One of the most interesting places in New Zealand and perhaps on the planet has the nickname 'The Adventure Capital of the World' but its real name is Queenstown. Local legend has it the town was named this way because a local miner quipped that it was fit for Queen Victoria. The Remarkable Mountains with their jagged peaks form the background of Queenstown alongside Lake Wakatipu, the third longest lake in New Zealand. The mountains, lakes, and rivers around the area provide an excellent natural playground for those who enjoy adventure sports and beautiful views are easy to come by for nature lovers.

In the winter this place is a skiing and snowboarding mecca, with five excellent ski fields to choose from. The Remarkables ski area is nearest to town with 220 ha of ski-able area, 6 lifts, 3 mountain bowls, a snow tubing park, and a terrain park. Coronet Peak was the first commercial ski field to open in New Zealand, and now has several high speed lifts along with night skiing and early opening hours for plenty of mountain time. Cardrona Alpine Resort has 5 lifts, 2 half pipes, and 4 terrain parks with a high performance center for world class skiing and snowboarding training. Snow Farm is a cross country skiing facility and conference center located about 55 km from Queenstown which is also the site of the Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds for car manufacturers to test their cars against the tough terrain here.

For an adrenaline rush outside of skiing and snowboarding you don't need to go far. Bungy jumping is available in several places including at Kawarau Bridge, the site of the first commercial bungee jumping location pioneered by AJ Hackett. Jet boating is another fun ride taking you through shallow waters at up to 85 kph and capable of doing 360 degree spins at will. You can also rent a number of vehicles like 4x4s, mountain bikes, and dirt bikes to get a speedy thrill of a different kind than on the snow. A little less fast but also very fun is the Skyline Luge which has two 800 meter tracks, one scenic and one advanced that let gravity do its work pulling you around the twists and turns. For a great view of the area if you can afford it, a helicopter ride provides the best perspective of all that nature has created.

To slow it down a bit, there are plenty of things to do that don't involve risking your life. The TSS Earnslaw is a steamship built in 1912 that still prowls the waters of Lake Wakatipu, taking tourists from Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Ben Lomond is a mountain near the city with spectacular views at 1748 meters up with a track that can take about 5-6 hours to walk so a trip there is going to take up your whole day but the 360 degree views of the area are worth it. The Skyline Gondola offers nice views if you'd rather not walk too much, and there are observation decks at the top of the ride to take in the scenery. There is also a few wineries in the area at some of world's southernmost wine growing areas in the world offering a nice pinot noir.

Queenstown is really an experience, not just a place and those who have been there can attest to this. The mountain scenery, thrilling adventure opportunities, and its place in history as an adventure capital make it one of the most unique destinations in New Zealand and some (including Lonely Planet) say in the world. The climate is oceanic and it lies in the rain shadow of the Southern Alps so the outdoor opportunities are not ruined by weather very often leaving guests here satisfied just about every time they visit.

Author's Bio: 

Lucky Rentals is a campervan rental company based in New Zealand with offices in Auckland and Christchurch.