Exploring Queer New Zealand

Author: , December 16th, 2017

Queer New Zealand - Queenstown

Blessed with unreal natural wonders in practically every direction you look, New Zealand really is the otherworldly wonderland presented to moviegoers in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

To fly into New Zealand’s South Island from Australia is to experience humankind at our most predictable. At the first sighting of the twisty, mountainous, and lambspeckled landscape, everyone looks out of the plane’s windows in a simultaneous craning and angling of necks, and a rapid fire snapping of smartphone photos. In short, calling New Zealand pretty is like calling Liberace a modest dresser. New Zealand is a jaw-dropper.

Even better, the country is tailor-made for hassle-free tourism. Its roadways are elegantly paved, its people attentive and well mannered, even its ubiquitous grazing sheep (which outnumber humans nearly 18 to one) bare the uniform appearance of having all been recently shorn. What it lacks in dazzling cities and gay life, it makes up for in scenery so sublime even America’s most divided citizenry can agree it’s just beautiful all over the place.

There are few “queens” in Queenstown, where my friend Ryan and I enjoy an early evening arrival in balmy March. A city that would disappoint gay travelers in search of finger-snapping drag queens, a randy leather bar, or the appearance of an occasional rainbow flag, it nevertheless fires up the imagination of even the most armchair adventure seeker.

Hardly a major city (pop. 14,300), Queenstown is more like a chic base camp. If you’ve ever idled in Cairns en route to the Great Barrier Reef, overnighted in Arusha before hiking Kilimanjaro, or shacked up in a chalet before skiing the slopes of Whistler Mountain, then Queenstown will be instantly familiar. It’s a razzle-dazzle lakeside city where nobody is a true local and everyone rises and shines at the crack of dawn in search of nearby adventure—and there are plenty of them.

By Jason A. Heidemann – Full Story at Passport

New Zealand Gay Travel Resources

Dolly Travels: Queenstown and Milford Sound

Author: , September 27th, 2015

Dolly GoolsbyKia Ora,

Time is just flying by. I thought I would write about Queenstown and Milford Sound before now; however, there is so much to tell you, I had to revise again and again, to give you the highlights. This is such a beautiful, unique, majestic area that finding the words to describe it was a task.

First, we flew into Queenstown by way of Christchurch when we left Rotorua. After leaving Christchurch, flying south, these magnificent Southern Alps came into view. The day was brilliantly sunny, and I was constantly looking out the window. I finally had to take a short break, as I felt that I might go snow blind!

It was so interesting. All that vast expanse of land, mountains, lakes and streams, and no sign of human activity. As we neared Queenstown, I did see one isolated farm. One long lonely road leading up to it. The rivers were so interesting. They looked like giant silver braids. The small streams running down the mountainside were children’s scribbling lines. The mountains, with the snow on them, seemed to me that I was looking down and across a meringue pie.

After we collected our bags and started for the town of Queenstown, we stopped on the way to visit Arrowtown, an old gold rush town that has been maintained to still have the 1860’s charm. There is one section that was the Chinese miners camp. Some of those old, tiny buildings have been kept as they were 150 years ago.

After visiting Arrowtown, we made our way through Queenstown, to our hotel, which was situated on a hill overlooking Lake Wakatipu, just about a mile from the city center.
We all walked downtown that evening, had a great dinner in a pub in the city center, then Aaron arranged taxis to take us back up the hill, to the hotel and a good night’s sleep.

Early the next morning, we set off for Milford Sound. This involved a long bus ride through some of the prettiest country I have ever seen. For the first hour, we followed the lake side. Then we went inland, seeing different terrain, fields of sheep, fields of cattle grazing, pastures of farmed deer. We had to stop at one point, and let the farmer herd his cattle down the only road in the area.

It was rather fun, seeing the cattle being herded with a pick-up truck.

We stopped several times. Each time we were looking at another wonderful sight. Here we were, at a clear, pristine creek. We were able to fill our water bottles from the stream. The mountains in the background were so magnificent.

