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Our English New Zealand students in Queenstown tell us how much they love studying and living in such a fun and exciting place. Even with so many activities available to them and the natural splendour that surrounds the area, our students are usually keen to take an occasional weekend getaway to experience more of New Zealand. There are some amazing places nearby that make the perfect setting for a weekend getaway. Today we’re going to discuss four of our favourites!
Distance from Queenstown: About 2.5 hours by bus
When to go: Late spring to early fall
Highlights: Te Anau is a very popular destination thanks to its location at the start of the Milford Sound. If you want to explore the ‘eighth wonder of the natural world,’ Te Anau is the perfect place to start from. Hop on a day tour and experience an incredible journey across the water as you move through the fiord’s impressive cliffs. Lake Te Anau, the largest lake on the South Island, also has plenty to offer visitors. There are water sports galore, including swimming, fishing, kayaking and water skiing. If you’re looking for a getaway that combines water adventures with breath-taking scenery, Te Anau is the perfect place for you.
Distance from Queenstown: Get there by bus in less than 2 hours
When to go: Go in the winter for skiing and snowboarding or summer for hiking, swimming and camping
Highlights: Wanaka is a small township located on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka. Framed by the mountains in the background, the downtown area boasts an eclectic mix of restaurants, cafes, galleries and shops. If you want to experience snow, you shouldn’t miss a visit to Wanaka in the winter. This area is home to three ski fields which are said to be among the best in New Zealand and represent the largest skiable area in Australasia! Summer is the ideal time to visit if you’re keen to do some hiking or tramping. Wanaka is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore the spectacular Mount Aspiring National Park.
Distance from Queenstown: Just over an hour by bus
When to go: Any time of year
Highlights: Cromwell is a small, laid-back town located on the shore of Lake Dunstan, a man-made lake that was formed when the Clyde Dam Power Station was created. Interestingly, the original CBD is now located at the bottom of the lake, erased from sight when the valley was flooded to create Lake Dunstan in 1992. Cromwell is a modern town with an interesting history. It sprang into life when gold was discovered in the 1800s. A visit to the ‘Old Cromwell Town’ exhibit provides a fascinating history of the area. Today visitors can enjoy the modern amenities of Cromwell and its beautiful lakefront location. It’s the perfect spot for a change of scenery and a relaxed weekend.
Distance from Queenstown: 30 minutes by bus
When to go: Any time of the year
Highlights: With a bus journey under 30 minutes, Arrowtown is a favourite daytrip from Queenstown. The town, which developed rapidly in the 1860s after gold was discovered in the Arrow River, has managed to retain more than 60 of its original gold-rush buildings, providing the town with tangible historical charm. Arrowtown is surrounded by natural beauty, so you may want to stay for longer than a day to take advantage of the excellent walking trails and cycling trails nearby. There are several excellent ski fields located nearby, so plan a winter getaway if you’re a skiing or snowboarding enthusiast.
We hope you’ll plan a weekend getaway to one of these four exciting locations while studying in Queenstown. If you do, we’d love to hear all about it. Please share your trip highlights in the comments area below.