It's not just the pretty mountains or the incredible azure of Queenstown's skies. There's an energy here that makes people want to get out and do something exciting.
If you have a few days to spare, experience the region's incredible diversity with a sea-to-mountain walk along the magnificent Hollyford Track. This accessible trek starts at the Tasman Sea and climbs into the spectacular Fiordland National Park taking in awesome scenery and a huge variety of flora and fauna.
If time is of the essence, journey into a true wilderness area so untouched it's a World Heritage Area, but still just a short distance from downtown Queenstown. Dart River Jet Safari can speed you into the ancient beech forests of Gondwanaland, towering mountains and glaciers.
Next thing you'll be checking out the museum and wandering around the historic buildings, guide book in hand unveiling a fascinating and surprisingly little known pioneering history. In Queenstown, wander the cemetery for tales of Irish and other pioneering families.
True to resort form, Queenstown boasts great shopping. The adventure capital boasts some fabulous adventure outfitters where you can buy the hardware or simply try the fashions. Several galleries provide for classy souvenirs or art pieces and the jewellery shops are a must to take in the black pearls, amazing pounamu (greenstone/jade) carvings and opals.
Queenstown is home to some of the best luxury lodges in the world, and there's everything in between, comfortable or sumptuous apartments, lodges and hotels. Book early and reserve your sanctuary.
Sublime Springtime! Stretch out as the trails, golf courses and gardens defrost and bloom.
Fresh clean air, warm daytime temperatures, cool evenings and a time when snow skiing is often at its best. Restaurant tables overflow to the sidewalks and Lake Wakatipu's beaches fill with people enjoying warm late afternoon sunshine. Sit and people-watch at the many cafés, browse the markets and shops, hike the hillside trails, take in the new colors and scents, re-awaken adrenaline with adventure.
Long hot days, cool water, great fishing, gorgeous lakes and a myriad of walking tracks made Queenstown a favourite place to come and relax for as long as possible each summer.
Summer is a great time of year to go backcountry. Make time for a 4WD trip over old handmade roads into the magnificent Skippers Canyon or ghost towns such as Seffertown or Macetown. Or rent a Land Rover to create your own 4WD experience among some of the world's most intense scenery.
It's true frontier land in Glenorchy. This is where the road stops. The 35-minute drive from Queenstown must be one of the world's most scenic. Go horse riding here, or step foot in a primordial beech forest.
Many come to play on some of the world's most scenic golf courses. Play Millbrook's Bob Charles designed stunner, or join the locals for a round or five at Kelvin Heights or Arrowtown. If you're blaming the views for bad shots, practice your drive at the range in the shadow of the Remarkables mountain range.
Summer is a spectacular time in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Autumn, a time to slow down, relax and kick through the fallen leaves before opening a bottle of the region's, if not the world's finest wine. With everything you do will be the brilliant backdrop of the reds and golds of autumn's leaf fall.
Central Otago is the fastest growing wine region in New Zealand encompassing more than 680 hectares of vine plantings. More than 2,000 tonnes of grapes will be harvested this autumn. We recommend sampling the fruits of last year's harvest from any one of the 45 Central Otago vineyards. There are about 12 cellar doors in the region where you will be warmly welcomed to stay a while and sample the wine. Try Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir...it is quite nice.
Whether a wine tour, garden tour, flight seeing or even "The Lord of the Rings" tour, choose a local operator to introduce you to the region and show you the hidden places. Or from Queenstown, follow the edge of the lake westward and experience what must be one of the world's most scenic drives. In under an hour you'll be in Glenorchy, a true frontier town where you can horse ride, go hunting, step foot into the National Parks or spend a day wilderness jet-boating or paddling down glacier fed rivers.
Many come to sharpen their golf on some of the world's most scenic courses. There's Millbrook's Bob Charles designed stunner, or join the locals for a round or five at Kelvin Heights or Arrowtown. Taking to the water is a lovely autumn option and the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw is an elegant vessel to sail on. Her main destination is Walter Peak high country station.
Of course you'll need somewhere to stay. Start at http://www.queenstown-nz.co.nz/ for comprehensive coverage of Queenstown accommodation. There's everything from character backpacker places to some of the finest luxury lodges in the world. And with a compact town centre, you won't have to stroll far to find your perfect spot. From beat rooms to elegant bars for a night cap, everyone will find somewhere fabulous to go. Don't miss Joe's Garage for breakfast or lunch and the Ice Bar for a cool drink !
