New Zealand: home of the kiwi (bird), lush and unspoiled nature, and the setting for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogies. New Zealand has slowly been stepping into the media limelight for its natural beauty, and that beauty shines brightest in Queenstown. If you love the outdoors and soaking in the tranquil majesty of turquoise lakes and soaring mountain peaks, then Queenstown is your next stop on your itinerary!
Before European settlers arrived, the area now known as Queenstown was at some point inhabited by the Maori people. The first Europeans to settle came in 1860 and quickly discarded their farming business for a hotel when gold was discovered. The town was given its name because it was “fit for a queen” with all the gold that could be found.
Queenstown is the perfect place if you’re looking to break out of your shell and try things you’ve never even imagined. Considered the “Global Adventure Capital”, Queenstown is full of opportunities for adventure and thrills, including bungee jumping, paragliding, helicopter flights, and rafting. Ziplining tours are a popular pastime, as you’re strapped into a harness and send gliding and soaring through tree canopies, some tours can last as long as 4 hours! Queenstown is also very attractive to bikers, with 15 different biking trails ranging from easy to extreme.
Shaped like a thunderbolt, Lake Wakatipu is the second-purest lake in the world, with the water measuring as 99.9% pure. As New Zealand’s longest and third-largest lake, Lake Wakatipu is also incredibly deep, with a maximum depth of over 1,200 feet. The water stays cold year-round, averaging about 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius), making it very cold to swim in. Because cold water increases the risk of drowning, life jackets are a must when swimming in the lake waters. One of the must-see sights on the lake, however, are the bays and caves along the lake.
Although the park is named after the kiwi bird, the Kiwi Birdlife Park also features other local birdlife, from parakeets to owls, and wildlife like possums and forest geckos. Audio and private tours are available to lead you around the park and visit the different animal exhibits, including a 15-minute feeding of the kiwis. The park emphasizes the importance of conserving the natural environments of the wildlife, especially the park’s namesake, the kiwi bird. All 5 species of kiwi bird are vulnerable to extinction, two of which are officially endangered.
Queenstown and the wider region is a world class wine destination. Known for its Central Otago Pinot Noir, the region is home to over 200 vineyards, producing a wide range of wine varieties. It is also the world’s most southerly wine-producing region. The cool climate, combined with glacially derived soils, means wineries here produce a highly elegant Pinot Noir.
The steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere, the Skyline Gondola takes visitors up to Bob’s Peak, where they can indulge in restaurants, walking paths, mountain biking trails, or the Skyline Luge. On the Skyline Luge, visitors take their cart down the mountain on either the Scenic or Advanced track, and the tracks are open year-round. Besides the Luge, visitors to the top of Bob’s Peak can also take part in Stargazing Tours and Maori performances, or they can book events like weddings or conferences on the Peak.
For skiing and hiking enthusiasts, the Remarkables are a mountain range bordering Lake Wakatipu, creating a beautiful scene of rising peaks reflected in the water. Hiking the Remarkables takes you along a beautiful alpine path, starting at the ski field and ending at Lake Wakatipu. During the winter, the peaks are covered in fresh powdery snow and the lake completely frozen over, perfect for skiing, hiking in snowshoes, and ice skating. 6 different ski lifts take skiers up to the mountain bowls, where they can choose a beginner, intermediate, or advanced slope. Complete novices can also learn how to ski at before trying out their new skills on the slopes of the Remarkables.
Queenstown is New Zealand’s outdoor adventure playground offering jet-boating, bungy jumping, and heli-skiing set against a stunning backdrop of lakes and mountains. Enhance your New Zealand vacation with a Maori experience in your New Zealand itinerary. Maori culture is an integral part of Kiwi life and adds a unique, dynamic experience for visitors.
Fly south from Auckland to Queenstown – the center of an area of extraordinary natural beauty and is an essential part of every NZ itinerary. Although Queenstown exudes a peaceful tranquility and gentle beauty, it also offers a wide range of fun filled and action type activities. Take an exhilarating jetboat ride, bungee jump from a choice of locations or go white water rafting. Explore Milford or Doubtful Sounds, visit the historic township of Arrowtown or relax on afternoon wine tasting journey. Whatever your passion – Queenstown has it all!
Enjoy five nights in the stunning Cook Islands With exotic white sandy beaches, the tropical lagoon water lapping at your feet and the sun setting over the mountains, the Cook Islands offers the perfect vacation experience.
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