If you have ever visited the Southern Lakes region of New Zealand then you will know that you are spoilt for choice for activities to do. Not only are there a myriad of adventure experiences to choose from, but there are also many more ‘sedate’ options for those that like to take life a little slower. Here are our top picks for things to do while staying in Queenstown or Wanaka.
The Southern Lakes region is home to six incredible ski areas. This means that there is something for everyone and definitely no time for anyone to get bored! The ski season in the Southern Lakes region runs from the start of July to the end of September. The views are magnificent, no wonder Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed nearby! Cardrona Resort is perfect for families and beginner skiers and snowboarders, and you can’t beat Treble Cone for those that enjoy a challenge – think natural half-pipes, steep chutes, and in-bounds backcountry.
2. Mountain biking
The mountain biking trails in Wanaka and Queenstown seem endless. There are numerous options for the beginner to the seasoned rider. Winter, autumn, spring and summer, there are tracks for everyone. Jumping on your bike has never been easier, ride your bike straight from your accommodation to the beginning of one of many trails. What better way to see the countryside while keeping fit to boot? Try out the brand new Queenstown Trail – over 100kms of trails traversing through old gold-mining towns, vineyards, lakes and rivers.
A day or two heli-skiing is the perfect compliment to your commercial ski area days. Untouched powder, breath-taking views, complete peacefulness and no crowds makes for an epic day! Enough said!
Skydiving is a great activity to rest those legs after your epic days of skiing or mountain biking. Skydiving is offered in both Wanaka and Queenstown and is one of the best ways to take in the beautiful views. If you skydive from Wanaka, on a clear day you can even view Mt Cook (New Zealand highest mountain at 3754m).
5. Jet boating
There are at least a dozen jet boating options in the Southern Lakes region. There is something to suit all levels of thrill; from incredible scenic leisure rides such as Wanaka River Journeys to high speed, close to the cliff, thrill seeking rides such as you Shotover Jet. You won’t be let off unhappy.
6. Wine tour
The Central Otago region is home to some of the best wines New Zealand has to offer. Drive yourself, book a tour, or book a personal driver. Tastings and cellar door purchases make for yet another great way to see the scenery and to sample what New Zealand has to offer.
7. Bungy jumping
Stepping off a huge ledge or bridge can be a very liberating experience! The Southern Lakes region offers various different types of the Bungy Jump. The original AJ Hacket Bungy – Kawarau Bridge Bungy, the Nevis Bungy and the Nevis Swing all excellent options to choose from. Be ready to let go of your fear, step off and be freed!
Angela Schrider is Director at NZ Snow Tours.