Travelling to New Zealand Can Be a Once in a Lifetime Experience

A trip to New Zealand for many travelers can truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as its remote location (over 900 miles, or about 1500 kilometers east of Australia) can make trips here rather time-consuming, not to mention expensive. So when planning for this adventure, many travelers make it a point to really do things in a grand fashion, making the most of the opportunity here. Staying in fine lodging and taking part in activities they may not otherwise consider on a "typical" vacation. Seeing things that will become fond lifetime memories.

New Zealand is essentially two large islands with about 600 small islands surrounding the country. The North Island features Auckland, the nation's biggest city. The South Island features Queenstown, a fabulous travel destination with breathtaking vistas, gorgeous accommodations, and most memorable activities that range from sedentary to wild and heart-pounding. As the distance between Auckland and Queenstown is considerable (about 650 miles), not too many travelers are able to take in both locations during their trip here, as a one-way trip between the two can take up one valuable vacation day. So here we'll look at places to stay, activities and sights to enjoy in the Queenstown area.

The Best Places to Stay

About 35 beautiful and scenic miles outside of Queenstown is breathtaking Lake Wakatipu. Make your way here and book a room at Blanket Bay Lodge in Glenorchy. Each room in one of the two chalets or main lodge offers gorgeous and panoramic views of the lake, rivers, and towering peaks of the Humboldt Mountains (Southern Alps). They've been rated as "Opulent" accommodations by New Zealand travel experts on Travel+Leisure 2018 A-List. It is consistently voted one of the world's best lodges by renowned media and worldwide organizations and has been prominently featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, The Discovery Channel, The Robb Report, and other major outlets.

Another terrific option is Azure Lodge just outside of Queenstown. Here, the main lodge is right on the hillside and houses a spacious lounge with a large open fireplace and main dining areas. Every room in this building faces out to the mountains and lake beyond. Accommodations in nine individual villas each feature a lounge area with fireplace, a super king bed, and private decks overlooking the lake.

Exciting Activities to Try

If you're up for some invigorating adventures, try one (or more) of these activities:

Shotover River Extreme Jet Boat Ride from Queenstown

This thrilling jet boat ride through rapids and tall cliffs is fast and will get fishtailing and spinning as you speed along in this 25-minute ride.

Queenstown Zipline Tour

You'll plunge 30 stories down through the Queenstown forest on the world's steepest tree-to-tree zipline. There are 3-hour tours, and a little tamer 2-hour course, all led by expert professional guides who offer instruction, gear you up and clip you in. The 3-hour expert course, covering six ziplines, can get you going up to 43 MPH (69 KPH).

Skydive Queenstown

Jumping safely in tandem with a guide, you can choose skydives from 9000 feet (25-second freefall), 12,000 feet (45-second freefall), or 15,000 feet (65-second freefall).

Not Enough Thrills?

Then consider:

  • Queenstown Nevis Highwire Bungy Jump
  • Shotover Canyon Swing
  • Zipline with Dart River Jet Combo Tour from Queenstown

Sights You Can't Miss

From everything you can see and do, and the amazing sights you can take in, be sure to take the Milford Adventure from Queenstown. This day tour incorporates some fun and unique adventures all in one ticket.

You'll travel by a small aircraft, small boat, and jet boat, discovering Milford Sound and the Dart River. Along the journey, you'll explore two different and wild national parks. By plane you'll fly over the lakes and mountains of Fjordland National Park, looking out for rare penguins cruising the length of Milford Sound. Back on the ground, you'll then hop into a jet boat for a thrilling ride in Mount Aspiring National Park up the Dart River.

To really catch some sights, you don't want to miss while here, check out native species at Kiwi Birdlife Park. Here you can see more than 200 native bird species, including New Zealand's own kiwi. Others you may never get the chance to see again outside of this environment include the kea, prehistoric tuatara, and the Auckland green gecko. Enjoy daily keeper presentations, nature exhibits, and wildlife shows with your daily admission ticket.