Queenstown could easily be compared to Switzerland, with its magnificent scenery and endless snow covered mountain peaks. Located to the west of the south island in the Otago region, this is the adventure capital of New Zealand. From the airport, the road to town is picture perfect, with green rolling hills and sheep dotted in every direction. We soon crossed the bridge over Lake Wakatipu, taking us to the hidden township of Queenstown.
Locals and thrill seekers from all over the globe head to the famous Remarkables,Coronet Peak or Mt Hutt ski fields to test their skiing and snow boarding abilities.Ours were remarkable, considering we were both amateurs. We headed up two ski lifts to the top of the mountain, took a happy snap, and skied downhill slowly on the softest powder snow you could imagine.
We were on a mother and daughter holiday to celebrate Rachaels thirteenth birthday, and after a few days of skiing, our next adventure was on the Gondola, followed by as many rides on the luge as we could fit in. Everyone who visits Queenstown should experience the Gondola. It is so easy to find, within walking distance from the centre of town, and the views from the top are spectacular. The luge is similar to a go cart, and easy to master. If I can get to the bottom without falling out, anyone can! Once you are 'luged' out, there is a short walk behind the complex which can't be missed. It took us through a thick forest of pine trees through to the most indescribable panorama of mountainous scenery, leading on to the Ben Lomond walking circuit.
A campervan is an ideal choice in New Zealand, and believe me, they are everywhere. We recommend the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park, located at the base of the Gondola. The views are spectacular, and with such excellent facilities it is a home away from home. You are literally two streets from the centre of town, and with those gorgeous mountains in every direction there is a breathtaking view every minute of the day.
The beauty of Queenstown is that everything is easily accessible, and most attractions are within an hour away. Only five minutes north, towards Arrowtown, is the famous Shotover River. If you love jetboating, you are in one of the most sought after destinations among adrenaline lovers. Although the route is through some of the worlds most beautiful scenery, you probably won't notice it as you twist and turn at breathless speeds on the ride of your life.
Arrowtown is another twenty minutes drive north, and almost a stroll back in time as you wander through each shop and enjoy the quiet pace. An original gold town, it is now better known for its Lord of the Rings tours, and its award winning wines.
The day before we left Queenstown, we woke up to the snow falling outside our window. This is unusual for early October, but we weren't complaining. We rugged up and went for a stroll down town to the river, picture perfect with boats lining the shore against such a magnificent backdrop, and soon discovered the Remarkables Sweet Shop. You really can't leave Queenstown without some homemade chocolate truffles, or a choice of hundreds of every shape, size and colour candy you could imagine.
With pockets overloaded with treats, we headed to the beautiful Queenstown Botanic Gardens, easily reached by keeping to the lakeside walkway until it stretches into the heart of Lake Wakatipu. Such a relaxing way to spend time together and enjoy the lake and its backdrop.
We hadn't seen everything, but it was time to continue our journey to Dunedin on the east Coast. One thing is for sure, we'll be back again to rediscover our favourite spots, and discover more of Queenstowns adventures and hidden treasures.