8 things to do in and around Queenstown New Zealand

8 things to do in and around Queenstown New Zealand

Queenstown is a must-do on anyone’s South Island itinerary, after all its not the adventure capital of New Zealand for nothing! Of course, there are TONS of things to do there, but here are 8 of my recommendations…

 1. Ride the gondola

Although Queenstown is famed for its fun and adventure, lets not forget that this is New Zealand, meaning that it is also quite pretty. The best way to take advantage of all that scenic beauty is to ride the gondola, which is STEEP (it’s actually the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere!) but so worth it when you reach the top and take in those gorgeous views.

Skyline gondola Queenstown

2. Have fun on the luge

Once you’ve ridden the gondola up to Bob’s Peak, you may as well enjoy some of the activities on offer up there. My recommendation is the luge – so much fun! You take a chair lift up even higher and then pick one of the two luge tracks to travel back down. There’s a more gentle, scenic track which everyone must do on their first ride and then there’s also a faster paced, steeper track. We ended up riding the luge 5 times!

Luge track in Queenstown New Zealand

3. Try a famous Fergburger

If you read my post about 3 fast food burgers you must try in New Zealand then you will already know about Fergburger. Although to be fair, you probably already know about Fergburger because literally anyone who has been to Queenstown has raved about this place. It’s not really “fast food” as you’ll probably be queuing about 45 minutes for it but it’s still worth trying at least once. Or twice in my case.

Burger and fries at the legendary Fergburger

4. Go horseriding

45 minutes drive from Queenstown is the town of Glenorchy, home to Dart Stables where we admired yet more of New Zealand’s beauty but on horse back. We did the beginners trek named Hobbit’s Hack and saw where some of Lord of the Rings was filmed. I can’t claim to be a LOTR fan but I did enjoy the scenery.

Horse riding in Glenorchy New Zealand

5. Spin and splash on the Shotover Jet

The Shotover Jet is quite simply, a jet boat ride on the Shotover River. Running since 1965, they are the only company permitted to operate within the Shotover River’s canyons. High speeds and 360 spins are guaranteed – you might even see rainbows in the mist!

Shotover jet boat ride in Queenstown, New Zealand

6. Bungy jump

So I have a small confession to make… I didn’t actually do a bungy jump because I don’t have that part of my brain that makes me want to pay $195 to tie a rubber band to my legs and throw myself off a bridge. However, my husband is a bit of a secret adrenalin junkie and did the AJ Hackett Kawarau Bridge jump in Queenstown – the world’s first commercial bungy jump.

He loved it and wouldn’t let me write this list without including it!

Bungy jumping on the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand

7. Visit wonderful Wanaka

We only spent one day in Wanaka which really wasn’t enough. It was pretty and peaceful and we enjoyed a lovely lunch by the lake. It’s also home to two fabulously quirky attractions – Puzzling World and Cinema Paradiso. If you want to know a bit more about Wanaka then take a look at my post Quirky things to do in wonderful Wanaka.

Quirky Wanaka New Zealand - Puzzling World!

8. Take a day trip to Milford Sound

I admit this might be an odd choice given that my trip to Milford Sound was my worst day travelling but I know other people who have been there and had a great time. I can’t say more than that. Go read my post Milford Sound – is it worth it? and decide for yourself on this one.

Milford Sound - is it worth it?
Milford Sound – image not my own unfortunately. Image via Unsplash.

Have you been to Queenstown? What was your favourite thing to do? Comment below. And for more inspiration, follow my New Zealand Pinterest Board.

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8 things to do in and around Queenstown New Zealand

Milford Sound – is it worth it?

aka My Worst Day at New Zealand’s Number 1 Attraction

Milford Sound - is it worth it?
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Milford Sound – is it worth it? It’s often touted as New Zealand’s number 1 must visit attraction, but is it worth the hype?

That greatly depends. Many people come back from there with wonderful experiences having spotted seals, dolphins and penguins as they’ve glided their way on a beautiful boat through the majestic waters. I, however, want to tell you about my visit to Milford Sound, because well, I’m all about keeping it real and sharing what the likes of Lonely Planet probably won’t tell you…

Milford Sound - is it worth it?
Milford Sound – image not my own unfortunately. Image via Unsplash.

