Queenstown, New Zealand accommodation, travel tips and restaurants
WHAT looks like Norway, is one of the world's greatest wine producing regions, is only a three hour flight away, and the locals speak English, sort of?
It's Queenstown, New Zealand, known as an adventure sport capital, but increasingly garnering a reputation as a food and wine travel destination.
World famous: the burgers at Fergburger attract customers well into the early hours. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied
Now that Air New Zealand has introduced direct flights, it is three hours from Sydney, two-and-a-half from Melbourne and a hassle-free arrival into a tiny airport.
Once in the town, it is part ski resort, part fjord-like scenery with a set of mountains called the Remarkables and the rest is a party town, with restaurants bars, and even a strip club.
And if you try very hard, some travel tips and restaurants are needed for you to able to understand what the locals are saying.
Vineyards like Peregrine (above) around Queenstown produce some of the best pinot noir in the world. Picture: news.com.au Source: NewsComAu
Located in New Zealand's Southern Alps on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown claims to be "the premier four season lake and alpine resort in the Southern Hemisphere".
Queenstown's origins are as a source for greenstone, or nephrite jade, of cultural and artistic significance to the Maori population.
Maoris continued expeditions to the area well into the 19th century.
Queenstown is the home of bungee jumping, adventure travel and eco tourism. Picture: Zip Trek Eco Tours. Source:News Limited
Then, around the same time as the gold rush in Australia at Ballarat and Bendigo, gold was discovered in the Arrow and Shotover rivers and the area boomed.
Today, Queenstown's action and adventure options include bushwalking, gondola rides, lake cruises, kayaking, scenic flights, hot air ballooning, parasailing and bungee jumping.
But there are also wine tours, to taste the world famous Central Otago pinot noir and, increasingly, white and sparkling wines from nearby Cromwell, Bannockburn and Alexandra.
The vineyard at Amisfield, which produces pinot noir and aromatic whites. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied
Notable vineyards include Amisfield, where you can lunch practically amid the grapes, Akarua and Peregrine and Carrick wineries whose picturesque settings are reminiscent of Italy's Tuscany region.
For high end dining try Rata, which has a Michelin star chef, but if you've been out on the town and fancy a late night feed, you can't go past a famous Fergburger, which is open until the early hours of the morning.
Room with a view: The Spire boutique hotel, Queenstown. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied
Queenstown is famous for its boutique hotels, such as The Spire, which has large, beautiful rooms and Eichardts, a five-star hotel with a great bar for meeting up with friends.
News.com.au travelled to Queenstown as a guest of Air New Zealand and Destination Queenstown.