Queenstown: One great resort town

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A view from the Queenstown Gondola.

Queenstown bills itself as the adventure capital of New Zealand.  And no wonder.  Here you can find arrangements for everything from bungee jumping and 4-wheel drive tours to paragliding  and jetboating.  Hugging the shores of scenic Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding area, from a trip down the scenic Glenorchy Road to visiting Fiordland and the Milford Sound.

I stayed at the Heritage Queenstown, which Goway had arranged for me.  The Heritage isa small-to-medium sized resort hotel about a 5 minute cab ride from town (if you choose not to use the local bus, which stops nearby), featuring its own restaurant and outdoor pool.  A real treat was the most sumptuous manuka honey soap in my room.

It’s a bustling, walkable resort town with a mix of vacationing Kiwis and international visitors.  The Queenstown Gondola offers a wonderful view of the lake and surrounding mountains.  Once at the top of the gondola, you can take in the view from the observation deck, have a drink or dine at the restaurant on top.  Yes, it’s touristy, but I definitely found it worthwhile.

In town you can walk around the lakefront, take a scenic steamboat tour on the lake (I found these a little overpriced), join the crowds lined up at “Patagonia” for homemade ice cream and chocolates, dine at one of the restaurants lining the pedestrian “Mall,” or head for “The Cow,” a local favorite.  Located in an historic stone building on Cow Lane, the tiny, dimly lit restaurant is a Kiwi favorite, serving up whole pizzas and spaghetti.  A cozy fireplace and shared wooden tables make it easy to strike up a conversation with fellow diners.

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