With the 2011 Rugby World Cup now in full flight I thought it might be an opportune moment to cast the spotlight on the host nation, New Zealand and more specifically one of its smaller but no less vibrant communities, Queenstown. Although the closest a rugby match will come to being played in the peaceful resort town is in nearby Invercargill, Queenstown still has plenty to offer at any time of the year.
There is a charismatic and intimate sense to Queenstown that lends it a small-town feel but with many of the benefits of a more sizeable municipality. Visitors can choose from a variety of accommodations in the area from boutique guesthouses, to remote lodges and grand hotels such as the exclusive Eichardt’s Private Hotel which looks out over the waters of Lake Wakatipu and backs on the fashionable Beach Street.
|Looking out over Lake Wakatipu|
What you get up to in Queenstown can largely depend upon the season; this is a town that metamorphoses from a charming slow paced community into a bustling snow sports Mecca during the winter months when New Zealanders from miles around as well as hordes of international enthusiasts descend upon the region to enjoy its renowned ski and snow boarding facilities. Of course being in the Southern Hemisphere this winter period stretches from June to the end of August; although the skiing season does continue into October.
For anyone lucky enough to visit Queenstown towards the end of June, the annual Winter Festival is a spectacular 10 day event featuring a host of winter-related activities including street parades, exhibitions, workshops, invitationals, fireworks displays, markets, street stalls and much, much more. If you’re not hitting the slopes on one of the 6 international standard pistes then you can take time to explore the beautiful National Parks of Mount Aspiring, the Fiordland or Glenorchy.
If you really have a stomach of steel you could dare yourself to take the ultimate plunge; the Nevis Bungee jump- a member of the famous AJ Hackett group of bungee sites- stands at over 134m and is New Zealand’s highest commercial bungee. With over 8 seconds of free fall, the Otago countryside will never look as spectacular nor as intimidating when you are stood at the edge of the bungee pod that hovers high above the Nevis River.