If there’s a place I am always 100% keen to visit any time in my backyard (New Zealand) it’s Queenstown. That’s because everywhere you look this southern beauty offers panoramic, breathtaking views of snowy mountains and crystal blue lakes. I’ve been a handful of times, so to make sure you’re truly making the most of it here are my 10 must-dos in collaboration with Holiday Inn Queenstown.
1 Onsen Hot Pools
No matter what time of the year you’ve arrived in Queenstown, treat yourself to a swim and a massage at the Queenstown Onsen Hot Pools! It’s located high on a cliffside overlooking the magnificent Shotover River canyon where you’ll see breathtaking views of alpine scenery as well as the jetboats whizzing through on the river below. They even capture pure water from the surrounding mountains to fill and refresh their pools. Just be sure to organise this ahead of time (perhaps when or before you get your flights) as they book out fast!
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NEW YEAR, NEW FEELS, NEW CHANCES, SAME DREAMS, FRESH STARTS. Photo Credit @labengale #trip #onsenhotpools #gorgeous #wanderer #escape #idyllic #adventurer #unique #tourist #boutique #mustgo #hotpools #bucketlist #wanderlust #queenstownnz #mustsee #spaday #queenstown #luxury #relaxtion #nzmustdo #amazing #bespoke #vibes #relaxation #spa #mustdo #nz #newyear #2018
2 Get a birds eye view of the town through paragliding
Easily one of my best Queenstown memories – paragliding and feeling the wind in my hair. Take off from the top of the Skyline Gondola and enjoy the ultimate flight with spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu, the mountains, forests and Queenstown itself. I found it to be a magical, adrenaline-filled experience. If you want to fly with the largest and most experienced paragliding company in New Zealand, I paraglided with G-Force. They’ve been tandem paragliding over Queenstown since 1991!
3 Jump out of a plane ! Skydive into Queenstown
It takes a certain kind of person to skydive from 15,000ft. It takes courage. You step out of that aircraft door and for some 60 seconds you freefall at 200km/hour. The personal challenge is immense! The first skydive is a scary thing. BE BRAVE. Even if you’re not, pretend to be, no one can tell the difference. Choose your skydive altitude from 15,000ft, 12,000ft or 9,000ft
over Queenstown and get ready to embrace the awesomeness. But seriously, do it. You won’t regret it!
4 Walk the Queenstown Hill Track
If you’re a bit of a history buff, make sure to walk the Queenstown Hill Track which includes a 500-meter climb up to the summit of Te Tapu-nui. You will be rewarded with a 360° view of some of the main landmarks like The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, parts of Lake Wakatipu and the Kawarau River. Also known as the 1.5km long Queenstown Hill Time Walk, it was built to show the past, presence and future of Queenstown. Just collect some snacks from the local Foursquare, and you’ll be good to go!
5 Hike Roys Peak
It’s not only the most instagrammed hike of New Zealand, but it is also one of the most glorious, fulfilling hikes you can do in your lifetime. Roys Peak is a 16km return, 5-6 hours total hike with beautiful Wanaka as the backdrop, and you’ll climb from lake level through farmland then up into the tussock tops to the 1578 m summit. Be sure to bring plenty of food, water and a camera too and stay on the marked track, as this track crosses private land.
Orrrrr if the hiking is not your cup of tea, you can actually catch a helicopter up there and take beaaaautiful gram’ photos too – and who would know!?
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With 16km and more than 1200m elevation gain, the hike to Roy’s Peak is quite strenuous. Add your 15kg toddler and a full camera backpack and it turns into a different story: 24h after, I’m still sored 😉. But yeah, that view!!! #royspeak #wanaka #beautifuldestinations . . . . . #discoverglobe #wonderful_places #ourplanetdaily #purenewzealand #aroundtheworld #ig_newzealand #newzealandguide #wildernessculture #tagtopclub2 #natureaddict #bestview #wanderlust #keepitwild #toddlerlife #feedbacknation #roamtheplanet #doyoutravel #destinosincriveis #viagem #passionpassport #nzmustdo #earthporn #bbctravel #natgeotravel #discover_earthpix #neverstopexploring #followmefaraway
6 Pop over to Glenorchy in your Jucy rental
Glenorchy is a beautiful rustic town that is set against a background of native beech forest and towering mountain ranges. It’s spectacular landscapes have become a prime location for film scouts, depicting many scenes from The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as featuring in the Narnia movies. Once there you can go on a horse trek, or try their dart river jet and see it all for yourself. This paradise on earth is about a 45 minute drive from Queenstown so be sure to pop to Jucy and grab yourself an affordable rental car. Better yet, they’re an international tourism company that originated from good ol’ New Zealand.
7 Ski/Board at The Remarkables or Cadrona
Picture three sun-drenched, north-facing snow-filled bowls perfectly formed to cater for everyone from absolute beginners to powderhounds. This location and elevation also attracts fantastic natural snow, supported by the firepower of over 100 snow guns to keep trails across the 385 hectare skiable terrain topped up nicely. For the best value for money, I recommend buying a multi-day pass which provides access to both mountains to get the full experience and have an epic winter holiday.
8 Visit Milford Sounds
There’s a reason why some call it the 8th wonder of the world. Milford Sounds is situated on the west coast of the South Island and boasts spectacular natural features carved by glaciers during the ice ages. Breathtaking in any weather, the fiord’s cliffs rise vertically from the dark waters, mountain peaks scrape the sky and waterfalls cascade downwards from as high as 1000 metres. When it rains in Milford Sound, and it often does, those waterfalls multiply with magnificent effect. To get up close to the natural beauty, I suggest hopping on a relaxing, interactive cruise boat which runs for about two hours. And for something extra special, try a Real Journeys alpine flight from Queenstown and back, which trust me, is INCREDIBLE.
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WOW! This stunning photo was captured by a guest on a recent overnight cruise in Milford Sound. 📷: Nishura Arisa #realjourneys #milfordsound #milford #fiordland #worldheritage #lovefiordland #fiordlandnationalpark #fiord #mountains #glaciers #mustdo #mysterious #remote #nature #bucketlist #nzmustsee #nzmustdo #purenewzealand #lovenewzealand #lovesummer #welovesummer #paradise #summer #summerishere #summer2016 #summerinnz #gottalovenz #newzealand #ourbackyard
9 Walk around Lake Hayes
‘The most photographed lake in New Zealand’ or ‘mirror lake’ is the one and only Lake Hayes. A tranquil and beautiful lake that’s just 15 minutes drive from downtown Queenstown, the lake reflects the majestic mountains of the Wakatipu Basin. Walkers, runners, and cyclists are all drawn to the natural beauty of the area as the lake offers panoramic views giving you the best opportunity to ‘gram. Nearby is the award-winning Amisfield Winery and Bistro, be sure to pop in for wine-tasting and lunch!
10 Stay at Holiday Inn Queenstown
What a gem of a location! This home away from home is a modern hotel that offers big time value. Everything is so spacious and new, the restaurant buffet is legit and the rooms are always toasty warm. Holiday Inn Queenstown overlooks the Frankton Arm inlet of Lake Wakatipu, and has easy access to The Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski fields. It’s also conveniently located 3 kilometers away from Queenstown Airport, has high speed Wi-Fi, has a great spa and even has a complimentary city shuttle which operates 12 round trips per day. Another win? Their Holiday Inn signature ‘Kids Stay and Eat Free®’ family-friendly perks. Aaaaand they have carparks for your rental. What more could you want?
For more information and to book your stay at Holiday Inn Queenstown, click here.