A lakeside resort in the mountains of New Zealand's South Island, Queenstown is a popular destination for adventure tourism. With the chance to pursue such activities as bungee jumping and jet boat rides, Queenstown packages are especially appealing for adrenaline-seekers, but this scenic gem also appeals to anyone searching for downtime amid spectacular surroundings.
Early June marks the start of the snow season, when hotels in Queenstown are full of skiers and snowboarders who come for the four local ski areas. Warmer seasons are time for more sedate activities, such as riding the century-old, coal-fired steamer, TSS Earnslaw, across Lake Wakatipu. The mountains have many hiking and biking trails, and golfers can choose from six courses within a short drive of Queenstown hotels. What the town is best-known for, though, is its huge range of high-adrenaline activities, from abseiling to zip-lining. Soar over a valley on the world's biggest swing, see the majestic mountains from above on a paragliding trip, or try the homegrown sport of river surfing – navigating rapids and whirlpools as you ride face-first on a custom board.
Wine enthusiasts should visit some of the 200-plus vineyards in the region around Queenstown, which is known especially for its pinot noirs. Take a guided wine tour, choose a few select tasting rooms to visit, or simply order local wines that are served in almost all Queenstown restaurants, cafes, and bars. Local produce, sourced largely from nearby farms, is likewise showcased on the menus of Queenstown restaurants. Look for South Island salmon, wild mushrooms, local cheeses, and honey featured in freshly prepared dishes. Lakeside bistros are plentiful among Queenstown's fancier dining establishments, but you'll also find international fare from Mexican to Malaysian, plus steakhouses, pub, and fast food.
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