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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Friday, August 13, 2010

Queenstown revisited

Phil runs wine tours in Auckland NZ

(Pic of view from our accomm window - Arrowtown.  Pic below - Arrowtown village.)

Last time I was in Queenstown, it was February - hot dry weather, with clear blue skies and no snow on the mountains.  Now we're here in late winter and the alpine scenery is breathtaking.  Local ski fields Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables are doing great business and the central Queenstown tourist strip is bustling.  Despite the recession, Queenstown is still a tourist mecca - thanks to the Australian economy being largely untouched by the credit crunch, plus enough monied USA and European making it over here.

Property values - in the words of a local builder: 'Not so much bargains, as properties being sold for their real worth,' after hyped prices got a reality check.  And despite doom & gloom in other parts of NZ, there is a lot of housing construction and subdivision development still going on.  Having said that, there are many houses sitting unsold, and huge housing estate projects with vacant lots awaiting buyers.

The reality - I believe, is that very ... VERY wealthy people have invested in Queenstown long term and are quite happy to ride out the recession with their small change sitting here as a sleeper.  There are houses here worth tens of millions of dollars, and Queenstown has always had the cachet of wealth with local home owners such as Shanaia Twain, Sam Neill, and Michael Hill.

Personally I would love to live in Arrowtown - a quaint historic village about 20 minutes north of the touristy bits. Local knowledge is crucial - there is a smog line, below which you don't want to live in winter (due to wood fires).  Also, orientation to the sun is a major factor - to take in the best of winter's free sun energy and also to escape shadows from the mountains.  There are some houses which are in shade for 4 months of the winter.  Caveat Emptor, sez I.

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