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Introducing Queenstown & Wanaka

If Queenstown didn’t exist, someone would have to invent it. With a cinematic background of mountains and lakes you actually have seen in the movies, and a ‘what can we think of next?’ array of adventure activities, it’s little wonder that the South Island’s premier tourist town tops many travellers’ Kiwi itineraries. This Disneyland of derring-do will prompt a hundred synonyms for ‘exciting’ and ‘thrilling’ for your travel journal, but lurking in and around the tangle of bungy cords are experiences that will last longer than a shriek-inducing 10 or 20 seconds.

Venture out on the Greenstone and Routeburn Tracks for extended outdoor thrills amid arguably New Zealand’s most stunning scenery, or sample world-beating wines in world-beating surroundings in the Gibbston Valley. If you listen really closely, you might even hear the screams of glee across the road at bungy’s birthplace, the Kawarau River.

Slow down (slightly) in Wanaka, Queenstown’s junior sibling, now offering its own menu of outdoor adventure, and a growing restaurant and bar scene. Explore Mt Aspiring National Park to reinforce you’re only a short drive from diving into true NZ wilderness.

Slow down even more in sleepy Glenorchy, a scenic reflection of Queenstown and Wanaka before the adventure groupies moved in for summer. And in little Arrowtown, keep on slowing down to consider the town’s gold-mining over dinner in a quiet arcade bistro. The following day there’ll be plenty of opportunity to jump back into the region’s cavalcade of fun.