Have you got a long weekend coming up?
Do we need to remind you that New Zealand is just three hours away from Brisbane?
From diving head-first into the wilderness, indulging in burgers named the best in the world, feeling the gold rush at historic mining towns, to sipping some of the southern hemisphere’s most sought-after wines – this jam-packed 72 hours in the South Island itinerary will leave your heart racing and your mouth watering.
It’s time to switch off work mode, switch on holiday mode and discover the South Island with this guide.
9AM: Grab an early breakfast … or burger (we don’t judge)
Before you start exploring the world’s adventure capital, Queenstown, you’ll need to fuel up.
If it’s too early for 340g of prime New Zealand beef wedged between two fluffy burger buns, you might like to choose a pastry from sister establishment, Fergbaker, next door.
11AM: Scale the summit of Bob’s Peak
All aboard the Skyline Gondola to the summit of Bob’s Peak, riding the steepest cable car in the southern hemisphere.
There’s plenty to do once you get to the top; take a hike, go mountain biking, ride the luge or chew with a panoramic view of Lake Wakatipu, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
4PM: Feel the thrill of diving head first from the AJ Hackett Bungy
Queenstown is the birthplace of bungy jumping – and you can jump from the same bungy that started it all, AJ Hackett Bungy.
Back in the 1980s, AJ Hackett, an Auckland builder, discovered an ancient ritual practiced in Vanuatu and brought the concept back to New Zealand, opening the world’s first commercial bungy operation at the Kawarau Bridge.
Since then, the swing, catapult and zip ride have been added to the list of hair-raising experiences on offer here.
If you’re not feeling adventurous enough to want to throw yourself off a bridge from a heart pumping 134m to a river below, you’ll be happy to know Queenstown is also known for relaxation and tranquillity.
Hit pause on Queenstown’s fast pace and take in the natural beauty of the surroundings at Onsen Hot Pools.
Just a 10-minute drive out of the city centre in a hire car, or complimentary shuttle bus, this boutique retreat and day spa is located amongst towering mountains, overlooking the Shotover River.
Have more than a weekend and want to relax even more? Check out 10 Ways to Recharge in Queenstown.
9AM: Time travel in Arrowtown
Kick off day two by stepping back in time visiting the historic old gold mining town - Arrowtown.
Take a morning stroll down the main heritage area of the village and discover boutiques and cafes dotted along the charming Buckingham Street, where every business is independent or locally owned.
12PM: Learn the town’s rich history
Stop off for a bite to eat at the Arrowtown Bakery & Café or treat yourself at Postmasters café before delving further into the small town’s glittery past.
Learn about the area’s history at its museum, covering everything from early Maori life to the first settlers, and of course, gold miners.
3PM: Wine and dine
Wine down this afternoon as you scoff, swirl and swill some of the South Island’s finest vineyards.
There are over 200 different vineyards within an hour’s drive from Queenstown, but just a seven-minute drive from Arrowtown, you’ll find the extraordinary Amisfield Winery.
This winery is a Central Otago-based specialist producer of pinot noir and aromatic white wines, with a degustation style menu of the season's best local produce.
Sip back, and relax, before another adventure-filled day.
6AM: Hit the road early to experience Roy’s Peak
Finish your long weekend on a high note at the summit of Roy's Peak, overlooking the natural beauty of the Wanaka Region.
You’ll want to leave yourself plenty of time, especially if you have an evening flight back to the mainland today, as the climb can take anywhere from five to seven hours.
That said, it will only take minutes into the walk to realise why Roy’s Peak has been named one of the best day hikes in the country.
When you get close to the summit, you’ll reach the ‘viewpoint’ where you can snap the famous Roy’s Peak Instagram photo.
PM: Time to head home
Wanaka is only an hour-long drive back to Queenstown’s centre – enough time to soak up the iconic towering mountains and scenic views one last time, before you say Kia ora and hop back across the Tasman to Brisbane Airport.
PLAN YOUR TRAVEL
BEFORE YOUR FLIGHT
It may have been a while since you last flew overseas. It's a fantastic time to remember the basics of international travel as well as learn about what's changed.
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal, see you soon!