Although we had hired a car in New Zealand, neither of us really fancied driving the lengthy journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound, so we booked an organised coach tour. There are plenty of operators based in Queenstown but we chose to go with Jucy.

Our driver Lucy (you can’t make this up!) picked us up in the morning and remained bright and friendly throughout our trip. She told us all stories of her childhood on a farm and made several rest stops on route. Sadly for us, the weather was not being kind and even though we’re British and quite used to the rain, the more than damp weather was dampening our spirits the closer we got to Milford Sound.

After a long journey, we made it to the boat where the rain was still pouring and the wind was blowing a gale. The crew on board could obviously sense our coach load of disappointment as they tried to remain enthusiastic and marvelled at the many waterfalls spilling down the rocks because of the torrential downpour. I don’t know if they were genuinely that excited about the waterfalls or if they were just putting a positive spin on things in order to lift our spirits.

Many waterfalls can be seen at Milford Sound when it rains
Expect to see all the waterfalls when it rains

We received lunch on board the boat – wraps, cookies and drinks. I chose a falafel wrap and shortly afterwards found myself in the toilets with an upset stomach.

Needless to say, the rest of my Milford Sound experience was spent locked in a cubicle. But I didn’t miss much as hubby didn’t see any wildlife or rainbows beyond the drizzle and clouds, but he did venture out on deck to battle the elements. Sure, you could say it’s dramatic and atmospheric but when you’ve got food poisoning and you’re having panic attacks about spending another 5 hours stuck on a coach, who really cares?

What the travel guides DON'T show you about Milford Sound
* sigh *

The 90 minute boat ride was soon over and everyone was pretty keen to just get back to Queenstown. Lucy from Jucy had to ask another couple (who had prime location seats at the front of the coach) to switch with us so I could be at the front of the coach incase I needed to ‘go’ again. I would have felt guilty and mortified had all my energy not been focussed on making it through the next 5 or so hours. The trouble with New Zealand is that rest stops are few and far between but fortunately having dosed myself up with the necessary medication, I made it back to Queenstown just fine.

And thus concludes the worst day I had in my whole backpacking trip down under.

Milford Sound in bad weather
Image taken by my hubby 🙂

So, is it worth it?

In my opinion, no. Perhaps if we’d driven ourselves and stopped in Te Anau for a night maybe? But I feel it is my duty to present the less glossy, sunny and perfect side to travel.

There are two sides to every story of course, so if you want to read a good experience of Milford Sound then I’m sure there are a bazillion other travel bloggers out there who will gladly share that.

Milford Sound in New Zealand
Here’s what we *could* have seen. Image via Pixabay

Have you been to Milford Sound? What did you think? Or have you had Travellers Tummy at the worst moment? Share, we’re all friends here!


You can find some of my more pleasant New Zealand adventures right here.

Things to remember when travelling abroad

Things to remember when travelling abroad

We Brits love to travel abroad. The Telegraph states on its travel section that the “British passion for travel is the biggest in twenty years.” But lets face it, while travelling is fun and exciting, it is also stressful. So to help you fellow travellers along the way, we have compiled some top tips for going abroad.

Waiting at the airport

The first hurdle of going on holiday is packing. It sounds simple you just put what you need for the duration of your trip in your suitcase or rucksack and off you go. Yet most people end up either not packing the right things or over packing and lugging extra weight around. Skyscanner came up with a top ten list of what not to pack on one of its travel posts. The article covered things such as packing clothes that aren’t appropriate for the country’s climate you’re travelling to and taking with you tech gadgets you don’t need.

Girl holding camera

The next step is to plan your journey. Spontaneity is great and leads to exciting new adventures but it is always best to have an idea of what you are going to do in the upcoming days otherwise the holiday can become expensive. Reader’s Digest detail some of the most common mistakes such as losing passports, not buying a service plan for mobile phones, forgetting to call your credit card company and failing to get medical insurance.

