Set along the banks of the beautiful glacial Lake Wakatipu and at the base of The Remarkables, Queenstown has character that is hard to rival and therefore, is the top tourist destination of the South Island. It is especially well-known by adrenaline junkies because it offers endless opportunities for thrilling adventures, including skydiving, bungee jumping, jet boating, and paragliding (just to name a few). Additionally, the city center is packed with restaurants, bars, and cafes providing live entertainment on a nightly basis and catering to all different tastes.
Before spending three days WOLOing around the city, we managed an epic four-hour hike to the top of The Remarkables via the Shadow Basin Lookout track. After climbing 400 vertical meters (1,312 feet) we found ourselves perched at 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) on the sawtooth peaks of the ridge-line. Our top-of-the-world view was almost too good to be true. From our vantage point we were actually looking down on the small planes packed with skydivers and the jetboats packed with thrill-seekers; we watched people pull their chutes and float safely to the ground, and gazed out at the snowy peaks of The Fiordlands in total peace. It was so surreal (like watching a silent action-movie film) and was definitely the cheapest thrill in all of Q-town!
Of course, once we made it off the mountain-top we joined in the fun! We watched a free-style hang gliding competition from the banks of Lake Wakatipu while stuffing our faces with some delicious butter chicken, enjoyed a Super Rugby game and house-ales with the locals at Winnie’s Pub, and made a late-night stop at Fergburger (a famous Q-town establishment open until 5 A.M.) for the best “Bombay Chicken Sandwich” ever-made (this place is awesome and so worth the quick wait in the long line)! In between all of our feasting, we also managed to conquer the Queenstown Hilltop Walk and complete a portion of the lakeshore drive west toward Glenorchy!
Overall, Queenstown was a little harsh on the wallet (and we didn’t even do anything “crazy”) but it was totally worth it, providing the perfect dose of city adventuring before we headed back into the great unknown!
Next stop: Rob Roy Glacier
Song lyrics: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers “Learning to Fly”
– Go. Change your state of mind.