Queenstown, New Zealand: Adventure and Beauty for the Traveler

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, New Zealand, sits on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu.  It is set against the dramatic Southern Alps.  Renowned for adventure sports it’s also a base for exploring the region’s vineyards and historic mining towns.

Upon your arrival to this majestic part of the southern island you will feel inspired by Queenstown’s stunning scenery and wide range of activities.  Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and  unique energy of the region create the perfect backdrop for a vacation full of adventure, discovery and rejuvenation.

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While Queenstown is widely known as New Zealand’s most famous adventure playground, its wide stunning scenery offering a variety of things to do make it a favorite holiday spot for families as well.  Queenstown is famous for activities including skydiving, bungy jumping, jetboating, skiing, buggy tours and paragliding all on offer. Many parents are surprised to learn that while age, height and weight restrictions apply on many adventure activities they are often more family friendly than you might first imagine.  It pays to do your research online beforehand to avoid disappointment.   I recommend buying a great travel book like the one shown here to begin planning your adventures.  I personally use Insight Guides to plan all my travel itineraries and I highly recommend it.

If you’re coming to Queenstown for adventure activities, odds are you’re here to bungee jump. This heart-pounding endeavor is one of the area’s most popular outdoor activities. Several bungee sites can be found within Queenstown, including Kawarau Bridge (home of the world’s first commercial bungee jump), The Ledge (which sits on Bob’s Peak and can be reached by the Skyline Queenstown gondola) and The Nevis (an above-river jump that holds the distinction of being New Zealand’s highest bungee jump).  According to recent travelers bungee jumping in Queenstown is a life-changing experience. There’s bungee jumping available off of the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge.

There is a reason Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world.
Gather your courage and discover why first hand.  Visitors who arrived before you have jumped off bridges, conquered shallow rivers with spinning jet boats and explored the depths of these towering mountains. Queenstown is a beautiful nature playground, inviting you to live a little and challenging you to step out of your comfort zone.

Jump off something, a bridge, a ledge or out of a plane, get your intense thrill fix here. For something different you can also try swinging over a huge canyon too.  Whatever you choose, make sure you get photos and video you can share on social media for the world to see.  This will be the trip of a lifetime!

If you want a breathtaking aerial view of Queenstown without the free fall feeling skydiving provides, consider booking a paragliding excursion. As you float with your pilot, you’ll catch bird’s-eye views of iconic Queenstown landmarks like Coronet Peak, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables.  Jaw-dropping views are a given when you paraglide in Queenstown.

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For thrills and spills in the water, hit either the Kawarau or Shotover River for some white water rafting adventures. There are a number of operators in the region.

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Jet boat in Queenstown, New Zealand

If you’re looking for a little less excitement then there are plenty of great options to suit every age, ability and budget.  Popular choices for families include steamship or boat cruises on the lake, a trip up the gondola, mini golf, bowling, frisbee golf, indoor cart racing, ice skating, underwater observatory, farm tours and kiwi birdlife park just to name but a few.

For some of the best mountain vistas, climb aboard a Skyline Queenstown gondola. After ascending nearly 1,500 feet, you’ll end up at an observation deck atop Bob’s Peak, where views of central Queenstown, The Remarkables and Coronet Peak await you.  You’ll also find a restaurant, a bar and various mountain bike trails at the top too.

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The family friendly Kiwi Birdlife Park is Queenstown’s premier destination for animal-spotting. Situated less than a mile away from downtown Queenstown alongside Skyline Queenstown, Kiwi Birdlife Park offers more than 30 animal species, including brown kiwis, tuataras and rainbow lorikeets.  When visiting this wildlife sanctuary, especially if traveling with children, make sure to watch the kiwi feeding and conservation show.

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Another family fun attraction is a visit to the Walter Peak High Country Farm.  It is more than just a petting zoo, which is what most “farm attractions” tend to be.  The experience begins with a cruise across the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.  Once you get to the idyllic farm, you can take a tour, watch sheep shearing demonstrations, feed farm animals, enjoy an outdoor barbecue lunch (or morning or afternoon tea) and walk through flowering gardens.

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Enjoying the Skyline Luge in Queenstown, NZ

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Cecil and Walter Peaks from Queenstown Bay

A camera is a must-have travel accessory, and it’s an essential for any trip to Queenstown. The Wakatipu Basins stunning natural beauty, the diverse seasons, not to mention the sheer number of perspectives, make Queenstown a photography playground.

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New Zealand offers so much to do for its visitors.  If you are traveling to New Zealand  from North America, South America, Europe, Australia, or Asia then you are more than likely planning on staying a minimum of two weeks.  We highly recommend making Queenstown part of your travel itinerary.  You can find flights available from any of the major cities of New Zealand and there are several cruises that visit Queenstown as well as Milford Sound located in the New Zealand Fjords.

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