Girl sitting on suitcase

Many hours and opportunities can be wasted while you decide with your friends or family what you are going to do. Planning can also make sure that everybody gets to do something they want. Remember everybody has a different idea of what they would like to do on holiday, so be sure to consult your travel partners so that everyone feels involved.

One part of the journey travellers don’t think about but can end up being the most stressful is getting to the airport. There are many tips for making the process of getting onto your plane easier and stress free. Airport parking is often one of those services that can be forgotten, which can cost people more money than it should. Nowadays, all leading airports across the world have a variety of parking options available. For instance, at London’s famous Gatwick Airport, Parking4Less states that there are four options available to people, which are categorised as long and short stay, on-airport hotel and summer special car parking. Options like short stay give people a cheaper form of parking if they are only leaving their vehicle for a couple of days. Such provisions, if booked in advance, can save people a significant amount of money in the long run.

However, if you do leave your car at the airport or at a hotel, it’s also important you’re careful what you leave in it, and if it is visible to others. The worst thing you can do is to leave things so that passers by can see them – try to leave all your belongings out of sight or in the hotel.

While travelling USA Today recommends putting your money in different places so that you minimise the risk of losing it all.

Travelling abroad is one of the best ways to spend your time. With a little bit of planning and preparation your trip can be trouble and stress free.

Written by Amber Walsh. Images via Pixabay.

7 super tips for saving money for travel

How do I do it? Well here are my top tips for saving money for travel

We’re only just over 2 months in to 2015 and I’m already planning and saving for my next big adventure. So while tightening the purse strings is on my mind at the moment, I thought I would share my top tips for saving money to fund your travels.

1. Set up a separate bank account

Once I have been paid and have allocated my set amount of money for mortgage, bills and such like, I move a portion of my wage to a bank account I can’t access by debit card then just try to forget it’s there. I’m rubbish at remembering numbers anyway, so this usually works for me. Do this each month and it soon adds up!

2. Avoid temptation

I used to be subscribed to all sorts of shopping emails, mainly clothing, and I would find that they would draw me in with something stunning in their email and then once I had decided to purchase said top/skirt/pair of shoes, I would inevitably end up browsing the rest of the site and then buying more than I intended! I have now unsubscribed from all of these emails and have removed that temptation.

3. Saying “no” sometimes is ok

I don’t go out every weekend, infact my clubbing days are well and truly behind me – been there, done that. I know some people like to drink their wages away at the pub, which is all well and good if that’s what you want to do. But if your friends are out partying every Friday and Saturday night, it is ok to sometimes say “not this time, I’m trying to save money”. There will always be another occasion. And if they call you boring, then just think of them while they’re spending yet another Saturday night in the same old pub while you’re off having an adventure of a lifetime.

4. Look at cheaper alternatives

I’m not just talking about boring important stuff like car insurance and gas prices, I mean situations like the other day when a friend of mine happened to drop into conversation how much the shoes she was wearing cost. I realised that for what she paid for her shoes, I could have bought 20 pairs of mine! Sure, hers are bound to be better quality than mine but is it worth it at that price?

5. Cut down on luxuries

I’m not talking about the odd splurge but do you really need a monthly manicure or that £50+ a month Sky package? You’re not going to care about having the perfect nails or what’s on the tv when you’re snorkelling in the Indian Ocean or watching the sun set over Uluru.

6. Brains before belly

Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach – you’ll buy more than intended. Take a packed lunch to work – a much cheaper alternative to buying lunch out every day. Eat fewer takeaways – this may sound obvious but homecooked versions of your favourite pizzas and curries can be much cheaper and healthier alternatives.

7. Have a movie night

If you think about it, trips to the cinema are expensive, especially if you buy all the overpriced snacks the cinemas sell too. As a frequent cinema-goer I know this all too well. So, why not buy your popcorn from the supermarket (at a fraction of the cinema price) and have a dvd night? Dvds are cheaper than a cinema ticket these days anyway and you can always swap and share movies with friends. Perhaps you can keep yourself inspired and motivated by watching movies to ignite your wanderlust!

If all else fails – look at the bigger picture. Forgoing that weekly Costa Coffee for a holiday of a lifetime in Costa Rica will be totally worth it when you get there!