Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most picturesque towns, sitting on the tip of the crystal clear Lake Wakatipu. It’s a bustling hub of international and local visitors come to seek out one of the endless thrills on offer here from skiing, white water rafting, canyon swinging, jet boating, mountain biking and bungy jumping.

But Queenstown is not just a gathering point for adrenaline junkies, slow down to the cosmopolitan pace of life and you’ll discover its flourishing arts scene, excellent vineyards, fine dining, international-standard golf courses and quiet lakeside shores where you can take in the incredible scenery. There is an infectious energy year-round here but its bars and restaurants are especially abuzz in summer and winter when seasonal activities draw the highest number of visitors.

For those after a slower pace, head over the Crown Range to the mellower but equally stunning Wanaka. This little township has its own glassy lake, epic mountain backdrop, fine dining scene and endless outdoor pursuits, but where Queenstown is the compact, excitable hub with high rise hotels and busy streets, Wanaka is the cooler, calmer equivalent with fewer shops and a more local feel.

The birthplace of bungee jumping, Queenstown is an adventure-lovers paradise. Take on the Shotover Canyon Swing like I did and see the Shotover Canyon from a whole new perspective whilst channeling your inner adrenaline junkie or Jet Boat down the river for dramatic natural scenery (or do both!). These are two of my favourite destinations in New Zealand and are ideal year-round, they are the perfect outdoor playground for skiing, hiking, biking, boating or just chilling with a view.

Ellie Khoury
Travel Designer

When to go

A year-round destination with summer and winter activities.