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Few towns in the world – if any – have so dramatic a setting as Queenstown, laced by the shores of Lake Wakatipu and backed by the dramatic ‘Remarkables’ Mountains.
Naturally, all that beauty lends to lots of time outdoors, and in the ‘adventure capital of the world’, it’s easy to play a game of golf, jet boat at Lake Wakatipu or even ski at one of two resorts between June and October.
Just as well, Queenstown has become a renowned cycling destination, offering a smorgasbord of trails and road rides plus the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola accessed mountain biking. Of course, even thrill-seekers need a little down time, and not everyone wants to take in the sights while suspended from a bungy cord.
Thankfully, Queenstown has every opportunity for those travelers too.
Visit the historic and picturesque Arrowtown, taste your way through the valley of vines or unwind in a hot pool at the popular Onsen Hotpools.
Every adventure earns a little relaxation, and here you won’t have any trouble cashing it in.
Queenstown Attractions, Sightseeing & Activities
Considering its location, Queenstown’s main attraction is the great outdoors. Explore Lake Wakatipu by kayak, the waterfalls of the Milford Sound on a hike, or the Routeburn Track through canyoning. Cyclists will love the trails running alongside Lake Hayes, and history-buffs will find themselves falling for Arrowtown, a former gold mining establishment just 15 minutes from the city. Visit in the fall to make the most of the town’s changing colours, and in the summer, combine a good round of golf with a winery tour to make the most of the warm weather.
Come winter, Queenstown becomes a whole other world. With four ski areas all open for business, you can hit powdery slopes and ski through untouched terrain on any given day, and at any level of experience. The Coronet Peak is arguably the most exciting mountain, with world-class facilities, superb conditions and spectacular terrain, but it’s the Treble Cone ski area that boasts the longest vertical in the Southern Lakes. If you’re travelling as a family, Cardrona Alpine Resort has a friendly and approachable atmosphere, and as for The Remarkables, well, the name says it all.
Queenstown Shopping & Dining
Combining pretty boutiques with picturesque views, Queenstown is quite a place to go shopping. The downtown precinct falls right on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, making it easy to explore local boutiques known for their greenstone jewellery, wool clothing and possum fur items without missing out on stunning scenery and the great outdoors. Also popular for its creative markets, a trip to the Saturday Creative Queenstown Art & Craft Market or the Remarkables Market should also be in store.
Should your stomach begin to growl from all that shopping, you’re in the perfect place. There are over 150 bars and cafes in the Queenstown region, each offering delicious meals from fine dining and family friendly venues to boutique desert diners and hip cafes. Claim a spot at a lake-front bistro for seafood, board a vintage steamship for a BBQ feast, or sample the freshest regional produce from within the city itself. Wherever you go, you really can’t go wrong.
Queenstown Festivals & Sports
In Queenstown, festivals come and go with the seasons, marking the change in weather patterns with huge city celebrations. Held over four days in June, Winter Festival is New Zealand’s biggest winter celebration, with its quirky events like an underwear obstacle course and ski slide with your dog. Encompassing live music, comedy acts, mountain bikes on snow and a game of dodgeball, we’re pretty sure you haven’t been to a festival quite like this one.
Unlike some other cities, Queenstown’s largest sporting events don’t take place in a stadium. Utilizing its accessibility to the outdoors yet again, sports here include the Air New Zealand Queenstown Marathon and Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon & Trail Runs in February, The Macpac Motatapu in March and The Pioneer Mountain Bike Stage Race in November.
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