For a long time Queenstown in Central Otago has had an international reputation for its spectacular scenery and adventure activities, but the region is now also recognized for its award winning wines.
Queenstown is the unofficial 'adventure capital of the world', but the entire Wakatipu region with its stunning lake and surrounding mountains alone are a real attraction. The aptly named Remarkable mountains provide the most breathtaking backdrop, whether snow capped in winter, or at sunrise or in the afterglow at dusk.
Facilities in Queenstown are excellent as well, from budget to boutique accommodation options, some of the best dining in New Zealand and a buzzing nightlife with numerous cafes and bars.
There's also great skiing in winter on Coronet Peak and Cardrona and plenty of substitute adrenaline activities in summer. Bungy jumping was invented in New Zealand and Queenstown offers a plethora of jumping options. There's also skydiving, jetboating, mountainbiking, canyoning, white water rafting, hiking, sledging, parapenting, the list is simply endless.
But it's not all adventure in Queenstown. For a more relaxed appreciation of the surroundings, lake cruises operate on Lake Wakatipu, the most famous being the TSS Earnslaw. The kiwi and birdlife park is a popular option for families with children and includes two nocturnal kiwi houses.
The tiny picturesque town of Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu offers a tranquil escape from Queenstown is the drive along the lake is one of the most scenic in New Zealand. If you're in search of Paradise, it is located about 15kms from Glenorchy, at the start of the Rees-Dart track. Hiking opportunities are plentiful here, and it's also the starting location of the word famous Routeburn Track, one of New Zealand's great walks.
Things you shouldn't miss in Queenstown
- One of the adventure activities, just take your pick.
- A ride up the Skyline gondola for magnificent views
- Explore some of the hiking in the region
- World class mountain biking trails
- Some of the best dining in New Zealand
- Skiing in winter.