Queenstown is a destination that knows how to show visitors a good time. With heart-pumping adrenalin activities, fabulous skiing, stunning scenery, and some of New Zealand’s best food and wine, choosing when to visit can be harder than spotting a kiwi in the wild. While most travellers flock to this destination in winter, there is much to be said for visiting Queenstown in summer. Accommodation is cheaper, the weather is warmer and adventure activities are more fun when you’re not feeling like a popsicle.
It’s also easier to get around with no roads in and around Queenstown closed due to snow. Not that you will need a car once you arrive. Compact Queenstown is the ideal destination to explore on foot. Whether you are in Queenstown seeking adventure, romance or relaxation, summer is the perfect time to kick back with a glass of wine and a long lunch at one of the region’s wineries, head for the hills on a hiking trip or even jump into Lake Wakatipu for a swim if you’re game.
Summer days are also longer, with the sun shining until around 10pm in the height of the season, which means you will be able to pack even more into your holiday. If you don’t have much time, Queenstown is ideal for a long weekend getaway. Adventure activities abound in Queenstown and summer is the perfect time to enjoy them. Get your heart racing with a paragliding trip off the top of Bob’s Peak, or take a ride on the Nevis Swing which travels in a 300 metre arc over a canyon.
For something more relaxing, fly through the air with the greatest of ease, surrounded by birdlife and beautiful trees, on an eco-friendly ziplining tour. If you are after somewhere upmarket to stay check out The Rees, a luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, which has a sophisticated wine lounge and one of the best restaurants in town. The views from this hotel are second to none and you can often pick up a great deal in the off season.
Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa has décor that reflects the forests and riverbeds of the surrounding Central Otago landscape and a dress circle location right in the heart of town. It is also home to So Spa, an oasis of calm specialising in traditional Maori treatments. While Queenstown is best known for its adrenalin activities, you can also immerse yourself in Queenstown’s fascinating past. Visit the quaint mining towns of Arrowtown and Clyde or celebrate the region’s farming roots with a laconic tour of Walter Peak High Country Farm. A cruise on TSS Earnslaw, a 100 year old coal-fired vintage steamship with a story to tell, offers a charming way to experience the beauty of Lake Wakatipu.
Disclosure: The writer usually visits Queenstown in summer as she isn’t much good at skiing.