In­sider tip

Sunday Star-Times - - Escape Expat Tales - Meghan Hollins, Flight Cen­tre 24/7

As Ki­wis, ex­plor­ing our own back­yard doesn’t of­ten make it to the top of our travel wish lists – but it should.

Put Queen­stown on your list for 2019 and I prom­ise you won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

I fi­nally made it to the ‘‘ad­ven­ture cap­i­tal’’ of New Zealand ear­lier this year, and was quick to dis­cover why it’s of­ten voted one of the most beau­ti­ful parts of the coun­try. Yes, there are the well-trod­den cir­cuits that every­one does. But there are lesser-known ad­ven­tures that will awe even the well-trav­elled.

A keen ac­tive trav­eller, a high­light of my trip was the sta­tion-to-sta­tion cy­cle trail be­tween Mt Ni­co­las and Wal­ters Peak Sta­tion. A half-day in­de­pen­dent cy­cling trip, you start with a cruise across Lake Wakatipu, be­fore cy­cling be­tween the high­coun­try farms.

I can’t tell you how re­fresh­ing it was to breathe in the fresh moun­tain air and watch the land­scape un­fold. You can bring your own bike or hire one lo­cally.

If you’d rather ex­plore the hills on two feet than two wheels, and are an ex­pe­ri­enced climber, then the Ben Lomond track is a must. It’s a de­mand­ing, full-day hike but from the top you’ll be re­warded with 360-de­gree views of Lake Wakatipu, The Re­mark­ables, Ce­cil Peak, and Wal­ters Peak.

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