The Tamer Side of Queenstown
Even though Queenstown, New Zealand, is known as the “Adventure Capital of the World,” it does have an allure for the age group that does not snowboard or bungy jump. Queenstown has a rich cultural fare and many outdoor activities that can be enjoyed by those who have passed the mark when para-gliding seems more foolhardy than fun!
If you are still able to ski down a mountain, Queenstown has a lively snow season from June to early October in most years. There are four resorts just outside of town—Cardrona Alpine, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone. You can also do cross-country skiing at the Waiorau Snow Farm near the village of Cardrona. Rates are reasonable and there’s plenty of room on the mountains.
If you favour a tamer sport like golf, Queenstown has that covered – five courses, several of which are rated in the top 10 in the country, beckon the duffer: Jack’s Point, Millbrook Resort, The Hills, Arrowtown Golf Club and Queenstown Golf Club. Some of the holes are almost unbelievably scenic, with a lake on one side and mountains in the distance on the other. Even if you have a hard time breaking triple digits, the beauty of the courses will make for an enjoyable afternoon.
Depending on what time of year you visit, you can also enjoy the annual international jazz festival or take in a concert from one of the many visiting artists. Before the show, you can sample some of the best cuisine in the country. Queenstown is known as a center for Kiwi cuisine and wine, and its many vineyards offer relaxed tours and tastings. The city and nearby Gibbston Valley are home to more than 75 wineries, and the Pinot Noir is especially noteworthy in this most southern of wine-growing regions. Some of the tours are combined with a morning round of golf to precede the afternoon tour, tasting and meal. That’s not a bad way to spend a day in a gorgeous town with an oceanic climate, unless of course, you compare it to the spa and wine tours that are also available, substituting a spa visit for a round of golf in the morning!
You can also take a helicopter above the region’s vineyards and then descend to tour one. This being New Zealand, you can also travel from Queenstown by jet boat to see local wineries on a private tour (the jet boat was invented by a Kiwi).
Other laid-back activities include an easy climb up Ben Lomond (1,748 metres), which will give you a magnificent view of Lake Wakatipu, on which Queenstown sits. You can also take a tour of the film locations used in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and remember the scenes of that amazing spectacle as you stand where the movie stars once did.
Walking, Lakes and Wine
Other tourists like to get on an old-fashioned, coal-fired steamship, the TSS Earnslaw, and take a relaxing tour of Lake Wakatipu. You can also walk around the other lakes in the region, and the spectacular topography might be best viewed on foot. You can cruise across Lake Te Anau and then go on a small group walk on the far side, or take the Gibbston Valley River Trail and sample the area’s wine and cheeses on the way. Of course, if you want to move a bit faster, bicycles can be rented to explore the many trails as well. For those that are less adventurous, there are always rental cars available from Omega Rental Cars Queenstown depot.
Queenstown can give the traveler as much or as little adrenaline as s/he desires, but don’t think that this enticing place is only for the young and crazy set. There are plenty of more moderate options that will give you an unforgettable holiday on the South Island of New Zealand.
This article is brought to you by Omega Car Hire New Zealand.