Known as the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown offers every activity you can dream of. From jet boating down the river to bungy jumping, an adrenaline rush is waiting around every corner. If you’re not looking for an extreme activity, there are also plenty of options for leisurely hikes around the lake or into the surrounding mountains, and the Skyline gondola offers panoramic views of the whole area. Queenstown was also a regular filming location for Peter Jackson, so if you didn’t get your Lord of the Rings fill at Hobbiton, you can take in his majestic landscapes here.
My love of travel was sparked during a trip to Europe in high school. When the time came to study abroad, I chose to go to Dunedin, where I fell in love with New Zealand. Learning Maori history on weekdays and venturing out to explore the dramatic and vastly different landscapes around the country on weekends, I found that everything I could possibly want was all within reach of my home on the South Island.
Since graduation, I have spent time exploring throughout Europe, Central America and my home here in the USA. I will always have a passion for New Zealand, but I am grateful to have had the opportunities to venture out from my home in Jersey, all the way across the country to Hawaii. In both New Zealand and the US, I have enjoyed visiting national parks, beaches and just soaking in the natural beauty of two incredible countries.
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Every villa at Azur Lodge just outside Queenstown offers uninterrupted views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains. Constructed from silver birch and local stone, the hillside villas have floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious deck areas and baths with sweeping views. If you can tear yourself away, there’s a shuttle into town, but with faultless service and such a scenic location, you might just want to stay put. Canapés and pre-dinner drinks are served in the lounge or in your villa, where you can relax on your deck with a glass of wine while soaking up the views.
I'll never forget when…
I celebrated my 25th birthday on an overnight kayak and hiking tour in Abel Tasman National Park. We walked through lush forests, learning about the vegetation and native animals as we went, before stopping on a deserted beach for lunch. From there, we took to the water, setting off in kayaks to paddle our way through small islands, passing seals bathing in the sun along the way. At the start of the trip, I didn’t know anyone, but by day two I was celebrating with new friends among some of the most striking scenery New Zealand has to offer.