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Tourist Places To Visit In Queenstown Region
Queenstown, known as the ‘resort town’ of New Zealand is one of the many tourism hubs in the country. Located in the Otago region of the south island, the town is built around Lake Wakatipu. Also situated in the Southern Alp region of the country, Queenstown has much to offer for those who visit this beautiful town. There is no shortage of places to visit in Queenstown and one only has to find the time to visit the numerous tourist spots in and around the town.
Located about 16 km from Queenstown, the Coronet Peak is one of the major attractions in the region. The peak is recognised as one of the biggest ski fields in the country. Given its proximity to the Queenstown, a large number of people visit the place each year. Towering to a height of about 1,200 metres, the place makes for some stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the neighbouring peaks. Equipped with the best skiing facilities, the place has something for everyone. Both amateurs and professionals can enjoy the snowfields of Coronet Peak. Coronet peak is also quite unique in that it is open for night skiing. There are also several competitions that take place here each year bringing in ski experts from all around the world. Although one can visit throughout the year, winter is the best time to make a trip to Coronet Peak.
Skippers Canyon, a gorge cut out by the Shotover River is an important part of the region’s history. The canyon-like, Skippers Point, Skippers Road and Skippers Bridge are all named after ‘Skipper’ Malcolm Duncan who was an important figure in the gold mining history of the region. The Shotover River once proclaimed as the richest river in the world was a source of alluvial gold. A number of Europeans and Maori came to the region to mine for gold and as a result, many tiny settlements sprung up here. One can still find the remnants of such settlements in places like Charlestown. The road to the canyon, Skippers Road is considered one of the most scenic routes in the country. The road is quite narrow, mostly one-way and sometimes steep with drops more than 50 m that make for one hell of an adventure. The road will remind travellers of the harsh terrain that the miners had to pass through to access the gold from the river. A visit to the canyon is sure to leave you stunned.
The Queenstown Garden is a botanical park built during the time of the British. With an area of around 14 odd hectares, the garden has a number of spectacular plant and tree species. Some trees planted during the time of the first Mayor of the town still stand tall in the garden. Trees like the Douglas Fir, Red Oak, Monkey Puzzle, Algerian Fir and Wellingtonia can be found in the garden. The garden is the perfect getaway from the bustling town. With tall trees, the beautiful blue sky and the quiet, the Queenstown garden is the best place to relax and take a break from the otherwise busy town. The garden also offers some fun activities for those looking to make the best of the time here. Skateboarding, BMX biking and tennis are popular activities in the garden.
Located in the heart of Queenstown, Bob’s peak is one of the most visited places in the region. While the peak is famous for the panoramic views of the region that are sure to take your breath away, getting to the peak is equally popular. One can either ride the Skyline Gondola, the cable-cart that will take you to the peak or hike up to the peak. The Gondola ride offers a beautiful view of the region and the town while the steep incline makes it exciting and fun. The hike to the peak is an adventure in its own right and it allows visitors a more flexible way to get to the peak. Once atop the peak, the view will leave you mesmerized. In the south lies the Lake reflecting the soothing blue of the sky, in the north, is the snow-fed Coronet Peak, while the east rewards one with the amazing view of the Remarkables range. The view from the peak is only one of the many rewards. Bungy jumping, paragliding and Skyline Luge are some of the many activities one can indulge in here. Bob’s peak is a must visit if in Queenstown.
Glaciers have created numerous unique landscaped in New Zealand but none is as impressive as Queenstown’s lake, Lake Wakatipu. This large basin was carved out of ice and is regularly fed by two large rivers. Its unique geography gives the lake a sea like quality, creating mini ‘tides’ of sorts. The lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides and its shores house most of the town and the residential area. Some parts are covered by thick pine forests. During the winters the mountains receive snowfall and the view of the snow-capped mountains from the lake is quite spectacular. There are cruises that explore the lake and the many sites across the lake. These cruises happen every day and are a remarkable way to explore the lake.
Gibbston Valley vineyards
The Gibbston Valley popularly known as the ‘Valley of Vines’ is known for its splendid wine and cheese. Located alongside the Kawarau River, the wineries here sit in the most scenic parts of the region. With rugged mountains and beautiful blue skies, wine-tasting here takes it to a whole new level. With plenty of vineyards, the region produces some extraordinary wine. While the region is known for its pinot noir, it also produces really good Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The valley is also quite famous for its cheese. A visit to the valley can be rather appetising.
Mount Aspiring National Park
The Mount Aspiring National Park, named after Mt Aspiring, is a heavenly mix of blue alpine river, towering peaks, large valleys and thick forests. Covering about 3,500 km2, the park is a vast expanse of beautiful landscapes and pristine nature. Located deep in the Southern Alps, the glaciers and the snowfields that feed the many rivers and the lakes here are sure to leave you spellbound. The park is the perfect place for a family getaway into the wilderness. Accommodation is controlled by the conservation department and one should book in advance if visiting in summer.
The park offers numerous activities and adventure for those visiting. There are a number of very popular walks and hiking trails here like the Routeburn track, the Matukituki track and the Cascade saddle track. While some of these tracks are long and are spread over a couple of days, the park also has numerous short walks that can be enjoyed with the family. While in the park, visitors are sure to find some the many birds and animals that inhabit it. Birds like the mountain parrot can at times be a menace as they like to mess around with the backpacks of travellers.
Some of the rivers here allow visitors to navigate by Jet boats; the experience can be very special with breath-taking landscapes unveiling at every turn. The park is also a good place for stargazing. The vast expanse of our universe lights up the night-sky here. For those looking for some adventure, the park offers some of the best mountaineering experiences and is definitely worth a visit.