My boyfriend and I spent the second part of our New Zealand trip on the South Island in Queenstown. After flying two hours from Auckland, we are greeted by fresh air and stunning views of snow-capped mountains, turquoise water, and lush greenery. We are not in New York City anymore.
The town sits at the edge of Lake Wakatipu and is surrounded by the Southern Alps. Queenstown is renowned as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Hence, the abundance of extreme activities available to thrill-seeking tourists. For those seeking a less adrenaline-fueled experience, the nearby Central Otago region offers around 200 wineries. Central Otago is the world’s most southerly wine region. The climate, temperatures, and soil all combine to create the unique flavors of Central Otago Pinot Noir among other varietals. Between the many adventurous activities, breathtaking sceneries, and world-class wineries it’s safe to say that there is never a dull moment in Queenstown.
Where to Stay:
- Millbrook Resort– Beautiful golf resort near the neighboring historic mining town of Arrowtown. A more quiet and secluded option to the hotels located in Queenstown. We stayed here and absolutely loved it.
- Azur Lodge– A contemporary lodge overlooking Lake Wakatipu. For those looking for privacy, this luxurious hotel only has nine villas.
- The Spire Hotel– A luxury boutique hotel located in the heart of town for those who prefer to be closer to all the action. Be sure to check out their champagne bar.
Food + Drink:
- Botswana Butchery– A stylish restaurant in town overlooking the lake. Be sure to grab a cocktail at the bar in the back by the fireplace.
- Bardeux– A highly renowned and intimate mixology bar. Tell the mixologist what flavor you like and they will create a special cocktail for you.
- Rata– Contemporary fine dining by chef Josh Emett. A sophisticated menu in a relaxed environment. Dessert here is a must.
- Shotover Jet– A super exciting jet boating experience. The ride lasts for about 20 minutes and is bit pricey (around $135), but it’s a must! It may seem unsafe, but if it’s safe enough for Kate Middleton and Prince William then it’s safe enough for anyone.
- Milford Sound Tour– A Two-hour long boat tour of the ‘8th wonder of the world’. Take the option to fly back on a plane and enjoy the stunning views of the Southern Alps.
- Over the Top– We did the helicopter tour over Queenstown, but there are other options such as a Milford Sound tour. You’ll get spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu, and the snow-capped Alps. We also landed in a valley for a champagne break by the river before heading back to the base. A really special experience, especially with a significant other.
- White Water Rafting– Another activity that will get your heart beating fast. We did the Shotover River, which is about a 3 or a 5. Just try not to flip your raft, and go during summer (December-February) to avoid the freezing cold water.
- Kawarau Bridge Bungy– The World’s first commercial Bungy Jump above the Kawarau River. Queenstown’s only tandem Bungy.