Queenstown, New Zealand's famed adventure destination is known globally for its dramatic alpine scenery and variety of adrenaline fuelled adventure sports. It is also a base for exploring the region's vineyards and historic mining towns. This is a destination that offers a seemingly limitless array of activities and a persuasive argument for visiting at any time of year. Whatever your interests, Queenstown has something to suit and there's no reason not to visit time and time again.
Between June and October, the Southern Alps welcomes every level of skier and snowboarder. Four main ski fields are easily accessed from the centre of Queenstown offering incredible alpine scenery, superior infrastructure and varied open and treeless terrain. Every level of ability is catered for with ski lessons for beginners and challenging slopes for the more experienced. Ski passes range from a single day, single ski area passes to season passes allowing unlimited access to multiple Queenstown ski areas.
A 60-minute drive from Queenstown, you'll access the 264 hectares of skiable terrain from the comfort of a heated cabin atop of the state-of-the-art snowcats. With no more than 24 guests per day, we are able to craft bespoke experiences for intimate groups of friends and family. The experienced on-mountain team will show you the best lines and the deepest powder. Once on your skis or board, you'll experience wide open slopes and expan-sive vistas of the Southern Alps. And when you're ready for a break, you'll enjoy a gourmet food and wine experience at the Alpine Hut for lunch. Contact to book
Image be on top of the world surrounded by towering jagged mountain peaks and hidden val-leys. There you can hike and explore at leisure. Walk on a frozen lake, explore snow caves and have a great picnic lunch. Guests will be fitted with high-tech snowshoes allowing you to walk across unbroken snow without sinking up to your waist, opening up huge possibilities for wilderness exploration. Contact to book
Outside ski season the region is alive with eager travellers keen to test their stamina and nerves with the various adventure activities on offer. The iconic Kawarau Gorge Suspension runs over the Kawarau River a short distance outside Queenstown. It is here that adrenaline junkies make their pilgrimage to experience the world's first commercial bungy jumping site. The bridge also forms part of the Queenstown Trail which allows walkers/runners and bikers to pass over the river.
Jet-boating is a popular choice for visitors to Queenstown, an exhilarating experience among stunning landscapes. A number of beautiful wilderness rivers can be explored on a jet-boating adventure. The braided Dart River journeys deep into Mount Aspiring National Park; winding its way through Lord of the Rings filming locations and vast alpine wilderness. Close by lies the turquoise Shotover River, which winds through towering canyons and huge rocks.
Hikers flock to New Zealand's South Island to experience the rewarding terrain that can lead from snowy peak to lush valley along coastal paths and native forest. On the outskirts of Queenstown, the Ben Lomond Saddle (3 - 4 hours return) and Summit (6 - 8 hours return) walk offer a challenging experience, climbing an elevation of 1438 m through alpine tussocks and shrubs up the saddle overlooking the magnificent lake and mountain views as it leads upward. The track gets increasingly challenging beyond the saddle and requires an advanced level of fitness to reach the summit at 1748 m. Those who reach the top are rewarded with an exceptional panorama and on clear days, views of Mount Earnslaw/Pikirakatahi and Aspiring/Tititea.
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Mount Aspiring National Park is a walker's paradise with numerous tracks to choose from through high mountains, beautiful river valleys and remote wilderness. New Zealand's third largest national park is accessible from Wanaka via the Makarora and Matukituki Valleys, it features a selection of short, easy walks off the Haast Pass Highway and more challenging tracks such as the Gillespie Pass Circuit, the Wilkin Valley, Aspiring Hut, Liverpool Bivy and Cascade Saddle. The park is also easily accessible by plane, helicopter or jet-boat.
Nearby, the Routeburn Track links the Mount Aspiring National Park with Fiordland National Park. The highest point of the track is 1,255 metres above sea level – and at this point, the views are simply incredible. This part of New Zealand has been shaped by successive glaciations into fiords, rocky coasts, towering cliffs, lakes and waterfalls. There is a wide variety of birdlife to admire along the 32 km of the track; native tomtits, robins, fantails, wood pigeons and bellbirds are often spotted, as well as the Kea, the world's only alpine parrot.
A variety of guided tours are available connecting the Ben Lomond Track, Mount Aspiring National Park and Routeburn Track on itineraries varying in length from 3 to 7 days.
Cycling is a popular pastime throughout New Zealand and particularly so in Queenstown where a network of scenic cycle paths connect some of the region's most picturesque and fascinating locations. The Queenstown Trail winds through the Wakatipu Basin on lakeside paths, country lanes, quiet roads and cross-country cycleways. The trail leads from Queens-town to Arrowtown and the Gibbston Valley in the Southern Lakes region of the South Is-land, passing historic sites, cultural attractions, wineries and rural townships. The Queens-town Trail can be ridden as a multi-day adventure, stopping overnight along the way, or broken up into day rides. The fully-guided Fiordland & Milford Sound Cycle, Kayak & Walk combines multiple exhilarating experiences in one in a five-day itinerary which explores both the Queenstown Trail and the Around The Mountains Cycle Trail, another of New Zealand's Great Rides.
The Otago Central Rail Trail begins just over an hour outside Queenstown and follows the old railway line between Clyde and Middlemarch. Natural beauty, fascinating history and local charm have made this one of the region's most popular cycle trails. The trail takes in historic railway bridges and tunnels, long-abandoned gold diggings, and art deco architecture in the towns dotted along the route. The fully guided five-day, four-night 'Mountains To The Sea' Otago Central Rail Trail tour, combines the epic 152 km trail, cycling between four and five hours per day, with a ride on the scenic Taieri Gorge Train.
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Queenstown is also a haven for those in search of a wellness escape. The famous Onsen Hot Pools is located high on a cliffside overlooking the Shotover River canyon. Here, a selection of spring fed hot pools are available for private hire as well as a range of massage therapies. Each pool room can accommodate up to four adults and is perfect for individuals, couples, families and friends. Join an intensive all-inclusive 6-day-5-night Queenstown Luxury Wellness Adventure, designed for those who are interested in nature, adventure, self-development, alternative health, and results-oriented fitness. The vision is zen inspired luxury, where the luxury comes from intelligent design, a function of space, and exceptional programming, rather than opulence or excess.
When it comes to dining, there is no shortage of options to choose from in Queenstown, with a range of cuisines benefitting from the freshest local produce. Lakeside dining is an excellent choice for platters of seafood, as is the popular TSS Earnslaw Steamship cruise over Lake Wakatipu for a gourmet barbecue feast. Fine dining establishments are in rich supply with a multitude of renowned restaurants in easy reach of the city centre. For families, there are many fast and friendly options as well as hearty meals after a day on the mountain or out adventuring.
Some of New Zealand's most esteemed wineries are located in Central Otago, and Queenstown is the gateway to this stunning region which is home to 200 vineyards within a 40 minute drive of the town centre. The Central Otago wine region is made up of six sub-regions; Gibbston, Cromwell/Pisa/Lowburn, Bannockburn, Bendigo, Wanaka and Alexandra, all producing wines of exceptional quality. Central Otago is New Zealand's highest and the world's most southerly wine region. The climate, temperatures and terroir combine to create the unique flavours of Central Otago Pinot Noir and other varietals created here. Many Queens-town wineries offer tastings at the cellar door and several have excellent onsite restaurants.
Onlyluxe Travel arranges premium food and wine tours with chauffeur-driven private vehicles and helicopter charter flights. Contact to book