If there were an adventure capital of the world, Queenstown could be it. Home to breathtaking mountains and a stunning lake, the region is a must for visitors to New Zealand's South Island. Winter activities include skiing and snowboarding, while in summer you can go whitewater rafting on the Shotover River, tramping at nearby Milford Tracks or sea kayaking. If those activities are too tame, there also is skydiving and bungee jumping.
Brown's Boutique Hotel
As its name suggests, Brown's is a quaint boutique hotel in the heart of bustling Queenstown. The hotel features just 10 guest rooms, so be sure to book well in advance. All of the rooms are “deluxe,” with en suite bathrooms and amenities such as bathrobes and home-baked cookies. Rooms feature Juliet balconies that offer expansive views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. The hotel also has ski and luggage storage, perfect for those planning to spend a few days walking Milford Tracks.
Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa
A short walk from Lake Wakatipu and the Queenstown Botanical Gardens is the Sofitel Hotel and Spa, with 82 rooms and suites offering either lake or mountain views. The Sofitel provides a number of luxury amenities, including en suite bathrooms that feature a double-spa tub and a rainfall shower, which are perfect for melting the aches and pains away after a day on the slopes. Rooms also feature an espresso machine and heated flooring. If you just can't bear to go out into chilly Queenstown to look for a restaurant, the Sofitel has an on-site restaurant offering regional cuisine.
Rydges Lakeland Resort
The Rydges Lakeland Resort is the largest hotel in Queenstown, featuring 255 rooms, but despite its size the hotel is environmentally friendly. In 2008, the Rydges Lakeland Resort became a Green Globe Bronze Benchmark hotel. The hotel caters to a variety of guests, from budget “backpacker-style” accommodations with en suite bathrooms to luxurious one-bedroom suites. All rooms have refrigerators and Sky TV and most rooms offer views of the lake and mountains. The resort offers a number of recreational facilities, including a heated outdoor pool, a sauna and massage treatments. If you are in New Zealand with children, be sure to take advantage of the hotel's babysitting services so that you can enjoy a night on the town.
Thomas's Hotel is an ideal choice for someone traveling on a budget. Accommodations range from backpacker dorm-style rooms to hotel rooms, all featuring en suite bathrooms and lake views. The hotel also offers a two-bedroom flat, perfect if you're traveling with friends but want to have the privacy of separate rooms. The most notable facility at Thomas's is the guest kitchen, which is ideal for those on a tight budget who can't eat out every night. There also is ski gear storage and on-site laundry facilities. Be sure to stop by reception and warm up with some hot chocolate, say hello to the hotel's resident cat (also featured on Thomas's logo) and perhaps rent a sea kayak.
- Milford Sound image by Caprichoso from Fotolia.com