17 Jan 203 204km // QUEENSTOWN // NEW ZEALAND
Different from our usual just-the-two-of-us trips, we recently took a Trafalgar tour, for a group-travel experience of a lifetime. 10 days, 1 sensational country made up of 2 contrasting islands, and a collection of 39 strangers who have proven that the best part of travel is the people you meet along the way.
The last city on our Contrasts of New Zealand tour was Queenstown.
Imagine a town nestled on the shore of a deep blue lake (New Zealand’s longest lake), set against the dramatic Southern Alp mountain range (the highest range in Australasia), offering visitors the opportunity to speed in jet boats across rivers in canyons, enjoy delectable buffets at pristine farmlands, take scenic gondola rides up high to view colorful views of the city, ski in the Winter, enjoy sunny sundowners in Summer, and you’ve got an itsy bitsy idea of what Queenstown has on offer.
Although we were only there for a couple days, this gorgeous little gem of a town has to be added into my top 10 favorite towns, simply because it feels like it has it all. We enjoyed amazing food, strolls through markets, delicious wine and sunsets in lakeside boathouses, monumental cruises, scenic drives along cliffs (literally driving with 2 wheels on the edge of a cliff), and the most fun we’ve ever had on a boat (if you come to Queenstown and MISS OUT on Skippers Canyon jet-boating-for-the-adrenaline-rush-and-gold-panning-because-of-the-gold-rush tour, you basically haven’t lived…so add it to your itinerary now). That, with the fact that Milford Sound (think Norway’s fjords meet Switzerland’s mountains meet Canada’s drama) is a day-trip away, makes it really easy to see why it’s New Zealand’s backpacker and billionaire haven – there’s simply something for everyone.
Another highlight one should not miss out on (if one is fond of world-class experiences and one is headed to Queenstown), is the TSS Earnslaw sunset cruise along Lake Wakatipu, offering you an opportunity to watch this historic steam ship do its thing below the deck, and then end the night with a sensational buffet BBQ dinner (even with loads of options for vegans) and a chance to feed the little baby lambs in the back of the farm…ok, we probably weren’t supposed to feed them, but they were there, and so were the milk bottles, and they baaaa’d at us (the lambs, not the bottles), and we’re basically just weak. Lamb Farmer – if you’re reading this – we’re sorry we fed your lambs, but we couldn’t help ourselves.
All in all, Queenstown blew my mind and left me wanting to visit it again and again and again. Thank you cute little Alpine town at the bottom of the world – you will no doubt see us again, and thank you Trafalgar for including this gem in the tour.