Sunday, 17 June 2012

The New Zealand Diaries: No.14 - A town fit for a Queen

Throughout my time in New Zealand, I visited many different, wonderful places across the South Island. The Catlins, Dunedin, Omokau to name just a few, but perhaps the one that will stick in memory the most is my time in Queenstown.

Queenstown is a tourist haven. In the winter, it's the home of skiing and snowboarding, whereas in the summer, it becomes a paradise for thrillseekers with bungee jumping, white-water rafting and the luge, to name just a few activities. Set amongst mountains and a crystal clear lake, it really is a metropolis for all things fun.

Arriving for a three day weekend, we checked in to a traditional New Zealand lodge-style motel and made our way downtown to Fergburger, the world-famous restaurant, which you can read more about in a previous diary entry.

Strolling along the cosmopolitan high street with the sun blaring on my back, it's easy to see why toursits flock to this part of New Zealand. With a new airport conveniently located nearby, it's certainly popular and full of tourists taking pictures and enjoying the sights. The lake surrounding the town is glorious, and with the majestic mountains and clear views of the town, pictures are aplenty!

The town itself is full of gift shops and uber cool restaurants, with plenty of bars and cafes to tickle your taste buds. Queenstown even boasts its very own Louis Vuitton, which just adds to the glamour of the town. The marina attracts many tourists, and is often a hot spot for entertainers and market sellers, offering a continental feel to the area.

But, alas, the shopping and fine dining experience is not what just draws the crowds to Queenstown. No, it's the thillseeking adventure and daredevil activities that are popular. I spent my first day in Queenstown climbing the cable car or gondola as it's known there up to the foot of the mountain.

At the top, the views are phenomenal. You can see the whole of Queenstown and the surrounding landscape from here, and they were certainly some of the best views I have ever seen. The top of the mountain boasts various activities, as well as a large restaurant and shop. From bungee jumping to mountain biking, the impressive array of things offers something for everyone.

Being a thrill seeker and a believer that you really only do live once, I accepted my Dad's invitation to race down the luge. The luge is like a go-kart track but with weird sledges instead of actual carts. You go along a track with many tunnels, twists and turns along the way. It's immense fun, and certainly competitive when you're racing against your father! All I'll say is I was robbed of a win by my father, and I still have the scars to prove it.

So Queenstown was turning out to be quite an adventure, and as my next post will tell you, it only gets better, as I tackle my most challenging decision yet; to bungee or not to bungee!? (I'll reveal all later this week!)

Follow me on Twitter: @kieranwatkins

Read more from The New Zealand Diaries:
No.13 - A bit of a flutter
No.12 - A day at the Museum

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