Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world, known for its breathtaking scenery and a natural playground for thrill-seeking tourists, is definitely at the top of most people’s to-visit list. Its moderate temperature makes it a perfect place to visit all year round and I had the chance to visit Queenstown just last year in June, just as the first snowfall was about to transform this small town in the southern hemisphere into a winter wonderland. The mild winter (hovers around -2 to 8 degrees) was definitely a much-appreciated break from the harsh tropical climate Singapore has. Queenstown may be a small town but the number of activities to do here is endless. So here are some activities to engage in when you visit Queenstown!
1. Skiing / Snowboarding
Queenstown certainly lives up to its reputation as an adventure capital with four world-class mountain resorts – The Remarkables (That’s the pretty snow-capped mountain in the thumbnail!), Coronet Peak, Cardrona and Treble Cone. Most of the mountains only open up in mid-June, but depending on the weather condition, it may open earlier or later than expected. In fact, I actually managed to get a pre-season access two weeks before the official opening due to a heavy snowfall! Skiing in the freshly coated field was an absolutely surreal experience.
My ski pass with Coronet Peak in the background
2. Visit Milford Sound
Termed by Rudyard Kipling as the eighth wonder of the world, Milford Sound is an astounding fjord 295km from Queenstown. We took the bus early in the morning at 6 am from Queenstown. To get there, we had to pass by a couple of treacherous roads. The first one is termed as the Devil’s staircase, which is basically a curvy, narrow road. However, since everything was pitch black early in the morning, it was barely noticeable. The second road, the Milford Sound, is a stretch of road prone to avalanches in the winter. But don’t worry! The relevant authorities are always updating the risk level of these roads and will shut them down if the weather conditions are particularly bad.
We spotted a Kea on the way there. It is the world’s only Alpine parrot and is known for its intelligence and cheekiness
The scenery on the way to Milford Sound
The boat we took at Milford Sound
Once we arrived at Milford Sound, we boarded a boat which went around the sound and out to the Tasman sea. We even managed to catch sight of seals and dolphins along the way!
3. Take a gondola up Bob’s Peak
A definite must-do in Queenstown. We took the gondola up to the top of Bob’s Peak to enjoy the scenic view of Queenstown and the mountains surrounding it. Honestly, pictures do no justice to the majestic beauty of the view up there.
Besides the scenic view, there are a bunch of activities for visitors to do as well. From the infamous AJ Hackett bungee jumping to racing down the hill on a luge and even paragliding.
The view from Bob’s Peak of the Remarkables mountain and Lake Wakatipu
AJ Hackett’s Bungy at Bob’s Peak
4. Drop by the Kiwi Birdlife Park
Something I chanced upon while walking around Queenstown – the Kiwi Birdlife Park is home to many native birds including the absolutely adorable Kiwi! It was actually a very enjoyable experience and I spent almost half a day there walking around the park observing and learning more about the birds up close.
The birdlife park
5. LUMA light festival
LUMA is a sensory event held annually in Queenstown during the Queen’s birthday weekend for people from all walks of life to connect together over art. There, they displayed various art installations and held musical performances for 4 consecutive nights. The vibe was really chill there and there was a wide variety of installations to admire.
The entrance to the LUMA festival
Now moving on to some fun facts about New Zealand: Do you know that New Zealand is the world’s most co-operative economy? Co-operatives generates roughly 20% of New Zealand’s GDP and serve about 1 in 3 Kiwis as members. In fact, one of the largest companies and also the largest Co-operative in New Zealand is Fonterra, a multinational dairy cooperative owned by over 10500 farmers!
Anlene is one of the many brands under Fonterra
While many may perceive Queenstown as a destination only for adrenaline junkies and the adventurous, I beg to differ. Those seeking a peaceful getaway will also enjoy the beautiful parks and the many cafes this small town has to offer!
This article was brought to you by Tammy Lim Lee Xin, a first-year Computer Science and Economics Undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University, SNCF Scholar 2018 who was interning at SNCF during May to July 2019. She likes travelling, reading and hunting for good food.