BACK IN THE DAY WITH LAKES DISTRICT MUSEUMhttps://theflyer.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/EL0123-Skippers-Coach-leaving-Queenstown-1890s-.jpg15001101The Flyer MagazineThe Flyer Magazinehttps://theflyer.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/EL0123-Skippers-Coach-leaving-Queenstown-1890s-.jpg
Queenstown Lakes District Holidaymakers Through The Ages
The First Half of the 20th Century
By 1900, the influx of visitors was such that the Queenstown Borough Council sought government aid to develop the area’s amenities. Seating, tracks, tree planting, sports grounds, electric lighting, and water and sewerage connections were all needed. The government remained unmoved until the 1930s when it improved communications, took over the lake steamers and introduced excursion fares. This government assistance greatly increased visitor numbers.
Until the mid-1930s, the critical visitor period was summer. The allure of ice-skating and snow-covered mountain scenery had not been enough to attract great numbers during the winter and the hotels and boarding houses had remained closed during this time.
The opening of the roads, the coming of the motor car and the initiatives of the Mount Cook Company changed all that. By 1934, the Mount Cook Company had connected Queenstown by road with Christchurch via the Lindis Pass, making the trip from one destination to the other achievable within one day. The road from Kingston to Frankton opened in 1936.
Interest in snow sports was growing by the late 1930s. In 1947 the Mount Cook Company built huts and a rope tow on Coronet Peak, hired a ski instructor and skiers flocked to the Wakatipu.
The Wakatipu was now a year-round destination.
“During the Depression Queenstown was at its lowest stage in history. The gold was finished and tourism hadn’t really started. We had a good garden. My job was to go and get firewood four or five times a week. If it hadn’t been for the gooseberries and the goats around the place, we might have been hard pressed.”
Alec Robins – interviewed in March 1993.
Photos and source: Lakes District Museum
Currently in the Lakes District Museum Gallery we have an exhibition from a group of Central Otago artists called Indigo.
Indigo @ Arrowtown – Exhibition runs until September 20.
Includes work from: Rachel Hirabayashi
and Guest Artist: Ann Wadworth
The Lakes District Museum is open seven days a week from 8.30am until 5pm.
Two early Mt Cook cars outside Eichardt’s Hotel.
Outside Mount Cook Tourist Co office in Rees Street.
Mount Cook Bus and Plane, Remarkables in background.