smile on my face, enchanted by energy around me.

That period was undoubtedly one of the worse times I went through in my backpacking life, but somehow because of the energy of Queenstown, we were able to laugh through it, there were still some enjoyable moments and we got through it.

This period of time will feature in my next book. 

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 7

I can feel the traveling memory

Right now, if I shut my eyes I’m at a lakeside cafe with the mesmeric mountains in front of me, lost in their tranquillity. The piping hot coffee mug thawing my frozen fingers as that crisp mountain air bites and nibbles at my cheeks. Tourists are all around me, I can hear then chatting away in Amazement, while trying to capture the perfect picture and moment they’re feeling.

All of them hidden under layers of warm clothing, scarfs, hats and big colorful coats. Some of them ready for a day up in the mountains to hike, ski, or snowboard. Joyous backpackers are walking by wondering what adrenaline jacking activity to chase next.

There were days I would sit there for hours, lost in nothing but feeling myself floating over the lake just soaking up everything around me. It’s feelings like that stay with us travelers and backpackers forever.

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The adventure capital of the southern hemisphere

New Zealand is widely known as the adventure capital of the world and that may be but the epicenter is in Queenstown. What extreme sports can you think of?

In whatever way you want your adrenaline kicked to the max, Queenstown has the collection.

Queenstown was where I got my first taste of snowboarding and it was another thing I fell in love with.

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 9

If adventure sports are not your thing then don’t worry it caters for you too.

Take leisurely strolls around the town, there are countless hikes to go on, play Frisbee golf (yes that’s a thing) visit a spa or surrounding towns like Arrowtown. You can just relax by the lake with a coffee or malt wine, eat in one of the cozy restaurants and keep warm by an open log fire. Wow, I sound like I’m selling you a holiday here. (Not my intention)

As I mentioned above, this town is famous for being the epicenter for adrenaline junkies but that’s just through the day – It’s when the sun disappears behind the mountains and the moon takes its place in the night sky that the back streets and alleys light up. Coffee and malt wine is replaced with beers, wine, spirits, and jagabombs. And, the vibrancy and energy are turned up a few notches as Queenstown really comes alive.

Just one more!

Just one more! Is a term synonymous with Queenstown, and with me while I was there. Anybody who knows me from Queenstown knows just what I’m talking about.

You see in Queenstown you can go out in the evening with the intention of having one or two drinks, maybe a drink with your meal but that’s not how it works out.

With the nightlife buzzing every night of the week, people who work during the day want to wind down. The ones who had their adrenaline spiked off the charts are not ready to come down yet and this creates a vortex for partying hard. So when that time comes for when you planned to go home somebody will utter the immortal words ‘Just one more?‘ It’s like those words are spellbound because there is no saying no to it. You’re powerless (or have no willpower) and before you know it just one more has turned into going home at 4 am.

Any backpacker in Queenstown, passing through or living there will have drunk more than their body weight in alcohol on a regular basis in that town.

Adrenaline through the day, drinking and partying through the night in a magical and picturesque town with the most amazing atmosphere – Is how I spent most of my 8 months in that town. Even though it’s a small town and due to new faces coming and going every day no day or night was the same.

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 10

Oh yeah, how can I forget that other thing!

I’m sure you can see why I’m missing this bubble I used to live in but there is one other thing. It would be scandalous for me not to even mention it.

Before I even stepped into the bubble of Queenstown or even thought about going to New Zealand I was told about this from backpacker friends of mine. It actually has It’s place in lonely planet’s top ten things to do in Queenstown. Not a single soul that has visited Queenstown, New Zealand has left without trying it or taking a picture of it. Put it this way I have witnessed tourists lining the streets just to take a picture, just so they can go home and say they were there, they tried it, they experienced it.

What Am I talking about?

I am talking about the one and only…Fergburger…I’ve seen tourists come to Queenstown not caring about anything else, they came for a Fergburger, This is the only burger joint I know that’s on every Queenstown ‘must do’ list. No franchises, no huge bar, or mass production, just one shop in the whole world, making fresh burgers to order and can only be found in Queenstown.

Missing Queenstown blog post - Forever Roaming the World - Pic 11
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The trip down memory lane is over

Well, that brings us to the end of this little trip down memory lane. Like I mentioned at the top of this post I had no idea of where this post was going to go. I know there wasn’t really a structure to this post and it wasn’t meant to serve as any type of guide. It was just whatever thoughts came out were put onto the page.

However, if you’re planning on being a backpacker in Queenstown, New Zealand, take it from me there is a very high chance of you getting stuck and becoming a local like the majority of us have in the past.

The lure of Queenstown for me was so big It’s one of very few places I’ve returned to on multiple occasions. Put it this way, I even went back to Neverland for a holiday for my birthday while I was living in another country, that’s how much I love this place. When the opportunity or the Universe decides, I’m sure I’ll be back to New Zealand and neverland once more.

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Queenstown, New Zealand is Neverland: Why I miss it!! 3

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Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Have you ever been to Queenstown, New Zealand or as we backpackers like to call it – Neverland? This post covers what this magical fairy tale is like and why backpackers arrive but can’t leave #solotravel #backpacking #backpacker #travelblog #travelmemory #queenstown #newzealand
Queenstown, New Zealand is Neverland: Why I miss it!! 4

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36 Comments

Swayam Tiwari · November 13, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Good that you brought up New Zealand here. Not many writers talk about this incredibly beautiful country. Australia yes, but New Zealand? It becomes a blind spot for many.

Talin · August 29, 2017 at 5:27 pm

I have to be honest, I’ve never given New Zealand much thought. My existing list is kinda long, New Zealand is really far, and I’m not much into adventure sports (or any sports, lol). BUT you’ve convinced me otherwise. This Neverland sounds absolutely breathtaking and I would love to try Fergburger.

    foreverroamingtheworld · August 29, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    You know it was the same for me, I had no intention of going it was just a last minute thing. I mean My visa was running out in Australia but I didn’t want to go home back to England so I thought I’d give it a go and I fell in love with the country and especially with Queenstown. I’ve even been back there for a holiday and consider it more like home than my home town in England which is mad. Oh there is nothing better than a juicy Ferg 😀

Rahat Arora · August 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm

Ohh wow New Zealand is just spectacular place to visit. Thanks for sharing a great post and making jealous to visit my favorite place in the world. But thank you so much for sharing my all time best country to visit especially Wellington and Christchurch are simply stunning to visit in New Zealand.

Claire · August 27, 2017 at 6:51 pm

New Zealand is high on my lists of places to visit (such a shame it’s not convenient for me to get to!) It looks and sounds so amazing

Thelittlelai: Beyond limits · August 27, 2017 at 6:14 am

I can truly relate to what your thoughts are trying to transmit to us. I sometimes like this and when it happens, it hits me and draw a square in my face. You truly have owned an amazing travels and showing the great scenery with us is really amazing.

Shaily · August 26, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Wow! This place is so awesome- so many things to do!! The pictures are very refreshing and your style of narration actually made me sense the vibes of the place.. I could feel the cold crisp air and smell the fumes of coffee. Added Queenstown to my travel bucket list. I would love to try out all the adventure sports and everything you listed above!

Cath · August 26, 2017 at 8:18 am

Wow you really have evoked a need to go to NZ soon. Often it is smell that takes me back to a place, something about food markets I suspect. Great post

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