Queenstown - why to visit

It’s stunning: In terms of good looks, there are few more impressive towns on the planet. Queenstown sits on the edge of the dazzling Lake Wakatipu, and is surrounded by the Remarkables Mountain range. It’s highly photogenic, which is part of the reason why the town has grown in the first place.

Horrifying bungy jumps: Sure, you can do bungy jumps all over New Zealand, but the original site is at the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown. That site is a weakling compared to the Nevis, however. Balls of steel are required to even get to the cable car spanning the gorge, let alone jump 134m from it and get slowly winched back upwards.

Other action man adventures: Bungy is just the tip of the iceberg in what surely has a rightful claim to being New Zealand’s adrenalin capital. You can whizz through canyon walls in a jetboat, take on lunch-regurgitating swings, go on helicopter rides, plunge through rapids on white-water rafting expeditions and chuck yourself out of a plane. You can also take to the pedals and attack some seriously sweat-inducing mountain bike tracks, fly over the horizon in a glider or go canyoning. Amongst other things. Basically, there’s no excuse for being bored, but you may have to wash your pants frequently.

Skiing: For all its extreme sports, Queenstown is essentially a ski resort town. The Remarkables range surrounding it is home to many of New Zealand's prime slopes. If you fancy strapping on the skis in the southern hemisphere, this is the place to do it. And, if you’re not inclined to strap bits of wood to your feet, then you can always bomb around fields of the white stuff on a snowmobile. 

Skipper’s Canyon: Many of the hair-raising activities take place in Skipper’s Canyon, a gorgeously craggy slice of spectacular ruggedness. The four wheel drive tours into the canyon, along dicey-looking roads, are well worth taking, both for the views and the insights into the gold mining industry that was once the big money-earner in the region.

Pinot noirs: The Central Otago wine region – the most southerly in the world – is just on the doorstep. At this sort of latitude, you have to concentrate on wines that can deal with cold climates, so there’s a specialisation in pinot noir. And some of the best pinor noirs are made here – the focus on quality over quantity is both essential and admirable.



You can get Queenstown included as a stopover on your RTW here