|Queenstown, New Zealand|
Queenstown is New Zealand's main center for adventure sports, offering such activities as hiking, skydiving, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and boating. It's also a great place to keep young kids entertained for a few days.
Many New Zealanders complain its become overrun by tourists, so don't wait until the last minute to secure accommodations. I paid a lot more than I wanted because I thought I could just show up and find something.
Queenstown, itself, wasn't my favorite place because of the throng of visitors, but as with every other stop in New Zealand,
a scenic hike lay nearby.
just minutes outside the city.
I checked out the Ben Lomond Summit Track – a six-to-eight hour, seven-mile round trip. I discovered firsthand how quickly the weather can change in New Zealand.
I left in sunshine but a couple of hours later found myself in heavy fog,
followed by rain and snow.
Make sure you bring gear for all possibilities before venturing into the mountains.
I can't say enough about the friendliness of New Zealanders.
I found these at the beginning of my hike – a walking stick, as well as sunglasses and a hat,
seemingly for anyone to use.
In America, it's called "trail magic." Along the Appalachian Trail, well wishers sometimes perform random acts of kindness for the hikers, such as leaving fruit behind.
Since Queenstown is so popular, expect prices here to be a bit higher than elsewhere in New Zealand.
One of the hardest parts about visiting New Zealand is deciding what to see because there are so many beautiful spots.
Wherever you end up, expect to find some great, outdoor adventures and some of the nicest, most helpful people on Earth.