Things to do on a relaxing day in Queenstown, New Zealand
Visitors are attracted to Queenstown for its wild reputation. It’s the town that pioneered adventure tourism and it works hard to attract adrenaline junkies to this resort town of 20,000 people on the south island of New Zealand, far down in the Southern Ocean. However when the buzz from bungy jumping has warn off, you are nursing some impressive bruises from mountain biking and you couldn’t face another ski run, Queenstown also offers a multitude of things to do which will calm your nerves rather than rattle them. If soothing tight muscles in hot tubs, seafood feasts and amazing mountain vistas are more your style, Queenstown will not disappoint when the adrenalin rush subsides.
For the ultimate in relaxation head to Onsen Hot Pools. Ten minutes drive out of Queenstown at Arthurs Point, Onsen Hot Pools offer complementary pick up from town if needed. The pools themselves are filled with pure mountain water heated to between 37.8 and 39.8 degrees Celsius. In cedar lined rooms these pools are deep and have plenty of room for the maximum occupancy of 4 people. However the most elaborate part of the experience is the retractable front wall and roof. Once settled in your hot pool, with the touch of a button the glassed front wall and roof can be lifted upward to reveal a magnificent view of snow topped mountains and the brilliant blue Shootover River. From time to time the Shootover jet boat will speed past, full of trill seekers just to remind you of that other side of Queenstown.
Once soothed and softened by a soak in a hot tub its time to investigate those gondolas making the never ending trip up the mountain behind the town. Perched high above Queenstown is the Skyline complex. Gondolas are the only way to get to the complex which offers 220 degree views of the town itself, The Remarkables and Lake Wakatipu, Cecil Peak and Walter Peak. The slow moving gondolas are a leisurely way to take in the magnificent landscape as they climb to Bob’s peak and they run from 9am until late. Once at the top, in true Queenstown style, there is a little bit more excitement to be had.
Even if you are adverse to speed in the same way as a 70 year old on a Sunday drive, a ride on the luge track is still great fun. The track is accessible by chair lift from skyline but you can walk if you are feeling athletic. Just remember that you will be walking straight up hill but there are a number of places to stop and watch people race down the tracks and there are plenty of places for photo taking. There are two tracks to try, one scenic, the other built for speed and both are 800 meters long. A start run on the scenic track is mandatory to allow you to get the hang of steering and breaking but the luge, essentially sleek, 3 wheeled go-carts, are simple to control and most importantly, easy to stop.
By now you will have built up an appetite for an indulgent dinner, particularly if you have walked to the start of the luge track, and nothing says decadence more than a seafood platter. Pier 19 is right in the heart of Queenstown on Steamer Wharf. Their seafood platter is amazing featuring both cooked and fresh seafood (nothing battered and deep fried at this classy establishment!). While the crayfish may take the prize for being the most expensive item on the plate, the New Zealand green lip mussels are spectacular and incredibly fresh. Order duck fat potatoes and some greens to go with it and an amazing meal will be had. Drink a glass of New Zealand wine while watching the sun fall below the snow capped peaks that surround the town. This is the perfect way to end an indulgent day in Queenstown.
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