Queenstown may bill itself as the ‘adventure capital of the world’ but there’s plenty more on offer. The town has a busy centre with shops, great eateries and bars; there’s a lovely walk through the peaceful Queenstown Gardens (complete with and if seeing a kiwi is on your wish list, this may be the place to do it, at the Kiwi Bird Sanctuary.
Take the gondola cable car up the mountain to enjoy stunning views across Lake Wakatipu (and indulge in the excellent buffet too).
But the town is most famous for winter sports, as well as activities of all description, from jet boat rides, to bungy jumping, mountain biking, white water rafting and more.
The nearby picturesque Arrowtown with its tree-lined streets and restored miners’ cottages dating from 1862 is a gem. A touch on the chichi side, it is nonetheless charming with a vintage cinema and attractive cafés and shops.
For a change of scene why not take one of the ‘world’s best drives’ and head north along the lake to Glenorchy. It’s a dramatic setting, ringed by mountains, so enjoy a coffee and lakeside stroll, before maybe driving on towards Kinloch whose alpine peaks were the setting for Isengaard in the ‘Lord of the Rings’.
Wanaka (120 km from Queenstown) is delightful. Set on the southern lake shore, it’s very laid back and offers great cycling and hiking. Instagram buffs and keen photographers alike will be no stranger to #thatwanakatree – so be sure to get your ‘capture’ while you’re there. (The iconic tree, standing proudly out of the waters, is easily found a short walk along the shore heading south west from Wanaka lakefront).