New Zealand's Winter Playground


The Shotover Jet. Get quick thrill racing through the river gorges in these powerful boats with drivers who love to show off.

Queenstown could be called the 'Aspen' of New Zealand. This international resort town in Otago in the south-west of the South Island is built on the shore of Lake Wakatipu (an old glacial lake) and has spectacular views of nearby mountains.

This is a major centre for snow sports and people flock from all over the the world to ski at the four main skifields: Cardrona, Coronet Peak, The Remarkables and Treble Cone. Cross country and heli-skiing is also available.

Queenstown has so much for so many it often gets to the point where it seems to be bursting at the seams. The town is very cosmopolitan with modern conveniences catering for all ages and tastes with many shops, bars, restaurants and a local bus service. A pedestrian mall links souvenir shops with ski stores and high fashion boutiques and it is possible to get a decent espresso.

When Queenstown isn't focusing on winter activities, it's the capital of an adventure tourism industry and there are a myriad activities to keep you occupied - The magnificent surroundings are host to a vast variety of out door pursuit's from bungy jumping which was born here, tramping and trekking, mountain climbing, cable car, white water rafting, jet boating, motor-biking, wine tasting and more.

There are many annual events including a nine-day celebration of winter in the mountains in July, which provides many events on the ski slopes with international skiing/snowboarding competitions.

You can experience the mountains in the rough, or with cocktails in your slippers form the comfort of your 5 star hotel. Accommodation can be very hard to find year around, so it pays to book ahead.

Queenstown is central for exploring Wanaka, the goldfields of Central Otago, the mountain valleys of Paradise and  Glenorchy. Daily buses go to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sounds, although Te Anau makes a better base for exploring this area unless you fly or enjoy the six hour return journey by coach.

Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks are are easily accessed from here.

With so many activities on offer in Queenstown, ranging from the sedate to the adrenalin fuelled, it can be hard to know where to begin.

Perhaps start by taking a lake cruise, or the cable car and try out the flying fox. Head over to the Shotover Jet for a thrill of a lifetime.

Take the Earnslaw, a historic steam ferry over the lake to Walter Peak Sheep Station or drive up to Paradise.


One of New Zealand's iconic steam trains

The Kingston Flyer
New Zealand's famous vintage steam train The Kingston Flier is based in Kingston on the southern shores of Lake Wakatipu, a 40 minute drive south of Queenstown. The Flyer's history spans over 120 years and it is hoped that it will resume service.)

Queenstown has an airport, with flights form New Zealand's main cities and Australia, it is a days drive from Christchurch via Tekapo, 4 hours from Dunedin, 3 hours from Invercargill, 90 mins from Te Anau and  1 hr 40 mins from Wanaka.

Local information is available on tv, channel 5.


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