Queenstown is perhaps one of New Zealand’s most iconic destinations, a vibrant city perched on the shoreline of beautiful Lake Wakatipu and overlooked by an array of snow-capped mountain peaks. It is renowned not only for its wonderfully picturesque setting but also for being a centre for adrenaline fuelled activities – from white-water rafting, jet-boating and mountain biking in the summer to excellent skiing in the winter. However, there are also a plenty of options on offer for those who don’t wish to fling themselves down a river or mountainside, such as gentle lake cruises, excellent walking trails, informative backcountry tours and the Skyline Gondola which takes you up to 790 metres above the lake for extraordinary views. It’s also possible to take a day trip to Fiordland National Park from here and Wanaka, an hour’s drive over the scenic Crown Range, is also very accessible.
The area surrounding the city was at the heart of the 1800s gold rush and you can learn about this past in nearby Arrowtown, which retains much of its historical charm with leafy streets and pretty weatherboard buildings. Indeed the Arrow River, which runs through the town, still shimmers with tiny nuggets of gold, though don’t plan to make your fortune here, the gold-panning is purely for fun!