Our top sights, highlights and exclusive tips
Queenstown hugs the foothills of the Southern Alps on the banks of Lake Wakatipu. Kayak in the alpine lakes, shred the slopes of Coronet Peak or hike through Fiordland National Park. Take a picture of a bottle-nose dolphin or, if you’re lucky, a humpback whale. Savour a scenic gondola ride up Bob’s Peak and enjoy a local pinot noir as you overlook Queenstown below. Although modest in size Queenstown is great in stature when it comes to jaw-dropping adventure.
AJ Hackett Bungy Kawarau Bungy Centre
Lake Hayes Walk
On a clear day, the water of Lake Wakatipu mirrors the skyline, reflecting mountains that border its edges. Located on New Zealand’s South Island, the lake fills a valley carved by ancient glaciers at the foot of the mountains. Kayak across these waters and look out for a longfin eel. As you Para Flight, the lake recedes away beneath you into a lightning boat of blue.
Ride the Skyline Gondola and enjoy pleasing views of Queenstown and the mountains that surround the town. Five-minutes from downtown, once up high in the gondola why not enjoy some cuisine as you dine in a restaurant above the city. Activities can include a race around the track at the Skyline Luge, or a stargaze as evening arrives to fill the skyline with sparkling jewels that are out of this world.
Over 25,000 years ago, glacial activity began to form a gorge that is known today as Skippers Canyon. This canyon was an epicentre of a gold rush in the 19th century. A tour by bus or jet boat between the narrow canyons that encase the Shotover River deliver with historic insight and adrenaline-fuelled adventures. Be sure to take time to gaze across the jagged cliff faces and brown leaves of this forested land.
After a brisk hike across Skippers Canyon, why not power through the narrow canyons found at Shot River in a jet boat that exceeds 50mph? This jaw-dropping experience will exhilarate as you hold on to a ride that includes splendid views of the scenery around you on this crowd-pleasing tour on water.
AJ Hackett beckons your inner thrill-seeker. Plunge 40 meters down towards the waters of Kawarau Gorge on an unforgettable bungy jump. Then fly through the sky on a zip line adventure over the Kawarau River. Of course, you can walk the suspension bridge and cheer on your friends while taking in the views.
Milford Sound may be the South Island’s star nature attraction. Perhaps it’ll be the sight of water spilling from forested cliff that moves you in this Fiordland. Spotting marine life such as fur seals, dolphins, and whales could also be a take away highlight. In this mountainous location of valleys and pointed glaciers, you’ll be breath taken the moment you enter this land.
Around 15 minutes from downtown Queensland is Lake Haye and the surrounding area. The reflective qualities of these waters exude beauty as the backdrop of the sky and mountain range are mirrored. Hike a trail around the lake that takes up to three hours and look out for birdlife such as the mallard and New Zealand native scaup. Then head over to the Gibbston wine region, a 10-minute drive that assures a lovely glass of Pinot Noir on arrival.
Whatever your level, coronet hill has a trail for you. Get your thrill at New Zealand’s first ski hill. At 1,676 metres high views to be adored of Queenstown and The Remarkables Mountain. If you need a break from shredding the snow, visit Lake Alta, glacial water that when frozen in winter hosts an annual ice dive.
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