New Zealand is a place known for its breathtaking scenery: islands, mountains, lakes, and glaciers impress and attract visitors from all over the world. As one of the postcards of the South Island region of Otago is Lake Wakatipu. What makes the Wakatipu unique is its shape – which resembles that of a seated person –, the translucence of the waters, and the interesting tidal patterns that make the lake look like it is in constant movement.
There are various legends about the lake, told by the local Maori, which together with its unique aura afford the place a certain mysticism. In 2014, Lake Wakatipu surprised the residents and scientists when its waters changed color. After analysis, it was concluded that the phenomenon occurred possibly due to landslide into the lake. The Wakatipu has an area of about 291 km², an average depth of 230 m, and the waters are so clean that they have afforded the lake place among the most crystalline lakes on the planet. As with many places in New Zealand, scenes of The Lord of the Rings were also shot on the Wakatipu.
Around the lake, picturesque Queenstown stands as one of the most popular destinations in New Zealand. This city is considered by many as the “capital of extreme sports” and has, in addition to several tourist attractions, many natural beauties. There is literally no shortage of things to do in the city: skydiving at 15,000 feet altitude; jet boating through narrow canyons at speeds up to 120km/h; rafting; paragliding; 4×4 trail with Land Rover – the list goes on. If you really are an “adrenaline junkie”, it is possible to jump off a platform in the first commercial Bungee Jump in the world.
Queenstown is also surrounded by majestic mountains that are part of the Southern Alps, which means that the city is close to various ski resorts. They are at least 5 in a radius of 1 ½ hours by car, all of them offering perfect terrain, snow conditions, and completely different points of view that make the joy not only of beginners but all levels of skills to the experts. Although relatively small, Queenstown has a vibrant and quite diverse gastronomic scene. Set in the prestigious Central Otago region – famous for producing excellent Pinot Noir wines and having a variety of world-class wineries – the city is also a hub for wine tours. Last but not least, Queenstown is also the gateway to Aoraki/Mt. Cook – a national park full of hiking trails, home to New Zealand’s highest mountain: the Mt. Cook, at 3,754 meters.