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For Bryce Dallas Howard, returning to New Zealand, which she first visited as a five-year-old, there was an instant connection that she describes as “an almost spiritual experience”.
“From my childhood, I remember this moment of being in total awe of your surroundings and waking up to something much, much bigger than you ever thought possible. I have been chasing that feeling ever since.”
“What’s so great is that every time I come back, there is more to explore. Even in a place like Queenstown where I’ve been several times, you can always discover new places close by that take your breath away.”
With its stunning alpine beauty and ever-growing list of activities, Queenstown is one of the southern hemisphere’s most popular tourist resorts. It’s also the stepping off spot to some lesser known adventures in the Otago and Fiordland regions.
“The Funyak on the Dart River is amazing. The surrounding mountains, the silence, and the water - everything is just so pure, raw and untouched. It’s fitting that there’s actually a place here named Paradise.”
A scenic 50-minute drive from Queenstown to the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu brings you to the little village of Glenorchy, the gateway to adventures on the Dart River. Jump aboard the Dart River Jet and make your way to Paradise, then cruise down river in a Funyak inflatable canoe to experience New Zealand’s quiet beauty.
Mt Aspiring National Park
“When I came to New Zealand, not only the first time or the second time or the third time, but every time I come to New Zealand there’s this feeling of transcendence. And I think what it is, is that there’s a respect for the planet here and Mt Aspiring National Park is a perfect example of that.”
Follow the spectacular alpine road over the Crown Range towards Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park. This remote wilderness of jagged mountains, broad river valleys and ancient forests form part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. Tackle the heights on a via ferrata experience with WildWire Wanaka.
“Doubtful Sound is like a place that only exists in movies, but it’s real. Fiordland National Park is definitely one of the most incredible places on this planet.”
Doubtful Sound’s Māori name is Patea meaning ‘place of silence’. To experience this deep silence, ferry across Lake Manapouri, ride over an alpine pass, then cruise the fjord. Doubtful Sound is more off the beaten track than the famous Milford Sound but both are found in the breath-taking, pristine wilderness of Fiordland National Park.
“Autumn is a great time to visit New Zealand. In the fall, the leaves are such an incredible colour and the small towns are even more charming.”
A short drive from Queenstown, the tiny historic gold mining village of Arrowtown sits on the banks of the Arrow River. Cycle in on the Queenstown Trail and stop off at a café for coffee and a bite to eat. Shop the cute little boutiques before following the trail home to Queenstown alongside Lake Hayes.