Most will have been inspired to travel to New Zealand, particularly to the areas of Central Otago and Queenstown, from watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy or seeing numerous daredevils throw themselves off a bridge for ‘fun’ with merely a rubber rope tied around their ankles.
The small resort town of Queenstown thrives year-round, pumping with adrenaline and in peak times tourists outnumber locals three-to-one. So one might expect there are a few tourist traps which can actually be avoided, to really experience the essence of the real Queenstown.
Did you know that Lake Wakatipu actually experiences a rise and fall in water level, around about 12 cms every 5 minutes?
According to Maori legend, the waters rise and fall in time with a mythical giant’s heartbeat, who was killed here due to one man’s passion, Matakauri for his love, Manata…the best place to see this event occurring is Bob’s Cave.
An active person’s paradise; the town boasts great walking routes around the lake and are quite easy to spot.
If that is a little tame, try jet-boating on the Shotover River, go 4x4 driving in Skipper Canyon, then a hike up Ben Lomond (it takes a few hours) will get the blood flowing and rewards your efforts with a spectacular view of Queenstown.
Once you have reached your action quota for the day, relax with a fine glass of Pinot Noir whilst enjoying a locally sourced meal at the country style Bistro at Amisfield Winery for beautiful food and exceptional views of the Lake.
In the winter, secure your spot in the homely Bardeaux, next to the huge roaring fire and great wine list.
Like the rest of the New Zealand towns and cities – coffee is part of the daily ritual, so get along to Joes Garage for good coffee and a great people watching spot.
For a lunch alternative, take pleasure in a fine buffet meal at the restaurant at the top of the Gondola, where most will be heading to try their hand at the exhilaration of a ride on the Luge.
Or you could enjoy the peace of a practically deserted picnic table with a priceless view from the top.
Queenstown is the hub to many nearby delights, so when one has access to a car or Motorhome – take a scenic drive to Glenorchy – where you will quickly fill up the space on your camera memory card; visit nearby Arrowtown and enjoy its historic pioneering and mining history.
You can go walking, cycling, fishing or just slow right down and simply relax with the local community in the splendor of this stunning background of lakes and mountains.
You cannot beat this area during the Autumn season with all the orange, red and brown tones in the landscapes, welcoming the colder months when this area really comes alive.
Top the visit off with a side trip to Wanaka which deserves a minimum of an overnight stay, so that ample time can be spent having fun.
In summer get waterskiing on the glassy surfaces of Lake Wanaka, get lost in the maze or toast the majestic Southern Alps in winter after a hard days skiing.
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