Drama is a byword for Queenstown, a lakeside resort town surrounded by the Southern Alps on New Zealand's South Island. Whether you're here to hike, ski, bungee jump – this is the birthplace of the sport – or go white-water rafting down Shotover River, this is a destination of big thrills and bigger landscapes.
Queenstown lives up to its reputation as the 'Adventure Capital of the World'. You can try bungee jumping off the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge – the world's first commercial bungee site – or ride a jet boat on Lake Wakatipu at speeds of up to 95 kph. Heli-skiing in the Remarkables mountains is popular during winter months, while skydiving over the Wakatipu Basin is offered year-round. Alternatively, take the Skyline Gondola up Bob's Peak for equally spectacular views of town.
Outside Queenstown, there's much to see. Lord of the Rings fans flock to nearby Glenorchy and Lake Wanaka to see locations featured in the films. A 15-minute drive away, Arrowtown offers a glimpse of history with its 19th-century buildings and gold mining roots. Despite its greater distance from Queenstown, Milford Sound is a worthy journey for its glittering fjord, waterfalls and marine life.
Adventure can be found throughout Queenstown, but this mountain escape offers something for laid-back travellers, too. Numerous upscale spa resorts make good use of Lake Wakatipu's shoreline, while Queenstown Gardens offer a tranquil respite in the centre of town. At the end of the day, grab a bite to eat from local favourite Fergburger and watch the sunset on Queenstown Bay beach.