Words by Tiana Templeman
Queenstown is a destination that knows how to show visitors a good time. With heart-pumping adrenalin activities, fabulous skiing, stunning scenery, and some of New Zealand’s best food and wine, choosing when to visit can be harder than spotting a kiwi in the wild.
While most travellers flock to Queenstown in winter, there is much to be said for visiting during the summer months. Accommodation is cheaper, the weather is warmer and adventure activities are more fun when you’re not feeling like a popsicle. It’s also easier to get around with no roads in and around Queenstown closed due to snow. Not that you really need a car once you arrive. Compact Queenstown is the ideal destination to explore on foot.
Whether you are in town for adventure, romance or relaxation, summer is the perfect time to kick back with a glass of wine and a long lunch at one of the region’s wineries. Or you could head for the hills on a hiking trip or even jump into Lake Wakatipu for a swim - if you’re game. Summer days are also longer, with the sun shining until around 10pm in the height of the season, which means you will be able to pack even more into your holiday.
Adventure activities abound in Queenstown and summer is the perfect time to enjoy them. Get your heart racing with a paragliding trip off the top of Bob’s Peak, or take a ride on the Nevis Swing which travels in a 300m arc over a canyon. For something more relaxing, fly through the air with the greatest of ease, surrounded by birdlife and beautiful trees, on an eco-friendly ziplining tour.
Stay in style!
The Rees, a luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, is home to a sophisticated wine lounge and one of the best restaurants in town, with views that are second to none. Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa has décor that reflects the forests and riverbeds of the surrounding Central Otago landscape and a dress circle location right in the heart of town. It is also home to So Spa, an oasis of calm specialising in traditional Maori treatments.
History comes alive!
Immerse yourself in Queenstown’s fascinating past with a visit to the quaint mining towns of Arrowtown and Clyde. Or celebrate the region’s farming roots with a laconic tour of Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you can enjoy the local cuisine. A cruise on TSS Earnslaw, a 100-year-old coal-fired vintage steamship with a story to tell, offers a charming way to experience the beauty of Lake Wakatipu.