Queenstown, New Zealand is a sort of bizarre paradox: the town boasts incredible natural beauty, serene lakes, and breathtaking mountains, yet Queenstown also attracts adrenaline junkies for all manner of crazy thrill-seeking activities. This is a testimony to the area’s versatility: there are plenty of picturesque landscapes for the nature lover, great skiing opportunities, and thrills galore. Here are just ten of the best ways to experience Queenstown, New Zealand.

Bob’s Peak

Bob’s Peak is easily one of the best attractions Queenstown has to offer. The peak is part of the Ben Lomond mountain and provides breathtaking views of the nearby lakes and mountain ranges. If you’re up for a hike you can reach the peak by following the Tiki Trail, but those seeking a less strenuous option can take the Skyline Queenstown Gondola. Atop the peak you’ll find the Skyline complex, where you’ll find two luge tracks. If you want a unique and exhilarating experience, hop in a luge and race the course!

Queenstown Gardens

If you’re looking for something more tranquil, make your way to the Queenstown Gardens. Located in the heart of town, this garden juts into Lake Wakatipu and provides lovely views of the lake and mountains. You’ll want to be sure to see the English Oaks, which were the first trees planted in the gardens and date back to 1866. It’s a great place to relax and take a stroll, but there’s also a Frisbee golf course.

The Remarkables

Queenstown is a great place to be if you love to ski and The Remarkables mountain range offers some of the best slopes New Zealand has to offer. With 47 ski and snowboard trails, three terrain parks, and various food and drink options, you can easily spend a whole day here. Even if you don’t come during ski season, which runs June to September, you can hike or drive to the top and take in The Remarkables’ breathtaking vistas.

Onsen Hot Pools

If you visit Queenstown to ski, the Onsen Hot Pools will be the perfect place to go after you finish shredding the slopes. There are both indoor and outdoor pools, each of them offering incredible views of the mountains nearby. Whether during the daytime or dark of night, the Onsen Hot Pools offer unmatched relaxation and scenery you won’t forget.

Gibbston Valley Winery

Roughly 25 minutes away from central Queenstown is the Gibbston Valley Winery. Comprised of many different vineyards scattered throughout the mountains, Gibbston Valley specializes in Pinot Noir varietals that thrive in the area’s semi-continental climate. Wine enthusiasts should be sure to check out the Gibbston Valley Wine Cave and sample the many delicious options they have to offer.

The Shotover River

The Shotover River is the perfect place to visit if you’re interested in some water-related activities. The river’s fast currents make it ideal for jet boating and white water rafting, both of which are popular Queenstown pastimes. Running 75 kilometers from the Southern Alps into the Kawarau River, the river’s speed and numerous rapids guarantee an exciting time. Or, if you’re not feeling up for the excitement, you can join the small-time gold seekers working the river—Shotover River used to be one of the richest gold-bearing rivers in the world.

Nevis Valley

The Nevis Valley is home to one of Queenstown’s most famous attractions, the Nevis Swing. It’s the world’s largest rope swing and a highlight for thrill-seekers. However, the swing is not the only draw to Nevis Valley. The valley used to be a trail route for the Maori people and later the site of a gold rush, so this remote area contains the remains of many stone buildings from the mining days. The valley’s remoteness makes it a great place to explore, and many people visit to fly-fish or have a picnic.

Glenorchy

On the northern end of Lake Wakatipu sits the quaint settlement of Glenorchy. The landscapes gained international recognition for their use in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, but New Zealanders have always known that the area boasts unmatched natural beauty. It’s a great place for a hike or a picnic, and you can also try horse trekking.

Thrill-seeking

New Zealand is a well-known hub for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. Bungee jumping was invented by a New Zealander, so you can come to Kawarau Bridge and try the first commercial bungee. Bob’s Peak and the Nevis also feature bungee options, and the Nevis boast the aforementioned Nevis Swing as well. If bungee jumping doesn’t sound exhilarating enough, you can also try your hand at skydiving, one of Queenstown’s most popular activities. Or, if you’re a thrill-seeker but afraid of heights, try Hydro Attack: a semi-submersible, high-speed thrill ride that skims across the water at 80kph, dives under, and then shoots back out again and just happens to look like Jaws!

The Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market

If you’re in Queenstown on a Saturday be sure to check out the Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Markets. Located on the Earnslaw Park lakefront, the markets are filled with handmade arts and crafts carefully created by local artists. Enjoy the view, relaxing atmosphere, and some New Zealand talent all in one place!

Queenstown is the place to be for thrill-seekers and sightseers alike. Even the high-excitement activities like bungee jumping and skydiving offer the opportunity to soak in the incredible natural beauty. Queenstown’s stunning vistas are second-to-none, so be prepared to take a lot of photos. This is a town you’ll want to remember.

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