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Shopping guide to Queenstown – what to buy and where to shop

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Quirky art culture and high-end postmodernism are the somewhat mismatched hallmarks of Queenstown’s thriving souvenir and craft scene, while the shopping mall retail park that features in the town centre and nearby Frankton district have ensured that even those looking for high street stores in this mountain setting won’t be disappointed.

Mike Watt

My Destination local expert on

Queenstown (NZ)

Art Galleries and craft shops

 

From the ancient Māori craft culture of rough-cut wooden totems and enchanting Kiwi trinkets, to the post-modernist vibe of a town on the forefront of New Zealand’s artistic thrust, Queenstown is awash with a variety of traditions. Today, visitors are invited to wander between the boutique craft stores and high-end art galleries that sell everything from fine portraiture to crude whittlings of ancient and earthy icons on the streets of Queenstown to Arrowtown alike.

 

Remarkables retail park

 

This purpose built shopping complex is perfect for the visitor looking for bout of retail therapy without the hassle of trying to find parking in the centre of Queenstown. With a whole host of auxiliary services – from pharmacies to cashpoints – the Remarkables Retail Park sits just a short drive from Queenstown center and offers the most encompassing selection of high-end and high street fashion shops, a sprawling food court, a supermarket and a number of travel services.

 

Gifts and souvenirs

 

The souvenir markets revolve mainly around the retail heart of the town, on the pedestrianized Ballarat Street and Beach Street. Here the ever-present artistic theme informs the store-fronts and a number of home-grown souvenir shops are on hand to provide true South Island wares. That said, the post-goldrush town of Arrowtown is the predictable king-pin of souvenir and gift shopping in the region and offers a number of authentic and unique outlets with a distinct Otago flavor.

 

Health and beauty

 

Balancing out Queenstown’s physically demanding array of adventure travel pursuits, the city’s health spas and relaxation facilities are now well developed. Dedicated spa complexes are run by the Body Sanctum on Athol Street and on Frankton Road, while a number of high-end hotels in the downtown district now provide health and beauty packages for walk-in visitors. For the latter, Sofitel in Duke Street is a good choice; while the Millbrook Golf Resort near Arrowtown is luxury treat outside of town.

 

Outdoor and sports shopping

 

With an ever-increasing demographic of outdoorsy types to provide for, Queenstown boasts one of the best arrays of sports shops in the country. In the town center there are countless outlets for all sorts of outdoor goods; from skis and snowboards, to bikes and hiking equipment. There are always some great deals available in the low season and it’s definitely worth shopping around to get the lowest price. The Remarkables Retail Park in Frankton is a good option as it’s home to one of the biggest outdoor specialist shops.

 

Food

 

On the corner of Shotover and Stanley Street, Queenstown’s most central food store, the Alpine Supermarket has a small selection of groceries and drinks in the most convenient location, while Fresh Choice is the largest supermarket within walking distance of the town centre on Gorge Road. The New World Supermarket in Frankton forms the larger end of the grocery-shopping spectrum. Other food spots include the Asian Market on Shotover Street which specialises in oriental delicacies, and the colloquially known ‘Med Market’ on Robins Road.

 

Markets

 

On Saturdays, the Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market in Earnslaw Park is one of the best places to shop for both traditional and modern art work with live music adding to the atmosphere. During the spring and summer months, the Remarkables Market is held in the Red Barn in Frankton, just a short drive from the town. A number of gazebo stores tout everything from fresh food to quirky antiques.

 

Shopping Tips

 

Walking really is the name of the game here, and while a few satellite shopping centers lie outside of Queenstown’s center, if you’re really looking to make the most of the town’s retail offering there’s no substitute for exploring the craft stores on foot. Don’t worry though Queenstown is pleasantly compact and nowhere near as demanding a stroll as the mountain trails on its edges.