Like in most big cities, Queenstown had a free walking tour through the city which is tip based. Jordon, our guide, was pretty awesome and while going through the gardens and along the oldest buildings through the city center passing the best cafes, restaurants and pubs he gave us an impression about the history of Queenstown. First there were the Maori tribes, one killed the other and the next one came and killed the second tribe and so on until one tribe could defend the territory. 

Then the pakeha discovered the islands and claimed the land for themselves for farming. The pakeha are the Europeans in the mid 19th century. After a while someone found the first bit of gold in that area. Hundreds of Goldseeker came and camped on the original farm and some little businesses started plus the infrastructure was build. Most of the goods were transported by ships to Frankton at the far south end of the lake. 
The city back then had the same amount of inhabitants as it has now. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?

I can really recommend the tour! We even got little samples at Cookie Time and in a pub.