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CITY | QUEENSTOWN

High Country Farm, for an excellent Kiwi meal of roast beef, lamb, and pork in the gorgeous farm mansion there. The pianist, who has been pounding the keys on the Earnslaw, continues his repertoire at the buffet. Afterwards, the station owner gives an entertaining demonstration of sheep shearing, and has his trusty sheepdog work the sheep for a while.

On the sunset return across the lake we sang along to honky-tonk songs like It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Roll Out The Barrel, and Waltzing Matilda, taking us back to 1912 when the ship first set sail across the lake.

To describe all of Queenstown’s activities simply can’t be done in anything short of a guidebook. I counted a staggering total of 150 activities and tours, from skydiving to canyoning, and eco-touring to glacier walking, plus all winter sports, so it would be difficult to get bored here unless you so choose. As you might expect for a world-class resort destination such as this, the nightlife in Queenstown is formidable; with restaurants, cafés and coffee shops, wine bars, pubs, and nightclubs providing suitable entertainment for the young and the young at heart.

Flying out of the airport, looking out over Queenstown’s backdrop of towering, rocky mountains, I see the desolate mountain ridges give way to a long azure ribbon of glittering water that is Lake Wakatipu.

I shouldn’t have been so surprised at Queenstown’s conversion into a global destination hotspot. It’s always had the scenic currency for this transformation, and it was just a matter of time for the town to fully realize its own world-class destination status. And that time has arrived-in spades.

Top left Neat suburbs radiate out around blue coves and finger-like peninsulas

Bottom left A picture perfect mountain and lake setting atop the Skyline Gondola Hill

Top right The TSS Earnslaw takes passengers on a cruise across Lake Wakatipu

Above The steamship drops diners off at the Walter Peak High Country Farm www.getmedownunder.com

A u s t r a l i a & N Z | M a y 2 0 12

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