Queenstown New Schoolies Haven, as Gold Coast Drops 260%

It is that time of the year again where 1000's of school leavers wind up their schoolies celebrations around the country and abroad. Many students will be left somewhat hung-over, sunburnt, poor and finding their experience of schoolies was somewhat underwhelming. Gold Coast Schoolies numbers were down considerably, with only 19,000 registrations, down from a predicted 50,000, showing a trend towards alternative destinations.

With all the negative publicity surrounding schoolies, school leavers are seeking new and emerging destinations to unwind after 13 years of schooling. One such destination is Queenstown, New Zealand, which offers an alternative for students looking to experience a 'walk on the wild side', without the tag of 'reckless' schoolies.

Lonely Planet claims Queenstown as "the adventure capital of the world" making it a popular destination for school leavers who do not rely on alcohol for a good time, trading adrenaline pulsing Bungy Jumps over a beer.

Celebrations for schoolies have traditionally involved heavy consumption of alcohol. Spokesman for the Australian Drug Foundation, Geoff Munro, said it was disappointing binge drinking remained the greatest problem at schoolies. Anti-Social behaviour stems from the focus on alcohol consumption and lack of activities for schoolies during the daytime. Queenstown provides a host of adventures to stimulate young minds and provide release from the stress of exams.

Schoolies packages include a range of adventure opportunities such as: skydiving, bungy jumping, white water rafting, scenic heli-rides, quad biking, paragliding, canyon swinging, bushwalking and tours such as the Milford Sound boat cruise. With memorable experiences lasting much longer than nightclub black outs, it's easy to see how Queenstown's popularity amongst schoolies is snowballing.

Travel agents specialising in schoolies options are also noticing an increasing trend towards Queenstown with many offering 'schoolies only' packages, packed with adventures every day of the week. Barron Hanson of I Like to Party tours continues to receive positive reactions from their flight and land packages priced under $2000, a bargain for an International schoolies week away.

November is a perfect time for schoolies to experience Queenstown, positioned between the popular winter snow season and summer bike season, allowing schoolies to take full advantage of cheap shoulder season prices and reduced crowds. Not to mention balmy summer weather, making it warm enough to swim in the glacial lakes between adventure activities.

As Northern Australia rapidly loses it shine on the thrill-seeking schoolies crowd, Queenstown's dramatic rise in popularity makes it the ideal place for school leavers chasing a natural high, in a place they not too far from home. Be sure to keep an eye on Queenstown as the next big thing.