Adventure getaways don’t come much bigger than a trip to Queenstown at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island.
Spending time in Queenstown is almost over-stimulating; the bright colours reflecting off the water and mountains, the breathtaking scenery, the amazing regional food and wine and, of course, the heart-pumping adventure activities.
Flying into Queenstown is easy, with the flight time taking around 3 1/2 hours from Brisbane. If you want to see as much of New Zealand as possible think about flying into Christchurch and road tripping down to Queenstown instead. The drive is easy and, with directions from a local, should take between five and six hours with no need for a GPS.
The drive takes you through small local towns, past huge mountains and dense forests, along farming land dotted with deer, cattle and sheep and past places you won’t be able to drive by without getting a photo, like Lake Tekapo.
Once you arrive in Queenstown you can’t help but get swept up in the buzz. There’s a constant current of electricity running through the small town, the excitement of people on holiday somewhere beautiful, eager to get up to the snow fields.
Finding something to do is easy and if you haven’t booked yourself any adventure activities before you go, don’t worry because there are plenty of kiosks set up around the place. One of the most popular activities is the Shotover Jet, which rips you around the spectacular Shotover River Canyons at high speeds. The scenery around you is unbelievable and it’s more exhilarating than any roller coaster because it’s completely natural.
For the more daring, take a leap off the AJ Hackett Bungy at Karawu Bridge or challenge yourself to the Nevis Swing, with a 300m arc it’s the world’s largest swing and sure to get your adrenalin pumping. Other adventure activities on offer include paragliding, zip lining, helicopter rides, off-road expeditions and skydiving.
There’s no shortage of good food to be had, with No 5 Church Lane serving up incredible food all day. For your morning coffee head directly to Vudu and for a dinner that delivers, go directly to Bella Cucina for authentic Italian. Of course a visit to Queenstown isn’t complete without a trip to the infamous Fergburger, but instead of queueing for hours do what the locals do and call ahead to order. No matter where you eat, just remember this region is famous for it’s Pinot so it’d be rude not have a glass or two of the good stuff.
Everywhere you turn there’s something beautiful to photograph. Taking a stroll down to the waters edge and watching the sunset over the Southern Alps is one way to do it, so is catching the gondola up to Queenstown Hill and soaking in the breathtaking views. If you have a hire car, take the drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy for the very best photo spots, with plenty of places to stop along the way you could also pack a picnic and have a meal to remember.
A trip to Queenstown is honestly unforgettable, it gives you the chance to experience things you’d never normally get to experience all in the one place.
In many ways it’s just a holiday destination for big kids to let loose and get back to their fun-loving roots.