Eventually, we reached Milford Sound. By now we had traveled for over 5 hours, and the scenery had been so astounding. We were ready for a different kind of visual beauty: the lovely Milford Sound.

I hope you will know now why it has taken me so long to write this blog post. It is impossible to try to convey all the beauty, the magnificence of that area in this tiny blog post. (I have this one request: if you have not been to New Zealand, put it on your bucket list.). I think New Zealand is the most pristine, green and beautiful country in the world. I also think I will have to get a new Thesaurus, as I need more words to describe what I am seeing here.

Now Milford Sound. This is a body of water that flows out to Tasman Sea. We boarded a boat for a two-hour cruise of the Sound. We had a most lovely, sunny day to see all the surrounding hills and inlets, and the waterfalls cascading down the mountains.

We had such an adventure. Sadly, the cruise ended, and we had to go back to our hotel in Queenstown. We did travel back the way we came, so once again we were treated to the visual cornicopia. Aaron put on a movie for the last two hours of our trip; a film about a New Zealander and his desire to see how fast his motorcycle would go. If you haven’t seen it already, rent the movie , “World’s Fastest Indian”, starring Anthony Hopkins. It is based on a true story, of a real, genuine New Zealander.

We got back to the hotel late in the evening, a bus load of tired, but happy travelers.

Today was another day of visual, sensory overload. I will try to get today’s adventure onto the blog soon, as tomorrow we will have another adventure.

I am so happy that I have had the opportunity to see New Zealand again, and that I can share it with you. At least a bit of it. You must come see it for yourself.

Until next time,

Good night,


By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Otago Gay Travel Resources

Speed Dating Planned for New Zealand Gay Ski Week

Author: , February 11th, 2015

Gay Ski WeekDNA Gay Ski Week organizers have revealed a special speed-dating event at this year’s queer winter sport festival in Queenstown, New Zealand.

The planners will team up with the Highlands Motorsport Park in Cromwell for the ‘Highlands Hook Up’ adventure day on September 1.

The ‘Highlands Hook Up’ involves high-speed speed-dating in Highlands Porsche Cayenne Taxis, where you’ll be given three minutes to make an impression on a potential date while driving around the course at speeds of up to 200 KPH.

Full Story at Gay Star News | Otago, New Zealand Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Queenstown Rocks in the Snow

Author: , September 17th, 2014

Queenstown Gay Ski WeekIt is hard to imagine a more beautiful place than Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand, and it is hard to imagine a better time to visit than during Gay Ski Week.

Situated on the stunning Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by snow capped mountains, there was a real buzz of excitement as gays and lesbians from around the world arrived into town for days of skiing in perfect conditions, and nights out on the town.

Gay Ski Week is a big deal on the Queenstown calendar. The streets were festooned with gay ski week rainbow barriers. The local shops were all involved in a competition as to who could create the best Gay Ski Week window display. ‘The business association here in Queenstown has always been incredibly supportive,’ explained Gay Ski Week organizer Sally Whitewoods.

By Gareth Johnson – Full Story at Gay Star News | Queenstown Gay Travel Resources

Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week to Be Bigger Than Ever

Author: , March 30th, 2014

Gay Ski WeekHot on the heels of Queenstown becoming a gay wedding hotspot, the organisers of the resort’s Gay Ski Week have organised international travel prizes bound to grow the event’s global profile. Hundreds of gay men and women converge on Queenstown for the annual event, this year being held from August 30 to September 6, and organisers Sally and Mandy Whitewoods have used the growth of the event to leverage international coverage through some of the world’s largest gay-focused magazines.

“Every year we attract more and more people from a cross-section of countries and we’re stoked to be able to grow the event’s profile and reach even further,” Sally Whitewoods said.

“It’s fantastic we can offer people in the US and Australia the chance to experience DNA Gay Ski Week QT first hand. The prizes are just phenomenal. We’re looking forward to generating some interest and raising the profile of Queenstown across the globe.”

