Queenstown sits on the shores of Lake Wakatipu against the backdrop of the Southern Alps. It is a resort town known for adventure sports like skiing and bungee jumping. It’s also a great place to explore vineyards and historic mining towns.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder why Queenstown makes such a perfect Christmas vacation. Here are some activities you will want to check out when you visit.
Shotover Jet Christmas Cracker
The Shotover Jet Christmas Cracker is Queenstown’s version of Auckland’s Christmas in the Park. It takes place at the Queenstown Event Centre and features a different play each year.
A recent production was based on a tale where Christmas was called off due to a lack of snow. The performers called on the audience to help Santa restore Christmas. It’s an outdoor event the entire family will enjoy.
If you were hoping for a White Christmas, New Zealand may not be the place to visit. In fact, if you visit in December, you will be there just in time for the country’s summer.
With the warm weather in mind, many locals head over to the beaches and outdoor areas for a Christmas Day barbecue. If you don’t have access to a grill, Lake Esplanade has public grills available.
Eat Terrific Food
New Zealand has some terrific dining spots. While a lot of them are closed on Christmas Day, there are a few that will be open and serving delicious Christmas Day feasts. Here are some you can choose from.
· The Grille: The Grille provides a stunning view of Lake Wakatipu and a lovely modern interior. On Christmas Day they serve a three-course meal complete with champagne.
· Millbrook: The Millbrook Resort serves up a tasty Christmas buffet lunch in their clubhouse and pavilion. The menu includes roast meats, antipasto, seafood and Christmas pudding with brandy sauce.
· Bazaar: This gourmet buffet restaurant is the perfect location for a Christmas Day dining experience. Drink packages may include house wines, beers and champagne.
Note: It is recommended to book restaurants in advance as they tend to fill up quickly for the holidays.
Ride the Skytown Queentown
The Skytown Queenstown gondola will get you the best views of Queenstown. It will take you up nearly 1500 feet to the observation deck at Bob’s Peak where you will be able to take in the scenery of Coronet Peak and the Remarkables resort. There is also a restaurant, a bar and mountain bike trails on site.
Thrill seekers will want to check out the luge trails which are accessible via the gondola’s chairlift.
Coronet’s Peak is a ski area known for its many slopes and tubing parks. Even though you won’t be able to ski during the summer months, it is still worth it to go up there to check out the magnificent views of the city.
There are several bungee jumping sites in Queenstown including the Kawarau Bridge, The Ledge on Bon’s Peak and the Nevis which is an above river jump as well as New Zealand’s highest bungee jump point. Bungee jumping is a thrilling experience that, according to experts, even novices can find enjoyable if they put their nerves aside.
But if you would rather not bungee jump, a bungee swing may be more your speed. AJ Hackett, Queenstown’s main bungee jump provider, offers the country’s biggest bungee swing, a 1,000 yard swing over the Nevis River.
Onson Hot Pools
After a day of outdoor activity, you will want to soothe your bones by soaking in one of Onson’s Hot Pools. The spa has indoor and outdoor pools that provide remarkable views of the landscape. Most tubs accommodate four and soaks can be taken day or night.
Kiwi Birdlife Park
If you enjoy wildlife, you will not want to miss out on a visit to Kiwi Birdlife Park. There are more than 30 animal species in the park including brown kiwis, tuataras and rainbow lorikeets.
If you time your visit right, you may also be able to take in a kiwi feeding and conservation show. It’s a great way to learn about New Zealand conservation efforts.
Walter Peak High Country Farm
Walter Peak Farm is more than just a petting zoo, it’s a farm attraction.
The experience starts with a cruise across Lake Wakatipu. Christmas Eve cruises are available. On the cruise, you will be treated to a terrific meal and there is also a resident pianist onboard who will play Christmas carols that all passengers can join in on.
Once you get to the farm, you will be taken on a tour to walk through the gardens, watch sheepshearing demonstrations, feed animals and enjoy an outdoor barbecue (if you haven’t already eaten on the boat).
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Hardcore adventurists will not want to miss out on a chance to skydive out of a plane 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 feet over Queenstowns’s landscape. Remember that skydiving is a popular Queenstown activity and a limited number of jumps are scheduled each day so you will want to schedule yours well in advance. You should also schedule it early on in the trip in case it needs to be rescheduled due to weather issues.
Ben Lumond Track
Queenstownis also a great destination for hiking. Ben Lomond Track provides the ultimate hiking path starting at the western end of Skyline access road and ending at the nearly 2,000-foot-high Ben Lomond Summit. Note that the path is pretty steep and is therefore recommended to hikers in good health.
Queenstown is a great place to escape the cold of the winter and enjoy some great outdoor adventures. Which of these activities will you be partaking in when you visit?