My New Zealand adventure continued on and there I was, boarding a plane in Auckland and flying over the amazing mountain range of Queenstown, NZ. Landing was instant excitement. I was there to run the Queenstown International Marathon (in the half marathon category!) along with friends new and old and the atmosphere was incredible. There were runners all around us, from all over the world. Such an amazing feeling to be a part of that community!
We did a lot of exploring of this little mountain town over the course of a week and here is my list of the top things to do in Queenstown!
1. Explore the shops, cafes and pubs in the village. We were now down on the south island of the country and the climate was a lot different than we expected. It was spring, but compared to Auckland's warmth, Queenstown brought cool winds off the water. Despite this, we were constantly out and about checking out the village square where we found many cool pubs, shops, a floating boat bar, musicians and coffee spots. And of course, the legendary Ferg Burger! If you haven't heard of it, you must check it out!
2. Eat gelato! A theme this whole trip was tasting all the local gelato in every new location. And Queenstown did NOT disappoint! We're pretty much experts in this area now... haha
3. Check out the trees. One thing I LOVE about NZ is their amazing, massive unique trees. They are so old and gorgeous and really put things into perspective standing right up next to one.
4. Ride the gondola up the mountain. After the race, our group had the honour of riding up in the popular gondola to the top of the mountain to take in the most breathtaking views. We had a delicious meal, overlooking the town below. If you have the opportunity, exploring the view from above is a definite must!
5. Bungee jumping! Though I wasn't brave enough to try it this time, bungee jumping is a popular activity off the mountain. You can ride the gondola up to the top of the mountain and then...you jump. Sounds fun, right?! Lol.
6. Paragliding. If you're adventurous enough for bungee jumping, you can also try tandem paragliding off the mountain or zip-lining. There isn't a better way to take in the incredible scenery.
7. Skiing. If you're staying in the winter season, skiing or snowboarding is a must in this town! Hello mountains! Though we did see a bit of snow on top of the peaks, it was a little too warm for that winter activity! Next time, though!
8. Drinks on the boat bar, of course. The village square, right on the bay is a fun spot for socializing, listening to live music or just relaxing with friends. The floating bar gives a whole new definition to patio drinks!
9. Head to the Milford Sound. This was by far one of my favourite experiences in this area! The Milford Sound, a little ways outside of town, is New Zealand's hidden gem. We traveled to a secluded area tucked right in between the mountain range, boarded a little vintage cruise ship and headed out into the waves. We kayaked in one of the bays, explored the shoreline and caught glimpses of penguins jumping around in the wild. Overall, SUCH a fun experience to see nature in its most pristine form!
10. Run a marathon! And last but not least, run the Queenstown International Marathon! It's a fairly new race and has only been held for a few years so far but I can see it quickly gaining popularity. It's still early in my marathon running career but this is BY FAR the most beautiful course I've seen. It was up through the mountains so very challenging, yes, but the whole time I wanted to stop and take pictures because I was so taken aback by the beauty!! (some people actually did this! lol). It was a great feeling finishing this one and seeing some of my best friends at the finish line.
Make sure to add Queenstown to your next adventure list!