Authored By Grant Bryant – See the Full Story at Stuff.co.nz

Click here for gay travel resources in Christchurch and Canterbury.

Gay Ski Week Queenstown Announces Travel Partner for 2012

Author: , April 14th, 2012

Queenstown Gay Ski WeekIt’s time to start planning your trip for this year’s Gay Ski Week Queenstown as Kirra Holidays was announced as the event’s main travel partner.

Gay Ski Week (GSW) Queenstown runs August 25 – September 1 in the Southern Lakes area of New Zealand. Events and parties are planned for almost every night, with karaoke and wine tastings on the list. Parties organised for the week will sport themes such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Casino Royale and the closing ‘Gaydar Mystery Dance Party’.

Full Story from the Star Observer

Click here for gay travel resources in Queenstown.


New Zealand: Queenstown Region Makes Lonely Planet’s Top 10 List for 2012

Author: , November 12th, 2011

Influential travel authority Lonely Planet has chosen New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region, including popular lakeside resort Queenstown, as one of the world’s Top 10 Regions to visit in 2012.

The Southern Lakes region comprised of Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Fiordland is the only region in Australasia to feature in the new book, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2012 – the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.

Queenstown’s backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range and the nearby lakes area were introduced to cinema audiences around the world in Peter Jackson’s award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Full Story from Edge Boston

Click here for gay travel resources in Queenstown.

Last Time for Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week?

Author: , July 15th, 2011

Queenstown’s Gay Ski Week faces cancellation as its organiser wrestles with a $25,000 “cashflow head-ache”. Sydney-based Mike Sanford says changing the event’s dates to July 23-31 to avoid clashing with the Rugby World Cup has “killed things well and truly”.

Ash clouds disrupting flights, late snow and the economic climate haven’t helped either, Sanford says. “Let’s be honest, New Zealand’s not a sexy place to travel at the moment.”

Gay Ski Week, now in its ninth year, dragged in 700 gay men and women last year and was worth $1.2 million to the local economy, Sanford claims. The $25,000 shortfall – needed for pre-payments for accommodation, ski buses and other commitments – stems from poor forward bookings, he says.

Full Story from scene.co.nz

Click here for gay travel resources in Otago, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Gay Ski Week Working With Travel Wholesaler

Author: , June 5th, 2011

New Zealand Gay Ski WeekThe growing demand for tickets to the gayest event in Queenstown has seen Gay Ski Week organisers team up with Australia’s largest snow travel wholesaler. Value Tours will be bringing their expertise in the travel industry to the table and will be selling GSWNZ eight Night Ski Packages, accommodation, ski rental, lift passes, official event tickets and passes to the Pink Ski Bus to the mountains.

Event organiser Mike Sanford it was essential to bring in a major wholesaler to cope with the demand.

“The event has the potential to become massive, especially with 75 per cent of our guests coming from Australia, we need to bring in a specialised operator to manage the bookings and maximise the growth opportunities for the event in that market.”

Full Story from GayNZ

Click here for gay travel resources in New Zealand’s Otago Region.

New Zealand: Gay Ski Week Starts on July 23rd

Author: , May 5th, 2011

New Zealand Gay Ski WeekHundreds of international gay and lesbian skiers and snowboarders are set to descend south of the equator this winter. The largest GLBT skiing and snowboarding club in the world — Ski Bums — is heading to New Zealand for Gay Ski Week in July.

Gay Ski Week NZ event director Mike Sanford said he was “thrilled” GLBT skiers and snowboarders were making the trip.

“I’ve been in communication with them for years and out of the blue got a call from the Ski Bums director who said he is organising a group for the event, so this is exciting news,” Sanford said. “It has been awesome — the international interest we are getting — and we can’t wait to host the Ski Bums members and show them some true Kiwi hospitality.”

Full Story from The Star Observer

Click here for gay travel resources in the Otago Region, New Zealand.