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Nestled on the shores of picture-perfect Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown really turns on the charm during summer. Its stunning alpine environment inspires visitors to explore outdoors with spectacular hikes, adventure activities, wine tours and gold rush heritage – days are full of sunshine and new experiences. But don’t feel like you’ve got to stay busy to enjoy this place. Some of the best memories can be made picnicking beside the lake or lazily soaking up the sun rays.
Known as New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown is home to a huge range of adrenaline-pumping experiences – after all, bungy jumping and jet boating were invented here. However, visitors don’t need to jump off a bridge or ride white-water rapids (unless that’s what you’re after!) to experience this area. Many of Queenstown’s lesser known pursuits are slow-paced and beautifully relaxing.
Whether you’re an adrenaline seeker, nature lover, wine aficionado or a visitor simply wanting to soak up the town’s stunning vistas, Queenstown is sure to delight. Not surprisingly, summertime is one of our favourite seasons here at First Light Travel, and we know from experience that Queenstown’s sunny days offer a special kind of magic. Here are some suggestions on how to enjoy the very best of this place between the months of December and March.
For the nature lover
Nature lovers are spoilt for choice - the hiking trails in the Queenstown region are nothing short of spectacular. The Routeburn Track – one of New Zealand’s most famous multi-day hikes – showcases soaring peaks and moss-draped forests; made all the more spectacular when experienced under a bright-blue summers sky. For a taste of the walk, try the Routeburn Encounter – a leisurely 13-kilometre (8-mile) hike through some of the most beautiful parts of the track. Or, explore the beauty of Milford Sound and its resident wildlife with an overnight nature cruise. You’ll sleep in a private cabin amidst the towering waterfalls, snowy peaks and inky blue waters of what Rudyard Kipling called ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’.
For the thrill seeker
Get your adrenaline pumping with a thrilling ride through the Shotover Canyon on the world-famous Shotover Jet. Because it’s summer, you won’t mind being sprayed with water during the exciting manoeuvres. Or, choose to combine history with excitement and take a 4WD safari through Skippers Canyon, to the old gold mining town of Skippers. Cross a suspension bridge that’s over 100 years old before panning for gold in the river. For the ultimate thrill seeker, try white water rafting on the mighty Kawarau or Shotover Rivers. The exhilarating grade 5 rapids are not for the faint hearted!
For the food & wine connoisseur
Taste some of the world’s best Pinot Noir or Riesling when you take a wine tour through the vineyards of the Gibbston Valley and Bannockburn. Enjoy a gourmet lunch under the summer sunshine while you relax amidst the vines – meals like roast lamb, salmon or duck are regional specialities. Restaurants alongside Queenstown’s lakefront also offer beautiful culinary experiences.
For those seeking indulgence & relaxation
Indulge in the ultimate relaxation with a pamper package from The Spa at Millbrook Resort. Enjoying a massage or a facial is a great way to recharge after busy days of exploring. Or, cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw across beautiful Lake Wakatipu to a high country farm. Stroll the lakeside gardens and enjoy a delicious kiwi barbeque.
Summer is one of the most beautiful times to visit Queenstown. Inspired? We’ll help to bring your New Zealand holiday to life, so you can enjoy more time enjoying the Queenstown sunshine, glass of chilled Riesling in hand. Contact us now or learn more on our website.