The Rob Roy Glacier Track, located in Mount Aspiring National Park is one of New Zealand’s lesser known attractions. This trail is located a short drive from Wanaka, accessed by gravel road. This trail can be done in one of two ways, one can hike to the glacier in a matter of about two hours and then return, or they can hike the full trail, staying in huts along the way. The hike begins in a valley, crosses a few rivers and ends in the mountains, where the glacier and countless waterfalls are located. You will witness some incredible panoramic views at the glacier site. Being a short beginner hike, I highly recommend at least attempting the glacier segment.
Queenstown is in many ways, New Zealand’s number one tourist destination. The town is located between picturesque mountain ranges and a stunning lakefront with crystal clear water. The town is the capital of everything adventure, from sky-diving to bungy jumping, luging, paragliding, water skiing, BMX racing, you name it, it has it. In addition to outdoor activities, the town has some of the best food in New Zealand, with everything from gourmet burgers to fine dining. If you’re ever in town, make a point of it to visit Fergburger for one of the best burgers you will have in your life, but make sure to beat the lines for dinner and lunch or wait up to an hour to eat. If you want to fully enjoy the scenery, then either hike or take the gondola up to the Skyline building above the city. From this building, you will get an amazing view of the city in almost all directions. Also located in the Skyline are amazing jellybean pictures, including one of Frodo from LOTR. If Lord of the Rings is your thing, then make sure to head to the movie themed jewelry store located in the center of town. At night the city is full of fantastic bars and clubs, packed with people from around the world, if you’re looking to meet people then I recommend doing one of the pub crawls hosted by the numerous backpacking lodges in the city. For accommodation purposes, I would recommend using Nomads as it is an amazing hostel, affordable, friendly, clean and located right in the city center. For other evening activities, remember that drinking in public is legal in New Zealand and join countless others for a drink on the lakefront as the sun goes down, which is around 10pm in summer. If you’re interested in thrill rides or arcades, then make sure to visit the 4D interactive cinema called Dark Ride, it’s a great experience. For breakfast,I highly, HIGHLY recommend visiting Bob’s Weigh, for a meal that you will struggle to finish, but force yourself to, because it’s so damn good. Also when out at night, keep an eye out for the famous balloon man, who is always out at local pubs in the town making balloon animals until all hours of the night while intoxicated.
Not far from Queenstown are numerous river filled gorges and valleys. Many of these rivers have begun to be used by tourism companies to run speed/jet boating tours. If you are able to, make sure to give this a try, it is absolutely awesome. Even if you aren’t the biggest thrill seeker, at least try this. I recommend using Skippers Canyon Jet Boating if you are on a budget, but if you have more to spend, then use Shotover Jet. The scenery in the surrounding areas is worth seeing, even if just driving through the area on the way to another destination. If you have a few free hours, make your way to Arrowtown, this small historic town is absolutely stunning. Once an old mining town, it houses an historic Chinese mountain village and is home to a ridiculous number of beautiful trees.