Queenstown is a great place to shop for that special piece of jewellery or a new wardrobe. Fully armed with souvenirs and heaps of photos, you'll be heading home again with fantastic memories, a refreshed approach to life and a promise to return.
A magical season of snow-capped mountains and blue skies when visitors and locals alike relish an enviable lifestyle and stunning environments. Renowned as the premier winter destination of the Southern Hemisphere, winter activity in the Southern Lakes region centres on the alpine playgrounds of Queenstown and Lake Wanaka. It is a gorgeous time of year to visit.
The resorts are alive with the winter buzz of skiers and snowboarders, the shopping is as superlative as ever, all activity operators are in full swing and the log fires offer warmth and comfort whether the sun is up or down. The resorts feature six international standard snow areas and an aprés ski culture to match. Further into the region, stable weather makes winter a wonderful time to take in the rainforests and sounds of Fiordland and the vast vistas of Central Otago.
Officially 1 June - 31 August. Dress warm, as during winter temperatures seldom hit higher than 7 or 8 deg C (45 F) and can fall well below zero deg C (F 32). Snowfields can open as early as the first weekend in June and are nearly always open by the last week of that month. The season can run past the last weekend in October but will generally close sometime in the last half of the month. Winter snowfalls are unpredictable but extensive snowmaking at some areas generally ensures skiing and boarding throughout the season. Winter weather in the Southern Lakes region is generally stable, the snowfields seldom close due to bad weather and occasional storms provide large dumps of snow. While skiing and boarding can be the primary motivation to visit the Southern Lakes region during winter, plan enough time to have 'off mountain days' to take in the huge range of activities on offer in the area.
Creative Queenstown Arts & Crafts market
Lindauer Queenstown Winter Festival
Peak to Peak multisport race
HP 50K of Coronet endurance ski race
Coronet Cup FIS race
World Heli Challenge
Brass Monkey Motorcycle Rally
AOK Ice Triathlon
The snow areas of the Southern Lakes are stunningly beautiful and cater to every level of ski or snowboard ability. Ride a magic carpet or chairlift to the slopes or chutes best suited to your ability, find your own private powder run with the help of a guide and a helicopter or take the armchair approach, mulled wine in hand and watch others from a sunny skifield deck.
Coronet Peak, the oldest and best known of the Southern Lakes snowfields. For an unforgettable night out, ski or snowboard under lights as the moon rises. Across the valley, The Remarkables is the ultimate family field – gentle learner slopes in view of the sun deck while higher up some of the Southern Hemisphere's most extreme terrain is sought after by mountaineers and free skiers.
Over the Crown Range at Cardrona Alpine Resort you can unclip right outside a comfy apartment. Known for wide ranging terrain, serious halfpipes and a massive terrain park, Cardrona is a favourite with snowboarders, families and extreme skiers. Across the valley from Cardrona is New Zealand's only Nordic ski area - Waiorau Snow Farm. A favourite with New Zealand's prime minister Helen Clark, cross country skiing and skating are rapidly gaining popularity. Next door to Waiorau is the specialist Snow Park. Snow Park is New Zealand's first all-mountain terrain park featuring half pipes, terrain and rail parks and a skier/boardercross course.
A scenic drive along the shores of Lake Wanaka is Treble Cone, Covering 550 hectares, Treble Cone enjoys spectacular views over Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, and is the biggest ski area in the South Island. Ski or snowboard holidays in the Southern Lakes are a family affair.
There are on and off mountain crèches for the young, excellent ski/board schools and a range of family gear and pass packages. The region is well set up for travelers and all gear (except hat, gloves and goggles) can be hired on and off the mountains. From Queenstown and Lake Wanaka, taxis, buses and minibuses all provide access to the snowfields.
Visit the snow area websites:
Cardrona - http://www.cardrona.com/
Coronet Peak & The Remarkables - http://www.nzski.com/
Harris Mountain Heliski - http://www.heliski.co.nz/
HeliSki Queenstown - http://www.flynz.co.nz/
Snow Park New Zealand - http://www.snowparknz.com/
Waiorau Snow Farm - http://www.snowfarmnz.com
Treble Cone Ski Area - http://www.treblecone.co.nz/
Book Your Trip Today... Here's How
Learn about the different regions of New Zealand from the options above, then to check for airfares, contact the Air New Zealand Reservations team 1-800-247-KIWI(5494) book online, or call your local travel agent.