Another chilly but beautiful morning! Ice crystals had formed overnight, leaving everything sparkling and surreal. After cooking up a feast of chorizo and eggs at the back of our van, we headed off for some winter fun in Queenstown.
New Zealand’s top tourist destination lies about an hour from Wanaka. Queenstown has everything adventure travellers dream of: from skiing to jet-boating; bungy-jumping to white water rafting; sky diving to luging down a hill! The world-famous AJ Hackett Bungy Jump requires a leap of faith into a swirling ice-blue river below. You can also zip-line through a forest at high speed on the highest flying fox in the Southern Hemisphere, with Ziptrek Ecotours, or try a valley swing with Nevis Swing. All of these adventures provide stellar views over the natural landscape and a good hit of adrenaline!
We opted for the less courageous but highly thrilling jet boat ride down the river, and followed it with some luging. For an hour we sped up and down two of New Zealand’s most scenic rivers - the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers. Break-neck speeds and breath-taking scenery provided an absolute treat, and one which I would take again in a heartbeat!
We then headed for the hill and bought luge tickets. To reach the top of the hill, we rode the gondola up, which is an experience in itself. Rising above Lake Wakitipu, with the snowy mountains in the backdrop, we reached the summit in no time. We hit the tracks hard in our wheeled carts, racing each other to the bottom. It was lots of fun, but a skill that takes practice - the first few rides I found myself pinned on corners and hitting the edges! We had bought a package deal and were able to take several trips on the luges which was well worth our money.
We were spoilt for choice at lunchtime. Queenstown is known for its fantastic cafés, bars and restaurants, with over 150 places to dine. You’ll find everything from restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, to family-friendly eateries and dessert diners. Some award-winning cafés, pizza places and burger joints are also on the cards. We couldn’t go past the renowned Ferg Burger joint, where people will queue for hundreds of meters to get their hands on their lunch. It’s definitely worth the wait too, with great choice and mouth-watering taste.
After lunch, we meandered along the lake shore, where a great atmosphere makes for a relaxing afternoon. We picked up a coffee and soaked in the lakeside views. On our walk, we stumbled upon an ice skating rink near the Queenstown Gardens. We hired some skates and had a great time gliding around the rink to some funky music.
Before heading to the Frankton Motor Camp, where we had booked in for the night, we ventured into the town for some dinner. With countless diners, restaurants and wine bars, we were again spoilt for choice. Queenstown is very lively at night, and is well-known for its night life, but after an adventurous day we were eager to call it a day and return to our van.
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