Welcome to the adventure capital of the world.
Sitting on beautiful Lake Wakatipu surrounded by the Remarkables mountain range, the small community of Queenstown in New Zealand’s South Island sets a dramatic scene for adrenaline junkies. From mountain bike riding, canyoning, bungee-jumping and canoeing, to paragliding, hiking and heliskiing; you name it, Queenstown has it.
After spending a week here, it’s fair to say this destination certainly fulfilled my crazy, action-packed fantasies. There’s stacks to get involved in all year round and the vibe around town is electric. Trust me when I say, you won’t be leaving Queenstown yawning…
Where to stay
On the cheap: Nomads, Queenstown
This hostel is a minute from Lake Wakatipu and just a short walk from the centre of town. In the early evening, you’ll find most of the guests hanging out in its amazing common room. With a fully equipped kitchen, open fireplace, pool tables and views over the lake, it’s the perfect spot to have a drink or two and meet a few travellers like yourself. Find Nomads here.
If you’re splurging: Central Ridge Boutique Hotel
If you’re looking to treat yourself and don’t want to stay out of town, the luxury Central Ridge is ideal. Located in the heart of Queenstown and just a stroll from some of the city’s best shopping, you’ll never want to leave this bed and breakfast after spending time in the day spa and chowing down on their delicious food. Find Central Ridge here.
What to eat
On the cheap: Furgburger
You can not leave the adventure capital without having had at least one of these world-famous burgers. Everything on the menu is delicious here, but if you can’t decide where to start, try the Little Lamby, made with 100 per cent New Zealand lamb. Fergburger is open 21 hours a day so you can munch on a mouthwatering snack every morning, noon and booze fuelled night. Find Fergburger here.
If you’re splurging: Botswana Butchery
Nestled in the middle of Queenstown’s historic centre, the Botswana Butchery offers beautiful set and à la carte menus for its customers. With a roaring fire and an extensive New Zealand wine list, this restaurant is the ideal place for a romantic dinner for two. Find Botswana Butchery here.
Where to drink
On the cheap: 1876
This watering hole is located in one of Queenstown’s oldest buildings, The Old Courthouse, and is just around the corner from some of the hottest spots in town. During peak season, start your night off here to enjoy Jagerbombs as cheap as a cup of coffee. Find 1876 here.
If you’re splurging: Minus 5º ICE BAR
Over 18 tonnes of ice has been carved out to create this eccentric bar, so everything and anything, including the cups you drink from, is made from ice. This super ‘cool’ experience is one to add to your bucket list while you’re spending time in Queenstown. Find Minus 5º here.
What to do in Winter
On the cheap: Ski or snowboard
With three ski resorts within driving distance of Queenstown, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding some quality runs to shred. Because there’s such competition between these resorts and ski hire stores, you’ll find that a day on the slopes won’t cost you an arm and a leg like it does in other parts of the world. Book a ski package here.
If you’re splurging: Heliski
If you’re looking to get your heart racing, then this is the activity for you. Ride down the glaciated mountain ranges of New Zealand’s Southern Alps and take in the stunning surrounds. One of the tourist town’s truly unforgettable and most adrenaline filled activities. Book heliskiing here.
What to do in Summer
On the cheap: Shotover Extreme Jet Boating
Have the ride of your life and pass some of Queenstown’s best scenery on the infamous Shotover Jet. Experience the delight as you weave your way through the Shotover River’s narrow canyons at exceptional speed. Although you can extreme jet boat all year round, I suggest doing this in the Summer to avoid the piercing chill of the water in the Winter. Book a jet boat ride here.
If you’re splurging: Skydiving
Thrill seekers look no further. Take the ultimate leap of faith as you free-fall from 15,000ft and plummet towards the ground at high speed. Feel the exhilarating rush as you fall for over a minute before sailing peacefully into the foothills of Queenstown’s mountains. Book a skydive here.
Images via shotoverjet.com, minus5icebar.com, cnn.com, asiatophotel.com, methvenheli.co.nz, youtube.com