Like any medium-sized New Zealand town, Queenstown is nice and compact and all shopping areas are readily accessible on foot. Most of the action is downtown, which is charming and nice for ambling about. The shopping here can be quite pricy; a testament of the quality as opposed to taking advantage of tourists.
Good buys include outdoor apparel for hikers, boaters and skiers, New Zealand-produced woolen sweaters and other sheepskin goods, fine jade jewelry, and arts and crafts as souvenirs. Bargains can be had, although you won't find any in the November through February and winter high season months.
The best of the shopping is at The Mall and O'Connells Shopping Center in downtown Queenstown, as well as along the eastern banks of Lake Wakatipu at the Wharf, and in the Sofitel Hotel's arcade just to the north. There are also convenience stores and one or two supermarkets dotted about.
The Queenstown Mall, or simply ‘The Mall', is a traffic-free arcade right in the heart of Queenstown that offers all sorts of good shopping. It is between Stanley Street and Shotover Street and is particularly good for men and women's high quality New Zealand merino wool clothing. The best shopping is early afternoon during the bustle of a typical summer's day.
Steamer Wharf is just down from The Mall on Beach Street and on the banks of the eastern end of Lake Wakatipu. It has a decent collection of arty stores and clothes shops and also boasts a good helping of cafés. The Queenstown Arts Center is particularly good for souvenirs, while the TSS Earnslaw steamer does trips on the lake.
The largest shopping mall in Queenstown is also in downtown, just up from The Mall and across Beach and Camp streets. It features a couple of dozen shops with an excellent choice of merchandise and is especially good for outdoor sports equipment and for modern New Zealand art.
The upmarket Sofitel Arcade is just north of downtown, between Duke Street and Man Street, yet is well within walking distance of everything else. There are more than a dozen shops here and the quality and service are assured. In addition, the Sofitel Hotel is one of the best in Queenstown.
Earnslaw Park (near Steamer Wharf) is transformed into the Queenstown Art and Craft Market every Saturday. It is the best arts and crafts market in the region with vendors from all over selling their wares at good prices. The selections of arts and crafts on offer have a South Island slant and make great souvenirs.
Queenstown has many quality stores selling high-end outdoors apparel and, if budget is a concern, it is best to shop here just after the high season (around April time) but before ski season. The Queenstown Art and Craft Market on a Saturday is the best bet for souvenirs. Shopping generally goes on to about 20:00 or 21:00 in Queenstown.
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