GET OUT OF TOWN
Everybody needs good neighbours and Queenstown has some of the best. Investing in a hire car pays off when you visit these three pockets of paradise.
Just 20 minutes via car/time capsule from the city centre, the charming gold rush village is poised between past and present. Trendy modern eateries (try Slow Cuts for a less frenzied alternative to Fergburger) mingle with historic buildings. Stroll alongside the gentle Arrow River where you can still try your luck at gold panning. A cluster of restored shelters built by Chinese miners from 1868 paint a vivid picture of the past.
Around 45 minutes from Queenstown, lesspopulated lakeside vistas ensure Glenorchy is a firm favourite with photographers. Start your scenic safari at the Glenorchy Wharf and iconic red railway shed. A horse ride through the Dart Valley – better known as Lord of the Rings country – will immerse you in the breathtaking backdrop.
AORAKI MT COOK
It’s a little further afield at more than three hours’ one way, but the journey over Lindis Pass is almost as spectacular as the destination. While New Zealand’s highest peak has a habit of playing peek-a-boo with the clouds, you’ll find yourself constantly pulling over to capture everything from Lake Pukaki’s brilliant blue to the rolling red of tussock-clad hills bleeding into blue sky. When you arrive, stretch your legs on the Hooker Valley Track.