Queenstown Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
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Queenstown Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

Queenstown, near the centre of New Zealand’s
South Island, is the gateway to stunning fjords, glaciers, ski fields, and vineyards. This idyllic lake-side city has achieved world-wide
fame as the country’s adrenaline capital. When the morning sun warms the earth, the
fog lifts, revealing the vivid hues of Lake Wakatipu, and the city of Queenstown. The Māori call this lake, “Hollow of the Giant,” which, according to legend, was formed by
the resting shape of a fearsome mountain giant. Because the lakes waters rise and fall rhythmically
throughout the day, it’s said that his heart still beats on. It’s certainly true that Queenstown is the
beating heart of New Zealand’s South Island, providing the pulse that keeps this remote
corner of the world energetic and youthful. As the descendants of fierce Polynesian warriors
and determined European settlers, the Kiwis have the spirit of adventure running
though their veins. To learn more about Lake Wakatipu and the
region’s early settlers, head to Steamer Wharf and climb aboard the
TSS Earnslaw. Nicknamed “The Lady of the Lake”, for over 100 years this steamship hasn’t
missed a beat, transporting livestock and passengers to and
from the High Country. Back in Queenstown, soak up the Aotearoa sunshine on a sandy beach, or take a stroll through the idyllic Queenstown
Gardens, which jut out into the lake. For a bird’s-eye view, ride the Skyline gondola to Bob’s Peak. After taking in the sweeping views of Lake
Wakatipu and The Remarkables, ride, hike, slide, or glide, back down the
mountain. When the sun gets low, head to Marine Parade and enjoy Mother Nature’s
spectacle with kindred spirits from all over the world. Queenstown is filled with cozy cafés, craft breweries, restaurants and bars, where locals and travellers exchange tales
after a day out in the wilds. Queenstown expands and contracts with the
rhythm of the seasons. After the hectic summer, residents relax and slowly transform the town
into a world-class ski destination. By July, the winter sport season is in full swing. Queenstown has three main ski fields, each with its own charms and highlights. The Remarkables Ski Field, is just a 35 minute
drive from Queenstown, and features runs for seasoned freestylers
and beginners. Cardrona Alpine Resort is located towards
the town of Wanaka. The more advanced Terrain Parks and half-pipes here are among the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere
and meet Olympic standards. A twenty-minute drive from the city is the Coronet Peak Ski Area, a spectacular resort offering
thrilling roller coaster terrain, and a dedicated learner area. After a few hours on the slopes, enjoy a hearty meal with a view. And when the weekend comes, why not linger, and enjoy the “park, after dark”. When the snow finally melts, Queenstown transforms once again to accommodate a new wave of visitors, who flock to the Arrow Basin in spring and summer to taste the flavors of the High Country and explore its charming historic towns. Back in the 1870s, Chinese prospectors tried their luck in the
nearby creeks, establishing the community of Arrowtown. A century later, the Kiwis struck gold at
Kawarau Bridge, the spot where bungy jumping was first brought
to the world. Even if your heart’s not into taking the
leap, it’s still exciting just to watch. On your way back to Queenstown, you’ll cross the Shotover River, where the always daring Kiwis challenge you
once more. Jump in a jet boat and hang on, for a heart-stopping thrill-ride through the
river’s breathtakingly narrow canyons. The Kiwis have taken their cues from their
dramatic surroundings to create one of the world’s most spectacular
adventure playgrounds. But, at the same time, the locals know when
it’s time to slow down, unwind and enjoy the finer things in life, like wine. Queenstown and the nearby Gibbston Valley
are home to over 75 wineries. Here, vintners produce pinot noirs acclaimed
for their purity, freshness and vitality, a perfect reflection of the region itself. Some travellers live to push their heart rates
to the limit, some prefer to align theirs with the gentler
rhythms of nature, while others are open to it all! No matter
what your style, when it’s time to say goodbye to Queenstown, your heart is sure to ache, …which is why, year after year, so many return.


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