Weekend Escape to Akaroa
Most people think dolphins, France and tourists when hearing Akaroa. And while Akaroa is a prime location for dolphin watching and French fare, ...
A premier holiday destination, Queenstown is an outdoor adventure playground set against a stunning scenic background of tranquil lakes and rugged mountains. This is the original home of commercial bungy jumping, but it’s not all about adrenaline – great nightlife, spas and wineries complete the picture.
Tucked into the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by jagged peaks, the magical feel of this town hits before your plane touches down. One of New Zealand’s best-known visitor destinations, Queenstown is a stunningly beautiful lakeside resort surrounded by towering mountains. The original home of commercial bungy jumping, Queenstown is famous for its outdoor activities – from the extreme to the more laid-back – against the backdrop of a rugged natural setting. During winter, it’s a popular base for skiers and snowboarders, but Queenstown is a busy destination all year round. Just a short drive away, Arrowtown is a quaint little village rich with gold-mining heritage, great shopping and eateries.
Queenstown It has a big reputation for outdoor adventure activities such as bungy jumping, skiing and jet boating, but Queenstown offers a wide range of experiences. Great shopping, dining, day spas and golf courses are relaxing alternatives for passing the time. Its popularity ensures that accommodation is plentiful and the selection of restaurants, bars and boutiques is nothing less than superb.
Arrowtown The historic village of Arrowtown is a 20-minute drive from Queenstown and is a must-see with its cobbled main street, old stone buildings and gold-mining history. There are good dining options, boutiques and several galleries.
Glenorchy 45km from Queenstown, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, is the tiny outpost of Glenorchy – departure point for several significant hikes as well as 4WD adventures. The settlement has a pub, a couple of cafés and limited accommodation.
Get your adrenaline pumping with canyon swinging, bungy jumping, rafting and much more in this adventure capital. Take a boat cruise across Lake Wakatipu to visit a working high country station. Join a 4WD adventure at Glenorchy and head into the backcountry. Browse the boutiques and indulge at a day spa in Queenstown. Mountain bike hill trails in unforgettable scenery. Pan for gold in the historic gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown.
When you’re visiting Queenstown, it’s well worth going the extra mile to visit Fiordland. One of New Zealand’s most remarkable wilderness areas – internationally recognised as a World Heritage Area – Fiordland is a spell-binding landscape of deep fiords, waterfalls, mountains and rainforest. Fiordland’s main gateway, Te Anau, is two hours by road from Queenstown. Milford Sound is another two hours beyond, at the end of a road so visually stunning that it’s best to join a guided tour so that you can sit back and enjoy the scenery. A number of Fiordland operators offer options departing from Queenstown for precisely this reason. Book a tour and you’ll be collected from your Queenstown accommodation and driven to Fiordland in perfect comfort. At the other end of Fiordland’s wilderness is Glenorchy. It is 40 minutes’ drive from Queenstown, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, but you’ll need your hiking boots to get to Fiordland from here. This tiny outpost is the departure point for several well-known hikes into eastern Fiordland – the Routeburn, Caples and Greenstone Tracks. An alternative option is to join a flight-seeing tour of Fiordland. From direct transfers by fixed-wing plane from Queenstown to Milford Sound, to helicopter adventures that include glacier landings, there are options for a range of budgets and schedules.