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Central Otago

South Island

A must-see among the must-sees, the Central Otago region is home to two of New Zealand's most popular spots. Although Wanaka and Queenstown are very attractive tourist locations, this popularity will certainly not make these places less enjoyable. Both of these cities offer a breath-taking wild scenery, with the surrounding lakes and mountains, colourful valleys and renowned vineyards... A picturesque landscape which would be a shame to miss out on.

If you really are after some calm and serenity, away from the crowds, rest assured that we always have a few secrets to share with you to enjoy the place differently, in a more intimate way. As an example, Cromwell is a great hub, where you can easily spend 3 nights, to take the time and discover the region. It is worth mentioning that prices are also more affordable in Cromwell.

Wanaka is a lovely small town, located in front of the Lake Wanaka. The town is surrounded by several vineyards, including one of the region’s oldest: Rippon Valley. This vineyard offers a fantastic view over the lake, with the surrounding mountain range.

Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted in Wanaka. The city is located very close to the Mt Aspiring National Park, the perfect playground for those of you who are willing to see their efforts rewarded with magnificent panoramas. Some of these hikes will even take you to glaciers, an unforgettable experience! Nature and walking lovers will certainly enjoy spending several days in Wanaka to fully explore its beauty.

If you aren’t so much into walking, but are interested in nature discovery, you can always jump on a helicopter flight to discover the Mt Aspiring or the glaciers. Another idea is to go for a cruise on the Lake Wanaka which will take you to an island with unique remains from the last ice age.

Larger and more populated, Queenstown is the self-proclaimed world outdoor activity capital. From bungee jumping, to parachuting, paragliding, hot air ballooning, jet boat, bicycle, cruises... It can be difficult to sit down and quietly admire the landscape in such an active place!

Its cobbled streets are lovely and full of life. Lake Wakatipu, surrounded by mountains, is sublime and so are the botanical gardens along the lake. Queenstown is a little gem that is no longer a secret to anyone. It therefore logically attracts those who want, for a year, to change their environment and want to grow in gorgeous surroundings abroad.

Staying in Queenstown does not mean focusing only on the city and its thrilling activities. It’s also a great place for horse riding in Glenorchy, flying to the fjords (and avoid quite a few hours’ drive), or tasting good wine in the world’s most southern wine region. The range of activities around this city is wide and varied.

As you can see, the Central Otago region is mainly known for these two cities, and their surroundings are full of all kinds of experiences.

With Once Upon a Trip, go and experience this region, but not like everyone else!

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