Queenstown is to New Zealand what Ko Phan Ngan is to Thailand. That is, Queenstown is an undisputed party capital. New Zealand’s reputation amongst backpackers precedes it: the place to go for sublime views, insane sports and an enviable nightlife; few of those lucky enough to visit don’t rave about it later. In Queenstown, you have the home of ‘Middle Earth’ and more speedy adrenaline thrills than you can shake a stick at.
In fact, if you’re here for the rush, you may as well get stuck right in, as you’re not going to run out of activities in a hurry. Local companies will whisk you away for some caving, bungee jumping, rafting, skydiving, jetboating, sledging, skiing and hang gliding if your wallet can handle the pressure; most visitors end up doing several, and taking home a library of spectacular photos and videos documenting their exploits.
The adrenaline-fuelled sports are certainly a big part of the Queenstown experience, but they’re far from everything. Head off on a wine trail, for example, and be whisked around the countryside to a number of New Zealand’s best vineyards, swirling and sipping all the way. Or join a scenic tour, and cruise around spots that will have Lord of the Rings fans gasping in recognition, and others just gasping.
With all the natural beauty, it’s easy to forget that Queenstown the town is there at all, but you won’t want to miss it off your nightlife list. Pick the right day, and Queenstown can be utter carnage, while grabbing yourself a spot by the lake with a bottle of wine and watching one of the world’s most spectacular sunsets is not to be missed, either.
It might be a centre of party culture rather than indigenous culture, but Queenstown does blend its mayhem with the kind of scenery that, every so often, you’ll just have to pause from the madness and stare at. You can even do so from a helicopter, if you have the spare dollars lying around, but wherever you gaze from, this part of the world is still phenomenal to look at.
The best advantage point for viewing Queenstown and the Remarkables Mountain range is from Bob's Peak. No trip to Queenstown would be complete without a visit to the lookout point, either walking or using the Gondola.
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