Queenstown is hands down one of the most beautiful places on earth. With its dramatic jaw dropping scenery, crystal blue lake waters, ski-ing in the winter and hiking in the summer it really does have something for everyone. It’s renowned for being an adrenalin junkie’s paradise, however this very none-adrenalin junkie found so many incredible things to do that you certainly won’t be wondering what to do next.
Onsen Hot Pools
For those of you who are fans of extremely hot baths and those of you who haven’t tried it yet… (come on) the Onsen Hot Pools should definitely be on your to do list. Steaming hot water from the mountains in your own private hot hub looking out over the Shotover river and mountain ranges, this place is idyllic all year round.
This one is for the adrenalin junkies. This super charged shallow bottom speedboat shoots through the narrow canyons at over 85 kph and will get you windswept and wet with it’s 360 degree turns. Hold on tight people!
There are many hiking trails around Queenstown, however this walk along the Lake from the direction of the airport into town is good for those without the proper equipment. You can stroll along this stoney path, with the lake lapping the shoreline, listening to the birds singing and breathing in the fresh crisp alpine air.
Get out into the surrounding mountains and countryside on a 4×4 scenic tour with Off Road. You can search orks on their Lord of the Rings tour taking you to the specific spots where scenes in the film were shot.
Take some time out in Queenstown
There is SO much to see in New Zealand it is easy to get swept up in the fast pace of trying to cram it all in. Remember to take a couple of hours to just sit, drink some good wine and literally soak up the stunning scenery. My favourite place for this is the Bath House.
Visit the Wineries
Queenstown is surrounded by wineries and the Central Otago area of the South island is known for their fantastic Pinot Noir. Drive the short distance to Amisfield winery, Gibbston Valley or Chard Farm for a spot of lunch and wine tasting.
An hours scenic drive north of Queenstown is the stunning town of Wanaka. This lakeside town feels a lot more local than Queenstown, which is definitely the tourist hub. Wanaka, has a chilled laid back vibe with some incredible wineries like Rippon, possible the most beautiful winery in the world.
This quaint town 15 minutes drive from Queenstown is possibly my new favourite place. It’s peaceful, suburban with a slow pace of life up here. If you’re here in the summer, hole up in one of the café gardens with a good book and a coffee admiring the stunning surroundings. Then take a walk to the gold rush river where you may be lucky enough to find some gold for yourself.
Drive to Milford Sound
Four hours drive away (which is like popping to the shops in kiwi terms) is one of the most astounding natural beauties, Milford Sound. This fijord is home to so much natural vegetation and is teaming with wildlife like the bottlenose dolphins and extremely clever Kea’s. It is most definitely worth the trip and half way is the town of Te Anau, which is great for break in driving and devouring a delicious pie from the pie shop here, be warned there isn’t anywhere else to stop on the way.
An hour’s drive from Queenstown along the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu is the tiny village of Glenorchy. This area is a retreat from the bustle of Queenstown and most people visit here to go hiking or for a weekend retreat from the rest of the world.
Have the best trip!